For the third time in a row, employees will conduct environmental- and climate-protection activities at many Volkswagen Group sites from today to April 22. The campaign “Project1Hour” takes place on the occasion of the international Earth Day. In 2022 it mobilized about 300,000 employees around the world and is considered to be the world’s largest corporate climate workshop. This year’s campaign will be expanded to include a further 500,000 employees at Volkswagen dealerships worldwide, adding to the 675,000 Volkswagen employees who are already part of it.
CEO Oliver Blume said: “ ‘Invest in Our Planet’ is the theme of this year’s Earth Day. At Volkswagen, we are taking this claim literally by investing EUR 52 billion in the future of individual, emission-free mobility – more than any other automobile manufacturer. The share of e-vehicles that the Group is selling has been rising constantly: it totaled nearly 7 percent in 2022. The figure is scheduled to total more than 80 percent worldwide at Porsche by 2030, for instance. It should reach 80 percent for the Volkswagen brand in Europe by the same year. We are also doing our part to expand the charging infrastructure with renewable energy: we are planning to build about 18.000 fast-charging points in Europe and approximately 45,000 around the world by 2025. E-mobility is the best solution for sustainable transportation. This is something we truly believe. We are taking a holistic approach to the issue of sustainability: economically, environmentally and socially. With our “Project1Hour”, we are setting an example on Earth Day and are combining social and corporate goals with an opportunity for every employee. Together, we form a force of 1 million minds for climate protection.”
Chief Human Resources Officer Gunnar Kilian said: “Sustainability and climate protection are not some type of window dressing at Volkswagen. The commitment that our Group’s workforce has made to the “Project1Hour” shows why. In 2022, more than 295,000 colleagues came up with ideas that we can use to reduce our impact on our environment and our climate at work and elsewhere. We are pressing ahead with this commitment in 2023 by further raising our awareness levels and our sensitivity about our planet Earth. This is an important step because we all know that we have just one Earth and that we must handle it with care.”
The Chairwoman of the Group Works Council, Daniela Cavallo, added: “The employee representatives hope that huge numbers of people will join in. One hour of work for a group-wide workforce of 670,000 employees represents a tremendous reservoir of potential. This hour will make a real difference if it produces many creative ideas and initiatives that catch on and resonate with the workforce. For this reason, I hope that as many colleagues as possible will have an opportunity to take part – including the workforce in the assembly units.”
The “Project1Hour” is accompanied by campaigns at various locations: At the main plant in Wolfsburg, Production Director Christian Vollmer invites employees on a bike tour to the plant to make the commute more sustainable. Astrid Fontaine, Member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, also calls on employees to organize their commute to work in an active/sporty manner and to form carpools. Porsche also finances the use of local public transport for employees for one day.
At Volkswagen Group Technology and many Volkswagen canteens in Germany, there are campaigns all about vegetarian and vegan nutrition. The Bentley canteen in Crewe, England, is also focusing on a plant-based menu for the campaign period, which is flanked by general tips for a healthy and climate-positive lifestyle.
Volkswagen Group of America is organizing a recycling campaign and offers employees and customers the opportunity to hand in laptops, cell phones, batteries and other small electronic devices for recycling. In addition, garbage collection campaigns are taking place at several locations, such as at the Herndon headquarters or in Auburn Hills: employees clean up public parks and facilities.
The software subsidiary CARIAD has set itself the goal of being net CO2-neutral by 2025 and is organizing a Green Tech Week for its employees with information on how software can help to reduce the CO2 footprint. In addition, expert talks, workshops and digital clean-up sessions will take place.
The Volkswagen Group was the first automobile manufacturer to commit to the Paris Climate Agreement back in 2018. Its strategy and corporate targets are aimed at ensuring the entire Group will be net carbon-neutral by no later than 2050. This objective encompasses not only vehicles but also factories and processes. The Sustainability unit is one of ten strategic action areas with which the Volkswagen Group is moving ahead at full steam under the direction of CEO Oliver Blume. The sponsor of the strategic initiative on the Group Board of Management is Manfred Döss, the board member responsible for Integrity and Legal Affairs who will ensure that the measures and target achievement are regularly evaluated.
The Volkswagen Group is linking its “Project1Hour” to global Earth Day on April 22. Earth Day was initiated in the United States in 1970. It is marked every year on April 22. It has evolved into a global grassroots environmental movement since its initiation more than 50 years ago. Around 20 million people took part in the first Earth Day. Today, it is more than 200 million. The global event stands for multifaceted activities that focus on the broad spectrum of environmental and climate protection issues and for a commitment to jointly create promising environmental and climate solutions. The theme of this year’s international Earth Day is “Invest in Our Planet.”