9 billion people will live on our planet in the year 2050. All of them will need energy and food, a place to live and clothing, education and healthcare – and they will want to be mobile. For industry that’s both a challenge and an opportunity. Only their capacity for technological progress will create the necessary productivity gains and innovations, and bring about resource-conserving structural changes. The quality principles are sustainability and responsibility – the core values of business activity at Volkswagen.
At Volkswagen, we view corporate social responsibility (CSR) as the contribution our company makes to sustainable development on our planet. In line with our vision of sustainability, our way of doing business and our consumption of resources may not compromise opportunities for future generations. We pursue ecological, economic and social goals in the same measure and are thus an integral part of international efforts to create a sustainable economic order on a global level.
Sustainability is the foundation of corporate policy at Volkswagen. This means that sustainability is integrated along the entire value chain of the Company. Corporate responsibility at Volkswagen means always considering the impact on society and the environment. Sustainability also safeguards the Company’s long-term future. In order to make an effective contribution to sustainable mobility, and as a company with global responsibility, Volkswagen is working hard to develop technologies for the cleanest, most fuel-efficient automobiles and efficient mobility concepts. Aligning job security and profitability always matters at Volkswagen.
Our corporate policy is designed so that core economic processes are strategically tied to environmental and social concerns. CSR involves voluntarily taking social responsibility at a level beyond mere compliance with legal requirements. The Volkswagen Group’s integrated CSR concept is aimed at avoiding risks, identifying opportunities for development early on and improving the Group’s reputation. CSR therefore makes an important contribution to increasing the value of the Company and safeguarding it in the long term. As a good corporate citizen, Volkswagen takes its social involvement seriously. It is part of our corporate culture of sustainability. At our locations worldwide, we support social development, culture and education. We also initiate projects for the development of regional infrastructure, health promotion, sport and nature conservation.
Corporate Social Responsibility Coordination and Sustainability office
Group activities in the area of CSR and sustainability have been coordinated by a CSR office since 2006. Its responsibility is to align CSR activities strategically and optimize sustainability management. The idea of the office as a guidance unit has proven itself with respect to both internal management processes and dialog with external stakeholders. The CSR office coordinates the regular interchange between brands and regions in the Volkswagen Group. It reports to the CSR & Sustainability steering group, which includes all central Group business areas and the Group Works Council. The objective of the work in the steering group is to network the internal units and improve exchange processes between the technical departments. Our CSR project teams work on current topics across business areas.
With the introduction of the IT-based sustainability management system and the further integration of the KPI (Key Performance Indicator) system, we have created the basis for comprehensive and timely CSR and sustainability reporting in the Group. The control efficiency and transparency of the KPI system allow Volkswagen to meet the increasing expectations of its stakeholders for an up-to-date, differentiated presentation of the Company’s CSR and sustainability performance.
For Volkswagen, the ability to help shape national, European and international corporate networks is an important component of the permanent dialog with key social groups and actors. Volkswagen contributes its technical and social capacity here and supports numerous projects. The Group is represented on the board of the leading European business network for corporate social responsibility, CSR Europe. At a national level, we are involved in econsense, the Forum for Sustainable Development of German Business. Along with numerous other companies, Volkswagen has signed the “Code of Responsible Conduct for Business” initiative.
RESULTS OF THE SAM 2011 ASSESSMENT
Volkswagen in sustainability rankings and indices
Financial market participants increasingly base their recommendations and decisions not only on the financial numbers, but also on the CSR and sustainability profile of the companies. Analysts and investors view CSR and sustainability performance as leading indicators of forward-looking corporate leadership. Sustainability ratings are particularly well suited to capturing the environmental, social and economic performance of a company. If the highest scores are achieved in these ratings, it not only sends a clear signal to stakeholders but also raises the company’s attractiveness as an employer externally and the motivation of its existing employees internally. As in the previous year, Volkswagen was again able in 2011 to maintain its position among the leaders in its sector in the most important international ratings and indices.
Volkswagen is one of only three automobile companies listed in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index. In the assessment by Swiss asset management company SAM on behalf of Dow Jones, Volkswagen scored top marks especially for environmental management and employment growth, as well as for risk management, social commitment and stakeholder relations. The chart below shows the results achieved by Volkswagen in 2011 compared with the industry average.
As of the reporting date, Volkswagen was represented in the following sustainability indices: ASPI (Advanced Sustainability Performance Index), Dow Jones Sustainability World Index, ECPI Ethical Index Europe, ECPI Ethical Index EMU, ECPI Ethical Index Global, Ethibel Sustainability Index, FTSE4G ood and STOXX ESG Leader.
Since 2002, Volkswagen has been committed to the largest and most important CSR initiative in the world, the Global Compact. The 7,000 participating companies from over 135 countries work together to shape a more sustainable and equitable world economy. Volkswagen makes a significant contribution to this initiative. We report on our diverse international CSR projects in this regard in an annual progress report. In 2011, we achieved the “Global Compact Advanced Level”.
Ten principles governing human rights, labor standards, environmental protection and the fight against corruption describe the values of the Global Compact. At all locations of our company, we again guided our business activities by these principles in 2011. With our expertise, we also help other companies in the Global Compact to embrace their global responsibility. An example of this is our active participation on the advisory board for the “Sustainable Supplier Chain” project.