Production

With the environment in focus

An important tool in production is Volvo Production System (VPS), which includes methods for streamlining the operation and minimizing productivity losses.

The environmental effort is and has long been one of the cornerstones of the Group’s efforts. The common environmental policy is one of the most important documents for governance. The policy is based on the Group’s environmental management system, strategies and targets, reviews and measures. 

The Volvo Group conducts manufacturing in 18 countries around the globe. An important tool is Volvo Production System (VPS), which includes methods for streamlining the operation and minimizing productivity losses. VPS includes tools for documenting work-related risks, indicators for measuring health and safety and methods for ergonomic workplaces. Today, 17 of the Group's production facilities are certified according to the international standard for occupational health and safety, OHSAS 18001. Environmental issues are also partly managed in VPS. At the end of 2012, 97% of employees in production worked in units certified according to environmental and quality management systems, primarily ISO 14001 and ISO 9001. At each production unit, there are environmental coordinators, safety delegates and quality coordinators. Indicators are used to measure and monitor work in environment, health and safety.  

The Group’s environmental goals are used to govern, develop and monitor the environmental work. Focusing on energy-saving measures is good for the environment and for the Group’s financial results. A couple of years ago, when the Volvo Group launched the world’s first carbon-neutral plant, the primary reason was to reduce the environmental load, but it soon became clear that it was also a good financial investment, which will generate considerable cost savings in the long-term.

All production facilities must comply with common minimum requirements in terms of chemicals, energy consumption, emissions to air and water, waste management, environmental organization and improvement work. Since 1989, environmental audits have been conducted to ensure compliance with the environmental policy and during acquisitions, companies and properties are reviewed with respect to environmental aspects and risks.

In 2012, there were 15 licensable facilities in Sweden. All have the necessary environmental permits and no permit must be renewed in 2013. An inventory of any contaminated land among the Group’s properties is conducted annually. During 2012, post-remediation work was conducted on one case of contaminated land among the Volvo Group’s properties in Sweden. During 2012, one major environmental incident occurred in Eskilstuna, Sweden. A leakage of oil was discovered in time for it to be stopped before it reached a nearby stream. No environmental disputes are in progress.

The New River Valley plant is the first in the US with two high energy certifications
The plant in New River Valley (NRV), which is the largest for Volvo Trucks, was certified according to ISO 50001 and SEP (Superior Energy Performance). ISO 50001 is an international standard and SEP is a certification program in the US for the development of continuous improvements in energy efficiency. The NRV plant was SEP-certified at platinum level – the highest possible – for implementing more than 15% energy improvements over a three-year period. To achieve ISO 50001 and SEP standards entail a milestone for NRV, on the way to becoming a carbon-dioxide neutral plant.

Jointly with 32 other major companies, NRV is participating in the DOE’s Better Buildings/Better Plants improvement program. The commitment includes reducing energy intensity, within a ten-year period, by 25% per unit, and Volvo achieved the program’s target within one year instead of ten. Some of the solutions that helped to reduce NRV’s energy consumption were technical, for example, automation system, heating with solar energy and infrared heat, and many of the ideas were contributed by employees.  

Read more in the Volvo Sustainability Report 2012.