When we visited Volkswagen's manufacturing plant in Chattanooga, TN a while back, we were told it would be model for other company plants around the world. That's just what an announcement today puts into effect.

Expanding on its "Bluemotion" tagline for its more efficient vehicles, VW's cleaner factory initiative is called "Think Blue. Factory." The target numbers are as follows: by 2018, the "environmental impact" of every VW plant will be reduced by 25 percent compared to, we think, 2010 numbers. What does "environmental impact" mean? VW says it especially includes "energy consumption [in megawatt-hours per vehicle produced], waste volumes, air-borne emissions, water consumption and carbon dioxide emissions" and that the numbers will be measured, it seems, by pooling all "environmental activities" at VW plants around the globe.

The change isn't being done out of a simple bit of kindness to the earth. Instead, Werner Neubauer, Member of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen brand with responsibility for Components, said in a statement that, "sustainable, efficient production is a clear competitive advantage." It could also be fun, as the Volkswagen Energy Cup will have an annual "Think Blue. Factory." day in the coming years. Considering that VW has it heart set on big goals – to be the world's number one automaker, for example – reaching them in a less environmentally impacting way is a good thing.
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Volkswagen intends to make production 25 percent more environmentally compatible by 2018
Volkswagen agrees global environmental targets for its plants

Wolfsburg, 29 December 2011 - As part of its "Think Blue. Factory." Initiative, the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand has set itself clear targets for the environmentally sustainable positioning of all its plants. By 2018, the environmental impact of all Volkswagen plants is to be reduced by 25 percent. This applies especially to energy consumption, waste volumes, air-borne emissions, water consumption and carbon dioxide emissions.

"Through the growing efficiency and productivity of our plants, the Volkswagen brand is already making a key contribution to the achievements of Group strategic targets for 2018. However, we are going a step further: by 2018, we intend to make production at all our plants 25 percent more environmentally compatible," said Hubert Waltl, Member of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand with responsibility for Production and Logistics. On the basis of annual values for 2010, future carbon dioxide emissions, waste volumes, energy consumption in megawatt-hours per vehicle produced and overall water consumption for production are to be significantly reduced.

"Sustainable, efficient production is a clear competitive advantage," added Prof. Werner Neubauer, Member of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen brand with responsibility for Components. "With its "Think Blue. Factory." Initiative, the Volkswagen brand is pursuing a clear strategy which pools all environmental activities at our plants throughout the world. Our ambitious targets for sustainable vehicle production have now been defined in a way which is clear and comprehensible for our customers."

"Think Blue. Factory." is an addition to the Volkswagen "Think Blue." portfolio including key measures in the area of vehicle production. The program, which is concerned with efficiency improvements in production and the expansion of environmentally aware energy supplies, addresses all employees at the plants. In future, approaches for reducing energy consumption in production will be honored by the Volkswagen Energy Cup at an annual "Think Blue. Factory." day.

Only a few weeks ago, the new Volkswagen plant at Chattanooga, Tennessee, was the first automobile factory worldwide to receive platinum LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. Platinum certification confirms compliance with the most demanding standards for sustainable, environmentally compatible production.

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