Environmental strategy

Protecting the environment is firmly anchored in the main goals of our future program TOGETHER – Strategy 2025. As a world-leading provider of sustainable mobility, we want to be a role model on environmental issues. We are working towards this goal, taking responsibility for the environment every single day. In striving to achieve our goal of becoming a role model, we consider the environmental impact throughout the entire product life cycle: from manufacturing (including the supply chain) to use and disposal. In addition to the global challenges of climate change, our approach also looks at other important environmental resources, particularly water, soil, air, energy and raw materials. We use major sustainability ratings as our benchmark and aim to achieve top rankings in these. To this end, we have defined the following target areas:

  • To continuously improve our carbon footprint
  • To continuously reduce harmful emissions
  • To continuously reduce resource consumption

We use the decarbonization index (DCI) as a strategic indicator to document our progress. This measures the products’ CO2 emissions along the entire value chain. The DCI is calculated from the ratio of the carbon footprint to the number of vehicles sold. It encompasses both direct and indirect CO2 emissions at the individual production sites (Scope 1 and 2) as well as all further CO2 emissions over the life cycle of the vehicles sold – from the extraction of raw materials, to vehicle use and final disposal of old vehicles (Scope 3). The DCI thus enables transparent, comprehensive tracking of progress toward climate-friendly mobility. We are currently defining the DCI target figures for 2025 together with the Volkswagen Group brands. The 2°C target of the Paris Agreement adopted at the UN Climate Change Conference in late 2015 serves as an important parameter for us in this endeavor.

We are also calculating the environmental impact reduction production indicator. We have set a target for the Group and brands to reduce the environmental impact of production by 45% per vehicle compared with 2010 levels. This indicator includes energy and water consumption, CO2 and VOC emissions and the volume of waste; the charts in chapter “Production” show the development of these indicators.

Organization of Environmental Protection

The Group Board of Management is the highest internal decision-making authority on environmental matters. Since 2012, it has simultaneously functioned as the Group’s Sustainability Board. The Group-wide management of environmental protection is the responsibility of the Group Steering Committee for the Environment and Energy, which is supported by numerous specialist bodies.

The brands and companies are responsible for their own environmental organization. They base their own environmental policies on the targets, guidelines and principles that apply throughout the Group. The Group Steering Committee for the Environment and Energy coordinates the brands and companies. It reports on progress to the Board of Management.

Environmental officers from throughout the Group meet regularly for the Group Environmental Conference in order to optimize the environmental focus along the entire value chain.

Our production sites, including the central development areas, are certified in accordance with ISO 14001 or EMAS (101 of 123 production sites in 2018). Many production locations have also certified their energy management systems in accordance with ISO 50001. Since 2009, the “integration of environmental aspects into the product development at the Volkswagen brand” has also been certified in accordance with ISO TR 14062 in the Technical Development department at the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand.


Biodiversity means the variety of life on our planet, and covers the variety of species, the genetic differences within species and the diversity of ecosystems. We rely on it as the basis for our continued existence: healthy food, clean water, fertile soils and a balanced climate. Due to the global decline in biodiversity, the United Nations has declared the current decade to be the “UN Decade on Biodiversity”.

Volkswagen has been committed to protecting biodiversity since 2007 and is a founding member of the Biodiversity in Good Company e.V. initiative. In our mission statement, we have committed to supporting the protection of species at all of our locations. For this, we are collaborating with local partners and suppliers. We are in the process of developing a suitable evaluation model to show the effect of biodiversity projects and promote biodiversity at our production locations. Our membership in Biodiversity in Good Company e.V. had been temporarily suspended as a result of the diesel issue, but we were reincorporated as an active member at the beginning of 2019.

Protecting biodiversity is an integral part of our environmental management. We contribute to achieving the targets of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and utilizing resources as efficiently as possible. Volkswagen supports networking between the various players in the fields of business, politics, society and academia with a view to increasing public awareness of biodiversity conservation and to increase knowledge of the issue.