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Volvo: Cars to match the zeitgeist

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Safety, quality, reliability. Whereas these words are first coming into mind while thinking about Volvo, the company’s endeavor for sustainability is comparatively less present. Dealing with the car manufacturer’s climate plans will be enlightening.

Some people are joking that sitting in a Volvo is like sitting in a tank. The heaviness as well as the feeling of safety within this car are second to none. Nevertheless, the comparison with a tank does not meet the values Volvo is standing for at all. The automobile manufacturer from Gothenburg, Sweden sees itself rooted in Scandinavia, but at home all over the world while following its claim that success and sustainability belong together.

Safety over all

From the very beginning in 1927 Volvo has always set the standard concerning automotive safety, driven by their core values safety, quality and sustainability. While constantly raising the bar in automobile safety, Volvo’s greatest achievement is an innovation the company can truly be proud of, changing the lives of millions of people. In 1959 the Swedish Volvo engineer Nils Ivar Bohlin patented the three-point seat belt, marking the origin of a completely new level of automobile safety. Not for nothing this invention was chosen by the German Patent Office in 1985 as one of the eight inventions that brought the greatest benefit to mankind in the last 100 years.

At an early stage, the company also turned their attention to the consistent connectivity of their vehicles, electronic drives and autonomous driving. The newest result of Volvo’s manufacturing is the Volvo XC40 Recharge, the brand’s first pure electric car with a range of 400 kilometers. Also, the critical charging problematic seems to be gotten into the grip. In only 40 minutes the battery can be recharged to 80 percent, making it very well prepared for the future of electronic driving.

Based on their history, as a global company Volvo is more than aware of that any of their corporate decisions can affect the world and people’s lives. That’s why people are central to everything Volvo is doing. Whereas this sounds like a clever marketing approach to relieve the parents of the young Fridays for Future generation from their burden of decision-making which car to buy next, Volvo’s approach regarding sustainability goes beyond their business and vehicles. It reaches into the society and determines the company’s thinking and actions at any time.

Volvo for Future

Volvo’s vision is ambitious: The company aims not only to take a leading role in the automotive industry concerning to safety technologies, what they already do, but also when it comes to electromobility and autonomous driving. By 2025, half of Volvo’s worldwide sales should be accounted for by pure electric cars, with one third of all vehicles driving autonomously. This endeavor is based on the company’s decision that starting from 2019 all new models will be available either as mild hybrid, plug-in hybrid or all-electric vehicle, making the XC40 Recharge only the figurehead of a much bigger idea. Because Volvo follows one of the most ambitious climate plans in the car industry. Realizing that electrification alone is not enough, Volvo’s climate ambitions go beyond radically reducing tailpipe emissions through all-out electrification. So, aiming to reduce their CO2 emissions per car by 40 percent between now and 2025 is only the start towards the company’s long-term goal of becoming climate neutral by 2040.

With their systems, Volvo has taken a leading technological lead on the road to an electric automotive future, staying true to their own core values. But while generations for generations were mostly excited about their car’s safety and reliability, it will be Volvo’s climate plans gaining the respect of the future generation.

Only well-informed climate activists will be aware of that Volvo is a founding member of the United Nations Global Compact, a voluntary initiative to implement universal sustainability principles and encourage businesses worldwide to adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies. This pact’s foundation took place in the year 2000, three years before the birth of Greta Thunberg. For the green generation Volvo might be not the coolest car brand. But in fact, Volvo was already protecting the climate a very long time before it was cool.