Volvo Cars to remove single-use plastics from all offices, canteens and events

Volvo Cars to remove single-use plastics from all offices, canteens and events

Volvo will replace single-use plastic items with more sustainable alternatives; photo: Volvo Cars

Volvo Cars will remove single-use plastics from all its offices, canteens and events across the globe by the end of 2019. The decision reflects the company’s active support of the UN Environment Clean Seas campaign. It also underlines the carmaker’s ambition to minimise its global environmental footprint.

Now single-use plastic items include cups, food containers and cutlery. The premium car maker will replace over 20 million of them with more sustainable alternatives. These include biodegradable products made of paper, pulp and wood. This equates to the removal of over 500 plastic items per employee per year.

The switch will go in force incrementally

By the end of 2018, single-use plastics will be absent from global events such as car launches. This will happen as well from all offices and restaurants in Volvo Cars facilities. The company has factories in China, Belgium, the United States, Sweden and Malaysia.

During 2019, all national sales companies will eradicate single-use plastics from their operations, including local events.

“Action from the private sector is key to making progress in the fight against plastic pollution and raising awareness. We cannot wait for a binding legislative agreement,” said Lisa Emelia Svensson, Director of Ocean at UN Environment. According to researchers in the next 10 to 15 years global plastic production will nearly double. “Parts of it will end up in oceans if we do not change today. We welcome Volvo Cars saying no to single-use plastics and it’s great to see it leading by example.”

Volvo Cars estimates that the 2018 roll-out alone will result in the replacement of more than 140 tonnes of single-use plastic items with plastic-free alternatives

“Plastics pollution is one of the great environmental challenges of our time,” said Stuart Templar, Director for Sustainability at Volvo Cars. “We take our responsibility seriously. We must play our part in helping tackle this global problem.”

The company’s action on single-use plastics follows its EUR 300,000 support for the Volvo Ocean Race’s Science Programme. Several of the boats in the 2018-19 edition of the Race have sensors that are capturing data on marine health from some of the remotest parts of the world’s oceans, including levels of microplastics.

Sales of the V90 Cross Country Volvo Ocean Race special edition vehicles have contributed to this support. Meanwhile, the car itself contains carpet inlays made from Econyl. This fabric is from 100 percent recycled nylon. That includes fishing nets abandoned by fisherman or boats, later reclaimed from the seabed.

Volvo Cars works on reducing the environmental impact of both its products and operations. In 2017, the company announced it would electrify all-new Volvo cars launched after 2019. Last month, Volvo Cars reinforced this strategy. The company stated that it aims a 50% share of fully electric cars in its global sales by 2025.

Volvo Cars aims as well to have climate-neutral manufacturing operations by 2025. In January this year, the engine plant in Skövde, Sweden, became its first climate-neutral facility.