• Dec 29th 2011 at 2:31PM
  • 6
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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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Months Ago
      Just put a bunch of solar cells on those roofs, and voila: will be able to easily meet their goal, even if energy consumption per vehicle goes up over time.
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 8 Months Ago
      25% cleaner manufacturing is great, but you really gotta do something about how fuel inefficient your entire line of vehicles is :P
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 8 Months Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        Ford, GM, Honda, Toyota, etc etc etc. Their most efficient cars barely crack 30mpg on the highway. And their larger cars are absolutely atrocious and over weight. Go look at some specs.
          • 8 Months Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          My Golf TDI is getting nearly 50 mpg on the highway, and 38 in town. So much for your theory that their most efficient cars barely crack 30 mpg on the highway.
        • 8 Months Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        What are you comparing them to?
      Arun Murali
      • 8 Months Ago
      I cant find any information on how much energy(in MWh) VW spends on each car recently. I see from Volvo's site that their energy consumption has been raising steadily (about 8-12% a year). http://www.volvocars.com/intl/top/about/corporate/volvo-sustainability/pages/sustainability-scorecard.aspx If the 25% reduction is based on future estimates of energy consumption, it might not be much. It might actually increase by 30% from current levels. Since the statement does not say, compared to what they are reducing 25% emissions, this is quite an unclear statement and probably just to indicate publicly that they are doing something to go green. Considering how incredibly they are failing to launch anything greener than their plain old diesel cars. I think Diesel subsidies world over(especially most of Europe and Asia) are a big hindrance in allowing people to adopt greener technologies out there. VW is one of the biggest benefactor of these subsidies, at present.
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