Climate challenge

Transport industry faced with the challenge of climate change
Transportation is closely linked to the every day needs of many people, and it also plays an important role in the development of welfare and growth. Climate change is one of the most complex and challenging issues of our time. The Volvo Group is committed to developing solutions that enhance mobility while reducing impact on the environment. We are convinced that our future products will remain an important part of a sustainable society.

The challenge – reducing emissions of greenhouse gases

The European Union's target for the transport sector is a reduction of greenhouse gases of 20% by 2030, based on 2008 levels, and at least 60% by 2050, with 1990 as the baseline. In urban transports, the target is to achieve essentially carbon dioxide-neutral city logistics in major urban centers by 2030.

The European Union has stated that new technologies for vehicles, through new engines, material and design, and traffic management as well as cleaner energy use through new fuels and drivelines is necessary to decrease the impact of transport. These are all areas prioritized by the Volvo Group, and major resources are dedicated to them.

Road transport emissions

Climate change is very much a global issue and requires global action. According to the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC), greenhouse gases must decrease by 50–80% between 2000 and 2050.

Research shows that transport is responsible for approximately 13% of the total greenhouse gas emissions caused by humans. Goods transports on roads account for about 4% globally.

Our most important contribution is to develop solutions that increase fuel efficiency and to introduce vehicles that use renewable fuel. We also strive to minimize the impact of our own production processes.

Preparing for forthcoming carbon dioxide regulation

The Volvo Group's research and development takes into account the cost of, access to and availability of fuel, as well as legislation in the environmental area. Continued problems with air pollution and climate change entail more stringent legislation. We focus our research and development on the development of energy-efficient engines, hybrid drivelines, electrified vehicles and vehicles that can be operated on renewable fuels. The Volvo Group also participates in different partnerships for the development of efficient transport systems.

At the Volvo Group, we are closely monitoring and participating in the development of forthcoming carbon dioxide-related regulation for heavy duty vehicles. Fuel consumption has already been regulated in China, and Japan will follow in 2015. The US will introduce a greenhouse gas-emission regulation in 2014, and a corresponding fuel consumption regulation 2016. We are also monitoring and participating in the EU debate regarding greenhouse gas/fuel consumption certification of heavy-duty vehicles.

Addressing climate change – part of the Volvo Group strategy

The Volvo Group recognizes climate change and is committed to reducing the climate impact of transports. Our most important contribution is to develop solutions that increase fuel efficiency and to introduce vehicles that use renewable fuel. We also strive to minimize the impact of our own production processes. In addition, we are engaged in research and demonstration activities related to the efficiency of the transport system as such.

These aspects are integrated into our environmental agenda and form part of our prioritized areas. As a Group, we are striving to minimize the climate impact of our activities by focusing on:

  • The reduction of energy consumption and departure from energy from fossil fuels in production processes
  • Developing alternative drivelines and vehicles operating on renewable fuels
  • Decreasing carbon dioxide emissions from our internal transports.

Cooperating with actors in society

We believe in the ability and willingness of people to find solutions to environmental problems. We therefore make efforts to increase awareness of environmental issues related to the transport industry. We work together with authorities in different countries on subsidies and grants for the development of environmentally enhanced products, and for incentives for our customers to enable the transition to more sustainable transport solutions.

Many countries have been given the incentive to encourage the development towards a low-carbon society. Access to new funding for specific measures in developing countries can provide an important opportunity for the Volvo Group. We can contribute to new projects with transport solutions and low-carbon technology.

The Volvo Group became the world’s first manufacturer in the automotive industry to join the WWF Climate Savers Program.

Public-private partnerships

Climate partnership with the WWF

In 2010, the Volvo Group became the world's first manufacturer in the automotive industry to join the World Wildlife Fund for Nature's (WWF) Climate Savers Program. 

In 2011, it was agreed that Volvo Construction Equipment and Volvo Bus Cooperation should join the Climate Savers program. Volvo Group’s joint-venture company, SDLG, which manufactures construction equipment in China, became the first Chinese company to join the Climate Savers Program. The partnership was launched during a ceremony in February 2012 in China.

Volvo Group’s joint-venture company, SDLG, became the first Chinese company to join the Climate Savers Program.

Being a partner in Climate Savers Program, we have agreed to even more ambitious emission targets for greenhouse gases. The objective is to reduce the total amount of carbon dioxide emitted by trucks, construction equipment and buses manufactured in the Group through 2014 by more than 30 million tons, compared with vehicles manufactured in 2008. 30 million tons is the equivalent of the total carbon dioxide emitted by Sweden in a seven month period.

The results will be monitored by independent technical experts.

Sustainable Urban Transports

The Volvo Group is participating in different initiatives on efficient transport solutions. One project is called Sustainable Urban Transports (SUT), which aims to define how transport in city centers will function in the future. The project has been funded by VINNOVA (the Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems).

Partnership for carbon dioxide neutral transportation

The KNEG (Climate Neutral Freight Transportation) network gathers a large number of Swedish companies, researchers, organizations and public authorities. The goal is to reduce the climate impact of goods transport on Swedish roads.

The objective of each participating company is to cut in half the emissions from a typical Swedish long-haul transport operation by 2020 compared with 2005.

Volvo Trucks and Volvo Logistics will:

  • Improve fuel efficiency of Volvo Trucks with at least 1% annually
  • Retain the lead in the introduction of hybrid technology for heavy-duty trucks
  • Actively promote a shift to alternative fuel and take a leading role in the development of vehicles adapted to run on alternative fuels
  • Work to promote transport solutions that contribute to increased transport efficiency and reduced emissions of carbon dioxide
  • Encourage drivers to undergo fuel-efficient driving training
  • Be the leading transport buyer in promoting alternative fuels
  • Actively work for better infrastructure and longer vehicles, and promote an increase of the maximum vehicle length in Europe to 25.25 meters
  • Always include sea and rail when considering new transport flows
  • Increase the trucks filling rate every year and constantly improve the efficiency of logistic systems
  • Cooperate with other buyers of logistic services for increased efficiency and better balance.

ETT project

The ETT project is one part of KNEG. ETT is a concept for energy-efficient transport solutions based on a module system for timber transport. Volvo participate in the project and a vehicle was built under the direction of Volvo.

By using longer trucks (30 m) additional timber can be loaded. Evaluation of the project took place after 28 months. By that time the trucks had been running 640,000 km with approximately 130,000 m3 freight. By using longer trucks and operating on renewable fuels, the carbon dioxide emission decreased by 225 tons and resulted in 45% less transports.

Did you know?

According to the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC), greenhouse gases must decrease by 50–80% between 2000 and 2050.