Environmentally friendly production processes

In view of the climate debate and the increasing scarcity of raw materials, Volkswagen uses not only fuel-efficient products but also environmentally friendly production processes. Key production environmental indicators were improved significantly in fiscal year 2009. An overview is provided in the charts on the following page. The environmental data for the Group’s manufacturing locations is collected, validated and approved in line with an internal standard and a process standard. Annual updates to the environmental data enable the Group to identify environmental pollution trends. The data captured includes 58 production facilities.

in millions of cubic meters per year
Fresh water procurement and waste water in the Volkswagen Group (bar chart)
in millions of tons per year
Direct CO2-emissions by the Volkswagen Group (bar chart)
in millions of megawatt hours per year
Consumption of Energy by the Volkswagen Group (bar chart)

New developments in paintshop technology protect the environment and help reduce costs. In the new processes, paint shop emissions, which even state-of-the-art electrostatic application methods fail to prevent, now dry out or are removed with light use of release agents. Large quantities of circulating water with agents for removing the paint are no longer used; this was the standard procedure in the past. These processes, which employ little or no water, allow more intensive and more efficient recirculation with conditioned fresh air, enabling substantial amounts of energy to be saved. Water as a resource is also conserved because circulating water is no longer used. Costly preventive measures for protecting the groundwater and the soil are no longer needed in most cases because the new methods are dry or function with very small quantities of liquid. For example, in a paintshop with a capacity of 150,000 bodyshells per year, around 8,000 t CO2 can be saved. Volkswagen will use the improved method in its new plants in Chattanooga, USA, and Chengdu, China, thus becoming the first automaker in the world to use it in painting production vehicles. This standard will also be applied to all other Volkswagen paintshops currently at the planning stage.

In the Chemnitz engine plant we have made the use of cooling and cold water more efficient so as to reduce energy costs and CO2 emissions. The natural resource is used in two ways: first, the production areas are cooled before the water is then used for its actual purpose in the technical process, e.g. in the cooling towers. This dual use reduces capital expenditure and operating costs.

*The following production facilities or companies were not included: Sitech Sitztechnik GmbH with plants in Wolfsburg and Polkowice, FAW-Volkswagen Automotive Company Ltd. with a plant in Chengdu and Volkswagen Kraftwerk GmbH. Due to external factors, it was not possible to identify all indicators for five locations as of December 31, 2009 by the print deadline for this Report. In these cases, the cumulated values for November 2009 were supplemented by qualified estimates of the December 2009 figures.

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