From Chattanooga to Beijing, from Audi to Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles: with Earth Day on 22 April just around the corner, the twelve brands of the Volkswagen Group and their 660,000 employees are preparing to make a strong statement. At the #Project1Hour, they will interrupt their work for one hour to learn together about climate protection and develop concrete improvements.
The Volkswagen Group has made a clear commitment to the Paris climate agreement. The company aims to be carbon-neutral in balance sheet terms by 2050. To achieve this, Volkswagen is focusing on the electrification of its products and CO2 reduction from the supply chain to recycling.
But climate protection also depends on individual contributions. That’s why Volkswagen Group employees around the world will be stopping work for an hour on Earth Day to get further information about the world climate, determine their own carbon footprint and decide on personal climate protection measures.
Whether it’s saving energy at the workplace or at home, choosing the most climate-friendly travel option on business trips or reducing their own meat consumption – all employees can contribute to combating climate change. The concrete suggestions for climate protection at the workplace will be collected by Volkswagen Group Strategy and subsequently implemented wherever possible.
Dr. Herbert Diess, CEO of Volkswagen Group, explains the idea behind #Project1Hour: “Volkswagen has made a clear commitment to climate protection with its strategy and the design of its product portfolio. As a company, we are making good progress toward offering completely CO2-free mobility by 2050 at the latest. We still see a lot of potential in internal processes, our many organizational units and in individual behaviour to exemplify our corporate strategy and accelerate CO2 reduction. In #Project1Hour, 660,000 employees are taking the time to think about how they can advance climate protection in their environment. I look forward to receiving many suggestions from our sites around the world to accelerate our climate protection activities even more.”
The Chairman of the Group Works Council, Bernd Osterloh, is also taking an hour on 22 April to figure out his personal carbon footprint and support #Project1Hour: “We only have this one earth. And it is up to us to protect it – for ourselves and for generations to come. That’s why on 22 April, we are all called upon to engage with this topic even more intensively. We will only succeed in achieving sustainability and climate protection through solidarity. Just as it is written in our Group Principles: ‘together unbeatable’. For us as employees in the automotive industry, commitment to the environment and climate is not just important in this one hour. It is a question of our future viability. The #Project1Hour is therefore an opportunity to show the strength of our values: with diversity, cohesion, courage and determination, we make a difference.”
Georg Kell, spokesman for the independent Volkswagen Sustainability Council, adds: “660,000 employees worldwide make this perhaps the largest employee action for climate protection in industrial history. But it’s not about wanting to be better, bigger, more important than others. It’s about seeing ourselves as part of a global community of responsibility. A community in which every company and every individual makes their contribution to limiting the ecological consequences of climate change.”
The #Project1Hour is accompanied by various campaigns at the sites. To name just a few examples: at the Volkswagen plant in Wolfsburg, a large banner at the power plant and an electric car parade will draw attention to the project. Volkswagen South Africa replants the Volkswagen brand logo with 45-meter diameter porkbush plants that are particularly CO2-absorbent. The Audi team in Brussels is also creating a new green space on the plant premises, while their colleagues in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm are called upon to take part in a plogging campaign to mark Earth Day – they collect garbage while jogging. SEAT in Martorell is stopping the assembly lines for #Project1Hour. At MAN Bus in Starachowice, employees can hand in old electrical devices at the factory gate and receive a tree plant in return. At Ducati, employees discuss with climate expert and Nobel Peace Prize Winner Riccardo Valentini in a virtual town hall. In some plants, the #Project1Hour will not take place on 22 April due to short-time work, but will be held at a later date.
In preparation for the day, employees from many brands and regions around the world have submitted short films that will be broadcast on the Group’s global social media channels on 22 April as a joint commitment to climate protection. In addition, many employees will also report on their private climate goal during the day under the hashtag #Project1Hour.
The Volkswagen Group is combining its #Project1Hour with international Earth Day on 22 April. Earth Day was launched in 1970 in the USA and is marked each year on 22 April. Since it was first held over 50 years ago, it has become a popular environmental movement around the world. On the very first Earth Day, 20 million people were involved in activities. Nowadays, that figure stands at over 200 million. The earthly event features a wide range of campaigns and activities, dealing with the broad spectrum of environmental and climate protection. It is also committed to working together to find sustainable solutions to environmental and climate issues. The motto for this year’s international Earth Day is “Restore our earth”.