A Conversation with the Volvo Group

Digging deep into Volvo Group's Commitment to the Environment
It may come as a bit of surprise that a truck manufacturer is passionate about the environment, but the Volvo Group, a Piedmont Earth Day Fair Green Sponsor, believes in setting an example as an industry leader in corporate environmental stewardship. We sat down with Rick Robinson, Director of Health, Safety & Environment for the Volvo Group in the United States, to talk about how and why the company chooses to take stand for the future of our planet.
 
As a part of the transportation industry, the Volvo Group takes its responsibility for sustainability and environmental care pretty seriously. What are some important ways the company addresses this goal in the United States?
 
RR: We realize we’re part of the problem as it relates to how our products and operations impact the environment, but it is the Volvo Group’s ambition to be part of the solution. We follow the triple bottom line – People, Planet, Profit – framework to ensure we “walk the talk” when it comes to our core value of “environmental care.” Practically, this means the Volvo Group participates in a number of voluntary governmental and nongovernmental programs, such as the World Wildlife Fund Climate Savers program, the Environmental Defense Fund Climate Corps Program, and the Department of Energy Better Buildings, Better Plants program. In addition, three of our largest operations, which make up greater than 85 percent of the energy footprint among our facilities in the U.S., are certified ISO 50001 Energy Management System/Superior Energy Performance. Through these programs, we’ve reduced energy and carbon emissions from our operations and trucks, identified and implemented energy-saving opportunities in our facilities, and reduced energy consumption at our factories by 25 percent, five years ahead of our original target. We’re now working on a new goal of 25 percent more in energy savings by 2024.

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The Mack Trucks plant in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley achieved its second U.S. Department of Energy Superior Energy Performance program platinum certification by improving its energy performance by 31.5% over 10 years.

Through our Volvo Group Energy Network North America, we implemented a “Learning by Doing” model, which allows us to share best practices with plants within the Volvo Group in North America. And our largest facility in the U.S. is certified as a Zero-Waste-to-Landfill facility, which gives employees the chance to be involved on a personal level.

Beyond the work we do in our facilities, we also look to the product side of the equation, participating in programs like the Department of Energy’s SuperTruck program, innovating to improve the efficiency of our current engines and exploring alternative fuels for the future.

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Volvo’s SuperTruck achieved a freight efficiency improvement of 88%, exceeding the 50% improvement goal set by the U.S. Department of Energy program.

 

How is the Volvo Group able to be a part of sustainability locally in the Piedmont?
 
RR: We feel it’s important to be good environmental stewards locally as well as globally. We do this through sponsoring events like the Piedmont Earth Day Fair, partnering with various organizations such as the U.S. Green Building Council NC, and, new this year, offering employees free memberships to the Nature Conservancy.
 
Come visit the Volvo Group display at the Earth Day Fair on April 22, 2017, at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds to learn more about the company’s commitment to the environment. A Mack truck and a Volvo truck will be on display to visually demonstrate our commitment to a more sustainable future.