• More than 3,400 environmental projects implemented at Volkswagen plants worldwide since 2011
  • Volkswagen brand production already 24 percent more environmentally compatible
  • 350 environmental experts from Volkswagen draw up new priority topics for conserving resources
Volkswagen is well on track with its "Think Blue. Factory." environmental program: since 2011, the consumption of resources in vehicle production has been reduced by an average of 24.3 percent. To achieve that, Volkswagen has successfully implemented more than 3,400 environmental measures and projects in production at its plants throughout the world. This was the positive interim assessment of 350 environmental experts from the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand, the Components business area and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles at the fourth "Think Blue. Factory." day in Wolfsburg. Participants at the annual conference also discussed new targets for the green future of vehicle production at Volkswagen.

"‘Think Blue. Factory.' is already a resounding success for Volkswagen. We are within reach of our environmental targets in just four years. I am proud of this committed team", said Thomas Ulbrich, member of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand responsible for Production and Logistics. "We have already come a long way, but this cannot be the end of the road for us. It is time to keep on harnessing existing potential and to make the future of Volkswagen even greener with new ideas and measures", Ulbrich continued.

"The fact that Volkswagen is celebrating the success of ‘Think Blue. Factory.' is above all due to the team's very high motivation. Right from the start our environmental experts transformed this program into a genuine success story with more than 3,400 innovative ideas", said Thomas Schmall, member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Passenger Cars with responsibility for Components.

In his speech, Dr. Josef Baumert, member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles with responsibility for Production and Logistics, said: "I am thrilled to see so many ideas still rolling in for ‘Think Blue. Factory.' after so many years. It is not always just the big investments that take us forward, it is also the organizational changes along with other small elements and ideas. We must not lose sight of that. Just because we are in a position to meet our goal for 2018 of reducing energy and water consumption as well as waste, CO2 and solvent emissions by 25%, that does not mean we can afford to sit back and relax." His call to participants at the event was: "The environment needs your ideas, we need your continued commitment." Energy consumption at the Hanover plant in 2014 was the lowest in ten years – even though the production level increased. Energy technology is being completely modernized under the "New Future-oriented Assembly" construction program.

"When it comes to optimum resource efficiency in production, our colleagues have the necessary experience, the technical expertise and the competence. Their inventiveness has been constant proof of that. The workforce knows that making production as environmentally compatible as possible is a competitive factor and thus helps safeguard jobs. That is why we will not let up and will continue to drive the environmental program forward", Works Council Coordinator Jürgen Hildebrandt said.

At the fourth "Think Blue. Factory." day, representatives from all Volkswagen sites presented their ideas and the measures they have already implemented to reduce the use of resources. The Wolfsburg plant, for example, uses an energy management system+ which analyzes current energy consumption levels and identifies energy-saving potential. A team at the engine plant in Chemnitz is working on how to save power effectively at weekends and is continuously optimizing shut-down schedules. Volkswagen Bratislava has achieved a significant reduction in solvent emissions from the paint shop by using a special rinsing agent. The Emden, Polkowice, Hanover, Kassel and Pune plants are focusing on energy recovery. The Volkswagen foundry in Hanover uses waste heat from the cooling system in various applications such as heating offices in winter or to heat up drinking water.

This year, Volkswagen also honored the personal engagement of employees who have shown outstanding commitment to the conservation of resources. The entire logistics team in Chattanooga (USA) promoted measures such as the use of fuel cells for materials transport as well as the recycling of paper and plastic, while Vojtech Kiss from Bratislava (Slovakia) turned his attention to recycling water from washing units. At the Kassel plant, Michael Scholz organizes energy and environmental workshops and is closely involved in measures such as introducing energy and environment labels to optimize the efficiency of machine shut-downs.