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Volvo - Clean all its life (09/04/2008)

Volvo Cars’ commitment to environmental activities and continuous investment to help reduce its carbon footprint goes far beyond lowering CO2 emissions. Volvo’s ‘Clean inside and out’ programme represents a holistic approach to the environmental impact of the car.  It focuses on health, resource utilisation and the ecological consequences of the production, use and disposal of the vehicle. 

Recycle, Re-use
A recent European Commission study stated that all new vehicles should be at least 85% recyclable or reusable by 2015.  All new Volvo cars reached this figure in 2002.  Volvo ensures all new models are 85% recyclable and designed for 95% recoverability as well as introducing initiatives to ensure that vehicles are clean throughout their life. The use of recycled materials such as steel, iron, aluminium and many other metals is common practice, while metals from the catalytic convertor are reused in new catalysts. Even the Volvo battery plastic covers become the wheel-arch liners on new cars. 

Climate neutral manufacturing
Volvo Cars’ focus on other energy sources than oil has been going on for more than 25 years. Back in 1982 the company took the first step by using residual heat from the nearby refineries to heat the factory in Torslanda, Sweden. In 1988 Volvo started using natural gas, which was the main fuel for heating its European factories (Sweden and Belgium) and, from 1 January 2008, Volvo’s European manufacturing units now only use green electricity – hydropower. This is Volvo’s latest step in making its production climate neutral and future plans may also extend to other energy sources such as biogas and wind-power.  

Material selection
Volvo continues its dedication to customer care by removing harmful materials traditionally associated with automotive production from its manufacturing processes. All traces of lead, cadmium, mercury and chromium can no longer be found in a Volvo, even the tanning procedure to create the leather in the seats has been changed to avoid the use of chromium. The interior of all new Volvos has been designed to comply with a strict international standard called Oeko-Tex, which ensures that all the materials used are hypoallergenic and free from hazardous substances.

Recycle parts and exchange
In addition to responsible manufacturing, servicing is also an environmentally friendly activity. Volvo has created the Volvo Exchange System where used parts are collected from dealers and remanufactured to the same quality as new parts. The Volvo Exchange System offers reconditioned, guaranteed, Volvo approved parts, ranging from starter motors to whole engines.

Assess Volvo’s wholelife impact
Volvo provides environmental information to customers, in the form of the Volvo EPI (Environmental Product Information) for all of its models, split by engine and transmission.  This covers the car’s environmental impact during production, use and disposal; enabling the environmental impact of any Volvo model to be judged independently. It gives an integrated picture of the car’s total environmental impact and makes it easier to assess and compare between different Volvo models and engine options.



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