By 2025, the Swedish car maker is aiming for 25 per cent of the material in new Volvo cars to consist of recycled and bio-based content. This is part of a long-term plan to make the company a ‘fully circular' business by 2040. As part of its climate action plans, Volvo will also be pushing its immediate suppliers to use 100 per cent renewable energy by 2025. This path begins with the removal of leather products from its electric vehicles with immediate effect.
With a right hand drive version promised for the UK near the start of 2022, the Volvo C40 will be a 100% leather-free, pure electric crossover vehicle. Alongside an environmentally healthier interior, the C40 also promises a full set of features like intelligent pixel lighting and a range/performance combination similar to the XC40 we reviewed back in May.
The company’s move towards leather-free interiors is also driven by a concern about the negative environmental impacts of cattle farming, including deforestation. Livestock is estimated to be responsible for around 14% of global greenhouse gas emissions from human activity, with the majority coming from cattle farming.
With the C40 and other future models, Volvo will offer its customers alternatives such as high-quality sustainable materials made from bio-based and recycled sources.
For example, Nordico, a new interior material created by Volvo Cars, will consist of textiles made from recycled material such as PET bottles, bio-attributed material from sustainable forests in Sweden and Finland, and corks recycled from the wine industry – setting a new standard for premium interior design. This material will make its debut in the next generation of Volvo models.
Instead of leather interior options, Volvo Cars will offer its customers sustainable alternatives, including Nordico. By using textiles made from recycled bottles, bio-attributed material from sustainable forests in Sweden and Finland as well as corks that have been recycled from the wine industry, Volvo hopes to set new standards for premium interior design.
Volvo promises to continue to offer wool blend options – as long as suppliers can show that they have been certified to source responsibly and with full traceability along the supply chain.
Being a progressive car maker means we need to address all areas of sustainability, not just CO2 emissions,” said Stuart Templar, Director of Global Sustainability at Volvo Cars. “Responsible sourcing is an important part of that work, including respect for animal welfare. Going leather-free inside our pure electric cars is a good next step towards addressing this issue.”
Volvo Cars is also looking to reduce the use of residual products from livestock production commonly used within or in the production of plastics, rubber, lubricants and adhesives, either as part of the material or as a process chemical in the material’s production or treatment.
“Finding products and materials that support animal welfare will be challenging, but that is no reason to avoid this important issue,” said Stuart Templar. “This is a journey worth taking. Having a truly progressive and sustainable mindset means we need to ask ourselves difficult questions and actively try to find answers.”