Two days ago, Volkswagen announced “ambitious new sustainability targets.” The Wolfsburg company promised “30 percent reduction in CO2 emissions during the period from 2006 to 2015,” and “emissions below the 120 gram CO2/km mark for first time in 2015.” Plants of the group are to become “25 percent more environmentally compatible by 2018.”
TTAC ignored the announcement. I know VW quite intimately, and they make these announcements on a regular basis. A lot of the above had already been announced in 2011.
Our friends at Hybridcars.com have a different perspective, they think Volkswagen hoisted the white flag in the war with Greenpeace:
“Although Volkswagen Group today presented its “go-ahead for fundamental ecological restructuring” and commitment to a 120g/km CO2 emissions by 2015 target as its own idea, it could also be seen as at least partially caving under pressure from GreenPeace.”
Greenpeace had been on Volkswagen’s case for quite a while. Last Summer, Greenpeace slammed Volkswagen with a Star Wars persiflage, hosted on a server in environmentally responsible China (top.) In October, Greenpeace disrupted a European dealer meeting. Several protesters were arrested. A few days ago, Greenpeace continued to recycle its Darth Vader meme.
Volkswagen vowed then not submit to pressure. Volkswagen says it has kept that vow.
There had been no meetings with Greenpeace since last summer, says Ines Roessler, spokesperson for environmental matters at Volkswagen HQ in Wolfsburg. After that meeting, Volkswagen felt duped by Greenpeace, blue Volkswagen and Greenpeace are no longer on talking terms.
Says Ines Roessler:
“Of course our announcement has nothing to do with Greenpeace. Many of the targets that were communicated in Geneva already did exist for quite a while. The reduction of CO2 for instance can be found in our sustainability report , which was published in April 2011.”
Some of the newer announcements had actually been shared with Greenpeace during the ill-fated meeting last summer. Ines Roessler remembers:
“We had told Greenpeace at that meeting that the Golf 7 will have new technologies for additional reductions of consumption. To do this while the production is running is either impossible, or only possibly with huge investments. Therefore, these environmental technologies come with the new Golf 7. “
There is one thing that should have elevated the suspicion level at Hybridcars: Even Greenpeace did not claim credit after Volkswagen’s announcement. As Hybridcars writes:
“We also contacted GreenPeace today, but the U.S. representative spoken to had not even heard the news, and said he would have to consult with colleagues. Thus far we’ve not heard back.”