(from left): Daniela Cavallo, Matthias Müller, Angela Kaspar, Frank Witter, Dr. Karlheinz Blessing, As Sy, Stephan Wolf, Connie Hedegaard, Bernd Osterloh, Michael Sommer, Gesche Joost, Georg Kell, Margo T. Oge, Prof. Dr. Gertrude Lübbe-Wolff, Prof. Dr. Otmar Edenhofer, Hiltrud Werner, Yves Leterme. DB2017AL00102 / Source: Volkswagen AG
The Sustainability Council, put in place by the Volkswagen Group and made up of international experts, looked in its second meeting at central aspects of the Group's work. After viewing the production facilities at the headquarter in Wolfsburg, the focus was on an exchange of information and initial internal deliberations on the issues of sustainability management and climate protection. Chairman of the Board of Management, Matthias Müller, and other board members provided information on the Group's realignment and on progress with integrity management. Chairman of the Works Council, Bernd Osterloh, and other works council members provided an insight into important social aspects of sustainability from the point of view of the workforce. The members of the Sustainability Council also met the Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Hans Dieter Pötsch, for informal discussions. Concluding the meeting, representatives of the Group brands provided an extensive insight into their respective sustainability programs.
The Volkswagen Group's Sustainability Council was created in autumn 2016, partially in reaction to the diesel crisis. It advises the company on the issues of sustainable mobility, environmental protection, social responsibility, integrity, the future of work and digitization. The nine internationally renowned members of the Council are drawn from the worlds of research, academia, science and politics. They operate independently, are not bound by any directives and have far-reaching rights in respect of information, consultation and acting on their own initiative. For the funding of its own projects, the Volkswagen Group is proactively making €20 million available to the Council for the first two years.
Matthias Müller, Chairman of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen Group, said after the meeting in Wolfsburg: "Our intention is that the recommendations of the Sustainability Council will contribute to our employees, customers and the general public being able to regain trust in the company. Through our work together we aim to make the Group fitter for the future and to mold Volkswagen into a model company that has integrity, operates sustainably and is at the same time financially successful. There is no doubt about it that from today's perspective that is an ambitious aim. However, the first steps towards it have now been taken."
Georg Kell, Founding Director of UN Global Compact and Chairman of the Sustainability Council, emphasized: "This meeting was an intensive continuation of the very open and constructive discussion with the Group representatives that we began last October. It was important to all Council members to get a good insight into the status of work being done on currently hot issues and into the Group's vision for the future before we begin working up concrete recommendations and programs. The differing viewpoints from the workforce, the Group management, the Supervisory Board and the brands were very important to us here."
Bernd Osterloh, Chairman of the Group and General Works Council, commented: "The social aspects of sustainability, in particular, are of enormous importance to the workforce at Volkswagen and to us as the Works Council. Equal opportunities, education, strengthening social values and supporting disadvantaged people in all situations of life are our main focus here. Many thousands of colleagues also work as volunteers on all sorts of different social projects for the good of society and the environment. They make an important contribution in this way to strengthening society, including outside of the factory gates."
Hans Dieter Pötsch, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Volkswagen AG, said after the meeting with the Sustainability Council: "To bring economic, ecological and social objectives into harmony is the challenge for all players in society. That will only succeed if business, politicians, and society at large work together hand in hand without any blinkered thinking. Over the coming years, it will additionally be the number one corporate objective for Volkswagen to win back the trust of our stakeholders. We can only achieve this if we give convincing answers on all issues of sustainability. Along with this journey, the Supervisory Board is hoping for ideas and proposals from the Sustainability Council."
Within a matter of weeks, the Group Sustainability Council will convene for a private meeting, in which it will be working up the initial key points for programs on climate protection and sustainability management.
Note: Further information about the members of the Group Sustainability Council is available at https://www.volkswagenag.com/en/sustainability/sustainability-council.html.