Volkswagen and Greenpeace leaders recently agreed that Europe's largest automaker would pledge to cut its fleetwide new-vehicle emissions to 95 g/km of CO2 by the end of the decade by increasing sales of diesels and electric-drive vehicles.
Volkswagen Chairman Martin Winterkorn and Greenpeace Chief Executive Director Brigitte Behrens met for the first time to ease what has, at times, been a frosty dialogue between VW and the environmental group. The result was VW pledging to "do everything in our power" to reach the lower emissions level, as proposed by the European Commission last summer. This level would represent about a 30-percent reduction in average emissions from last year.
In 2011, Greenpeace activists started poking fun at the much lauded VW-Darth Vader TV commercial, even going as far as dressing up as Imperial Stormtroopers as VW auto executives enteedg a meeting of the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (Acea) in Brussels. Greenpeace was at it again last year, saying that VW's new diesel-hybrid Golf wasn't as eco-friendly as the vehicle maker made it out to be. This new agreement augurs a new hope, doesn't it? Check out VW's press release below.
• Joint declaration on emissions goal of 95 grams
Wolfsburg, March 25, 2013 – At the beginning of the Geneva Motor Show on March 4, 2013, the Volkswagen Group announced for the first time its far-reaching decision to reduce the fuel consumption of its new vehicle fleet to a greater extent than had previously been intended. This decision was underscored by Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Executive Board of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft, during the first top-level meeting with Greenpeace Chief Executive Director Brigitte Behrens in Hanover on March 21, 2013.
The meeting focused on a discussion of the Volkswagen Group's climate protection efforts. Winterkorn underlined that the Volkswagen Group would reach the emission target set by EU legislation of an average of 95 grams of carbon dioxide (CO2) per kilometer by 2020. "I guarantee that we will do everything in our power to reach carbon dioxide emissions of 95 grams without any reservations. However, this will only be possible if customers accept our advanced alternative powertrains. This is of course our objective."
Greenpeace Chief Executive Director Brigitte Behrens supports the targets set by Volkswagen. "This is a decision in favor of climate protection and a key signal for committing to the protection of the environment and society and the series production of climate-friendly technical solutions. We will remain in dialogue with Volkswagen, also as regards mobility concepts for the future." The declaration of Volkswagen is also a signal for stricter exhaust emission regulations in the growth markets of the USA and China.
For two years, Volkswagen and Greenpeace have been engaging in a constructive and in some cases also confrontational dialog concerning the reduction of the CO2 emissions of the entire Volkswagen fleet to an average of 95 grams by 2020. In connection with this calculation, criticisms have been raised, especially as regards "supercredits", which allow manufacturers to count electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles as low-emission vehicles several times over. Independently from each other, Volkswagen and Greenpeace are convinced that the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions in road traffic is a key factor in climate protection.
Volkswagen and the independent environmental protection organization will continue constructive dialogue about further environmental targets to be adopted by the Group and how they are to be achieved.