For Volkswagen, the perception of corporate social responsibility (CSR) is the Company’s contribution to sustainable development. Nowadays, the vision of sustainability is completely accepted all over the world. What sustainable development essentially means is that our business practices and depletion of resources must not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Environmental, economic and social objectives must be reconciled.
As a company with operations worldwide, Volkswagen is expressly committed to this corporate responsibility and puts all of its innovative strength into making an effective contribution to sustainable mobility – with technologies for the cleanest, most fuel-efficient automobiles. However, job security and profitability are equally important objectives in Volkswagen’s corporate activities.CSR at the Volkswagen Group therefore means that the core economic processes are always closely intertwined with ecological and social issues, with the aim of avoiding risks, identifying opportunities for development early on and improving the Company’s reputation. CSR will therefore help to increase the value of the Company and safeguard it in the long term.
As a good corporate citizen, Volkswagen has always felt a responsibility for social issues. Social development, culture and education are supported at all Volkswagen Group locations worldwide, as are projects for the development of regional infrastructure, health promotion, sport and nature conservation.
CSR Coordination and Sustainability office
In the Volkswagen Group, all activities in the field of CSR and sustainability are coordinated by the CSR office, whose task is to strategically align CSR and optimize sustainability management throughout the Group. The office reports to the CSR steering group, which includes all central Group departments and the Group Works Council. The goal is to network internal units and improve exchange processes between the line departments. An interdisciplinary CSR project team that meets regularly handles current topics. By piloting an IT-based CSR KPI system in 2009, Volkswagen took an important step towards making management processes more efficient and transparent. This system will be successfully expanded and enhanced over the coming years.
Volkswagen actively participates in national, European and international corporate networks and contributes its technological and social expertise to their projects. One of the main emphases is on preparing information on environmental and social standards for suppliers. CSR Europe’s online portal provides an important, accepted communication platform for this.
RESULTS OF THE SAM 2009 ASSESSMENT
Volkswagen in sustainability rankings and indices
In addition to financial data, financial market participants are increasingly using the information companies provide about the entity’s sustainability profile as a basis for their recommendations and decisions. Sustainability ratings are an extremely useful tool for illustrating a company’s performance in the environmental, social and economic dimensions. A strong performance in sustainability ratings and indices not only gives signals to stakeholders, but also increases internal motivation in the Company. In 2009, Volkswagen was able to maintain its position among the leaders in its sector in the most important international ratings and indices.
As in the previous year, the Company is listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index and on the Dow Jones STOXX Sustainability Index. The Volkswagen Group scored top marks in particular in the assessment of innovation management, health protection and occupational safety, as well as for its communication of sustainability issues. The Group’s climate protection strategy and social responsibility also contributed to this positive result. The results of the survey conducted in 2009 by Swiss asset management company SAM on behalf of Dow Jones can be seen in the chart above.
Volkswagen is currently listed on the following sustainability indices (at December 31, 2009): ASPI (Advanced Sustainability Performance Indices), Dow Jones STOXX Sustainability Index, Dow Jones Sustainability World Index, Ethibel Sustainability Index, FTSE4Good and FTSE4Good Environmental Leaders Europe 40.
Since 2002, Volkswagen has supported the Global Compact (GC) initiated by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. Encompassing 5,000 companies from 135 countries, this is the largest and most important CSR alliance and works in support of a more sustainable and more inclusive global economy. Volkswagen’s aim in participating is to help realize this goal.
The GC is based on ten principles in the areas of human rights, labor standards, environmental protection and the fight against corruption. Volkswagen continued to focus on these principles at all its plants in 2009 and provided its expertise to enable others to implement the GC goals. Volkswagen documents its active involvement in an annual progress report.
In 2009, Volkswagen Argentina received an award for its large-scale activities in the context of GC. Volkswagen’s collaboration in the German GC network is documented in a publication on sustainable consumption by the United Nations Environmental Program and the Wuppertal Institute Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production (CSCP). A representative of Volkswagen was also appointed to the advisory board for the “Sustainable Supplier Chain” GC project. The results of the project will be presented at the GC summit in New York in June 2010.