Eco-friendliness takes a new slant.
Volvo likes to think of itself as a leader in climate action, which is fair. It was one of the first manufacturers to offer a plug-in hybrid SUV, now known as the XC90 Recharge. It also established forward-thinking EV company Polestar, which introduced itself to the world with a grand touring plug-in hybrid and followed it up with a relatively bland compact crossover.
Volvo believes in taking a holistic approach when it comes to climate change. This includes reducing emissions across the entire supply chain and not just the final product. Volvo Cars has now become the first car maker to sign up for the SteelZero initiative.
This brand new initiative aims to increase demand for fossil-free steel to accelerate a transition to a carbon-neutral global steel industry.
According to Volvo, steel is a significant source of CO2 emissions in the automotive industry. Volvo's figure currently stands at 33% of all product-related emissions for a new car. Globally, steel is responsible for 7% of all greenhouse gas emissions.
By signing to SteelZero, Volvo Cars commits itself to stringent CO2-based steel sourcing requirements by 2030. The 2030 requirements are a drop of 50% in emissions and a ResponsibleSteel-certified rating for a steel manufacturer. By 2050, all the steel it sources should be net-zero steel, which aligns with the company's ambition to be climate neutral by 2040.
"A sustainable approach to steelmaking is not just good news for the environment, it is also good business as it limits our exposure to future climate risks and regulations," said Kerstin Enochsson, chief procurement officer at Volvo Cars. "We are pleased to join the SteelZero initiative and support its ambitions to transform the steel industry. By signaling our demand for responsibly-sourced low- and zero-carbon steel, we aim to help drive an increased supply to our sector."
SteelZero is the brainchild of the Climate Group and ResponsibleSteel, which is a steel industry-wide standard and certification body. As well as CO2 reductions, ResponsibleSteel also focuses on other vital issues in the steel supply chain like labor and human rights, engagement with local communities, water use, and biodiversity impact.
"Volvo Cars joining SteelZero marks an important step change in the global demand signal for low emission and net-zero steel and a pivotal moment for the automotive industry," said Jen Carson, head of industry at Climate Group. "This sector plays a central role in driving the net-zero transition of steel. It's supporting the creation of a decarbonized steel market internationally that can enable the sector to meet its own net-zero targets and deliver a product that is truly aligned with the climate agenda."
Now we just wait to see who follows Volvo's example.