The Life Cycle of a Car – Environmental

The Life Cycle of a Car – Environmental
Commendations Document Progress
Always One Step Ahead
Volkswagen’s goal in the next few years is to become not only the most successful
but also the most eco-friendly automobile manufacturer in the world.
It’s not that we’ve just discovered environmental protection at
impact was what came out of the exhaust pipe. But those days
Volkswagen – on the contrary: as long ago as 1947 we had already
are long gone. Today we need to consider the entire life cycle of
introduced systematic product recycling. It just went by a different
the vehicle. Because if you’re going to develop targeted innova­
name back then. We called it the remanufacturing – some say re­
tions, you first have to know where, along the whole life cycle,
conditioning – of used parts. Today it’s standard practice for every
improvements are going to have maximum effect. This is where
Volkswagen plant around the world and for our Technical Devel­
Life Cycle Assessments come in.
opment department to have a certified Environmental Manage­
ment System in place. And needless to say, to ensure that we reach
In these Life Cycle Assessments or LCAs for short, we analyse
our goal, our cars too represent a high environmental standard. But
the creation of new vehicles and drivetrains, components and
for a long time now, Volkswagen has been going one step further...
materials from the initial design sketch via their production and
service life, all the way to recycling. That way, even our produc­
Our environmental activities start well before a car goes into pro­
tion processes come under the environmental microscope before
duction. For many years, the only measure of a car’s environmental
we use them. To make at least part of these efforts visible for our
Environmental Commendations
“We can assess everything”
Günter Damme, Head of Environment, Volkswagen Group talks
about Life Cycle Assessments
Günter Damme, what benefits do Life Cycle Assessments bring?
“The topic of environmental protection has long since become firmly anchored
at Volkswagen. The aim of creating new products that are better than their
predecessors is a permanent fixture. And the Technical Development department has always been tasked with ensuring that this is the case. By drawing up
Life Cycle Assessments we have made it possible to analyse the entire process
from start to finish. They also show us where there is room for improvement.
Why did we introduce LCAs in the first place? Because they tell us whether the
measures we take actually lead us in the right direction.”
And what are the drawbacks to a Life Cycle Assessment?
“Like the benefits, the drawbacks relate to the interpretation of the findings. It’s
always a question of deciding what is more important: water consumption or
CO2 emissions or soil acidification... That’s very difficult and I think it’s an aspect
we can improve on. If we go a step further and include other aspects in Life
Cycle Assessments – financial or social aspects, for example – then we have to
define comparable metrics for these as well. That’s the challenge facing LCAs.”
Are there any processes or technologies for which an LCA cannot be drawn
up, or only to a limited extent?
“For everything that happens within Volkswagen we can draw up an LCA. I’m
not aware of anything at all where it wouldn’t work. It’s just a question of the
degree of difficulty. Things only get critical when we add-in something from the
outside, where we’re not familiar with the production process, or when we’re
dealing with technologies that are still in the early stages of development and
the database is still inadequate. When that is the case, we use LCAs as environmental management tools. They can help us deduce, for example, how much
energy the production process can consume, if the product is going to represent
progress in ecological terms as well.”
vidual models or technologies.
Can you imagine LCAs ever being prescribed by law?
“We know that legislators are thinking about such steps. The vital thing for us is
to make sure we are not caught napping. That’s why we’re already keeping an
eye on future developments, so that we’re well prepared and can perhaps even
help shape the process. Politicians are keen on using such instruments. If legal
requirements and threshold values don’t deliver the required progress, the next
step for them could be to try using LCAs. But LCAs should not be misused for
such purposes.”
Today, LCAs are not only a proven envi­
customers, we issue what we call Environ­
mental Commendations. They document
the findings of the Life Cycle Assessments
– verified in each case by independent
experts – which we’ve drawn up for indi­
ronmental management tool but also an
important one; a tool that will ensure we
reach the goals set out in Volkswagen’s
Environmental Policy.
Can Life Cycle Assessments deliver even more in future?
“Let me put it this way: our ultimate goal is to deliver the optimum product in
ecological terms. And LCAs are a fine way of documenting the fact that we’re
on the right road.”
Will LCAs one day shape the future of mobility?
“I don’t think LCAs will ever displace the power of the market.”
Environmental Commendations
Everyone Needs Good Guidance
In 1995, Volkswagen replaced its original Environmental Guidelines
with a Corporate Environmental Policy.
As practical implementation of this policy can only be achieved
In the preamble, it says:
through ongoing dialogue with the workforce and its represent­
Volkswagen develops, manufactures and markets motor vehicles
atives, a “Factory Agreement on Environmental Protection”
worldwide with the aim of safeguarding personal mobility. The
was also concluded with the Company Works Council. The En­
company accepts responsibility for the continuous improvement
vironmental Policy of the Volkswagen Group laid down in 1995
of the environmental compatibility of its products and for the
continues to provide the framework for the environmental ac­
increasingly conservative use of natural resources and energy,
tivities of Volkswagen and the other Group brands and companies,
with due regard to economic aspects. Accordingly, the company
such as Audi, Lamborghini, Skoda or the Volkswagen Bank.
makes environmentally efficient, advanced technology available
Environmental Commendations
Basic Principles
1. It is the declared aim of Volkswagen in all its activities to restrict the
environmental impact to a minimum and to make its own contribution
to resolving environmental problems at regional and global level.
2. It is Volkswagen‘s aim to offer high-quality automobiles which take
equal account of the expectations of its customers with regard to environmental compatibility, economy, safety, quality and comfort.
3. In order to safeguard the long term future of the company and enhance
its competitive position, Volkswagen is researching into and developing
ecologically efficient products, processes and concepts for personal
4. Those responsible for environmental management at Volkswagen shall,
on the basis of the company‘s Environmental Policy, ensure that in
conjunction with suppliers, service providers, retailers and recycling
companies, the environmental compatibility of its vehicles and pro­
duction plants is subject to a process of continuous improvement.
5. The Volkswagen Board of Management shall, at regular intervals,
check that the company’s environmental policy and objectives are
being observed and that the Environmental Management System is
working properly. This shall include evaluation of the recorded environmentally relevant data.
6. Providing frank and clear information and entering into dialogue with
customers, dealers and the public is a matter of course for Volkswagen.
Cooperation with policy-makers and the authorities is based on a fundamentally proactive approach founded on mutual trust and includes
provision for emergencies at each production site.
worldwide and brings this technology to
bear over the full life cycle of its products.
At all its corporate locations, Volkswagen
works hand-in-hand with society and
policy-makers to shape a development
process that will bring sustainable social
7. In keeping with their duties, all Volkswagen employees are informed,
trained and motivated in respect of environmental protection. They are
under obligation to implement these principles and to comply with
statutory provisions and official regulations as these apply to their respective activities.
and ecological benefits.
Environmental Commendations
The Goal Is: Be Better than Before
The Environmental Objectives of the Technical Development department help set Volkswagen apart from
the competition to the benefit of its customers.
For a long time now, Volkswagen has assigned absolute priority to the environmental
impacts of its vehicles. With this in mind, we have defined goals designed to ensure
the sustainable development and production of our models. These form part of
the environmental strategy of the Volkswagen brand and serve as guidelines for all
regions, worldwide.
The Environmental Objectives concern three focus areas:
1. Climate protection
Volkswagen is striving to reduce the fuel consumption of its vehicles and the
related greenhouse gas emissions. Through these measures and by supporting
fuel-efficient styles of driving, we aim to make a significant contribution to
climate protection.
2. Resource conservation
A conservative approach to the use of resources is prescribed across the Group.
The key focal points here are to ensure the high recyclability of the materials
used and to use renewable and secondary raw materials. We also develop
and make available alternative powertrain technologies that enable the use of
alternative fuels and other energy storage systems, in line with regional circumstances.
3. Healthcare
The aim here is to further reduce the exhaust and interior emissions of our vehicles and cut exterior and interior noise levels. In addition, we aim to avoid the
use of hazardous materials and pollutants, wherever possible in accordance
with the most stringent materials legislation in the world.
Volkswagen’s objective is to develop each model in such a way that, in its entirety, it
presents better environmental properties than a comparable predecessor. The ongo­
ing improvement of our vehicle fleet in terms of environmental impacts and re­
Environmental Objectives
of the Technical Development department of the Volkswagen brand
To attain the highest possible environmental objectives, the Technical Development
department is intensifying the continuous improvement of Volkswagen products in respect of
environmental compatibility and resource conservation. Our activities and processes are
designed for sustainability and to ease the load on the environment. In this way we aim to live
up to our responsibilities towards our customers, society and the environment.
In line with this approach, we have derived the following objectives:
1. Climate protection
• reduce greenhouse gas emissions
• reduce fuel consumption in the driving cycle and over the
vehicle’s service life with the customer
• be fuel-efficiency leader in each class of vehicle
• support fuel-efficient styles of driving
• contribute to/assess eco-compatible traffic management
2. Resource conservation • improve resource efficiency
• pursue best possible recyclability and identification of the
materials used
• use renewable and secondary raw materials
• develop and make available alternative powertrain
• enable the use of alternative fuels
3. Healthcare
reduce regulated and non-regulated emissions
avoid the use of hazardous and harmful materials
minimise interior emissions including odours
attain best possible exterior and interior noise levels
In future, we will develop each model in such a way that, in its entirety, it presents better
environmental properties than its predecessor. As we do so, we will always make sure that the
entire life cycle is taken into account during the development of our products.
The environmental objectives set out above also serve to differentiate us from the competition
to the benefit of our customers.
source conservation forms part of Volkswagen’s corporate policy, reflecting our
In addition, we aim to place selected models in various environmental rankings.
awareness of our responsibility towards customers, society and the environment.
18 July 2007
Member of the Board of Management
Volkswagen Brand
Environmental Commendations
Environment Officer, Product
Volkswagen Brand
Focus on healthcare
We’re running our own healthcare reform
For Volkswagen, healthcare means cutting emissions, avoiding the use of hazardous substances and pollutants, minimising interior emissions and reducing interior and exterior noise
levels. All our models outperform the emission thresholds laid
down in the Euro 5 exhaust standard. Some already undercut
the target levels for Euro 6. Engine downsizing and
locating catalytic converters close to the engine reduce
harmful emissions from our TSI engines. And in the
interior, we avoid using types of plastic that give off
Focus on resource conservation
Focus on climate protection
There’s only one Planet Earth
For Volkswagen, resource conservation means improving resource efficiency, targeting the best possible recyclability by
exploiting the latest recycling technologies, and using renewable raw materials. That’s why, for example, we use long-life
oil in our cars and fit long-life light bulbs, install maintenancefree oil particulate filters and dispense with hydraulic fluid by
using electromechanical power steering systems. The pollen,
air and oil filters in our cars are mostly made of paper and in
the Golf, for example, cotton alone accounts for 5.6 kilos of
raw material. In all, secondary raw materials today make up
40 percent of a vehicle by weight, and 95 percent of those
materials are metals.
It’s quite warm enough
For Volkswagen, climate protection means cutting fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by offering our
BlueMotionTechnologies in every model series, forging ahead
with downsizing our TDI and TSI engines and reducing drag
and friction – for example by designing more aerodynamic
bodywork and using low-rolling-resistance tyres. We also
drive forward lightweight design by using weight-saving
materials such as plastics, aluminium or magnesium, and
innovative production processes such as hot stamping.
Environmental Commendations
Mastering the Material Mix
To arrive at vehicles and technologies that present better environmental properties
than their comparable predecessors, Volkswagen puts its faith in Design for
Design for Environment starts at the very beginning of the prod­
consumption and which materials are particularly hard to recycle.
uct creation process, which is to say in the Technical Development
Among the key considerations here are weight reduction, opti­
department (TE) of the Volkswagen brand. But what exactly do
mum aerodynamic drag, material segregation, and the number
we mean by Design for Environment and how do we set about
of different parts. So we analyse and evaluate our current mod­
designing something with the environment in mind? To achieve
els and components and look at which parts or assemblies have
our goal of being “better than before” TE defined a set of Envi­
already proved themselves and how we can further improve them.
ronmental Goals for itself. These goals are subject to ongoing
Where can we make something lighter, for example, without im­
review and are regularly brought into line with the latest envi­
pacting on safety? Or how can we make use of renewable raw
ronmental legislation, regulations and voluntary commitments.
materials without impairing durability or functionality? Or which
material mix can we use without encountering processing prob­
When we are about to start planning a new model, the rule is
lems? There are so many factors to consider.
that the new arrival must consume less fuel and generate lower
emissions than the current model. Its production must consume
Our development engineers are assisted here by a large number
less raw materials and its components must be at least 95 per­
of controlling and computing tools that place an immense vol­
cent recoverable. Given their knowledge of the past 100 years
ume of data at their disposal. With the aid of these data, we
and more of automobile manufacturing, our engineers are
design parts, modules or whole vehicles and simulate their
well aware of which factors have the biggest impact on fuel
properties and behaviour in the widest variety of challenging
conditions. Needless to say, our engineers also make use of the
Environmental Commendations
“We need to look outside the box”
Design for Environment is above all a question of the necessary expertise and qualified personnel. We discussed the
subject with Cornelia Wiedemann, Head of Product Planning
Mid-Fullsize, and Dr. Alexander Wittmaier, Head of Wind
Tunnel and Aerodynamics at Volkswagen.
What requirements does Design for Environment (DfE) have to meet?
Wittmaier: “We aim to focus on the future. What kind of vehicles will our customers want to drive in 10-15 years’ time? How can we make car bodies more
aerodynamic? Or what will a recycling plant look like 20 years from now? Our
customers want cars that are quiet and safe, but that will also get them around
fast. They also need to be fuel-efficient, have minimum impact on the environment and be affordable. Then you have to consider that the requirements for,
say, Brazil and Sweden are going to be different: on the one hand you’re dealing with heat and humidity and on the other with freezing cold temperatures.”
Wiedemann: “That’s why we’ve defined a process that starts five years before
the scheduled product launch with our very first thoughts and ideas about the
new model. With the aim of ensuring environmentally compatible product design we draw up product specifications from three different viewpoints: market,
technology and profitability. We use these specifications to derive fields of action, which we then work our way through together with the business units in a
simultaneous engineering approach that spans the five-year period leading up
to the launch of the car.”
How does Volkswagen ensure it continues to attract and retain qualified
staff for Design for Environment?
latest scientific findings and the state of
the engineering art. Among other things,
they draw on Life Cycle Assessments
(LCAs). LCAs clearly and unerringly docu­
ment many properties of materials and
ingredients. As a result, we are able to se­
lect components and production processes
that benefit the environment for the devel­
opment and production of our vehicles.
All of these factors are flowed into the
development of a new vehicle. They help
make engines more economical and qui­
eter, chassis lighter and bodywork more
Wittmaier: “We stay in close touch with the universities and keep them informed
of our current needs. Volkswagen offers students internships and work-experience
semesters so they can acquire some initial experience of working in the auto industry. We also set up programmes like StiP, an integrated degree and training
scheme. This involves students undergoing training at Volkswagen in parallel with
a course of study at Ostfalia University of Applied Sciences. They gain insights
into the world of work and into the company, and we give them regular feedback.”
Wiedemann: “We also make use of bonding, though job fairs, for example. At
these events we’re in direct contact with the students and can offer them the
chance to write their dissertation or thesis at the company or maybe even discuss
direct entry. We deliberately push the company at these fairs. But returning to
DfE, there are other, related topics that also impact on product design for us –
like what will the traffic scenario of the future look like? And what solutions
does the automobile industry have to offer? We really need to look outside the
box, here.
aerodynamic. To find out exactly which
environmentally compatible technologies
have gone into the latest Volkswagen mod­
els, turn to pages 10 and 11.
Environmental Commendations
Fuel-saving measures on the Passat BlueMotion
Every Volkswagen comes with a wide range of features designed
to reduce environmental impacts to a minimum. They include
high-efficiency engines and gearboxes, aerodynamic body
design and the use of innovative materials and components.
Multifunction display with gear recommendation
The intelligent engine management system helps the driver
select the most efficient gear for the current driving situation –
the recommended ratio is shown in the multifunction display.
Start/stop system
The engine switches off automatically whenever the vehicle
comes to a standstill and the
driver shifts into neutral. To move
away again, the driver simply
dips the clutch and the engine
restarts automatically. The start/
stop system can be deactivated
by pressing a button on the centre console.
Higher gear ratios
The manual gearboxes in the BlueMotion and BlueMotion Technology models have optimised gear ratios
for improved fuel economy.
Environmental Commendations
Optimised aerodynamics
The optimised aerodynamics of the BlueMotion models improve airflow and have
significant benefits for fuel economy. The
specially designed underbody tray, for example, helps cut drag. The aerodynamics are
also enhanced by spoiler lips on the boot
lid and forward of the rear wheel arches,
a specially channeled airflow to the radiator
grille, enhanced airflow to the brakes, and
breakaway lips on the tail lights.
Efficiency-optimised electric modules
Permanent electrical consumers like the Traffic Information Memory, the anti-theft alarm or the radio remote
control system draw less idle current from the battery.
Braking energy recovery
(regenerative braking)
The alternator converts the energy produced when braking or on overrun into electricity, which is stored in the battery. This
electricity is used later on to supply electrical
consumers – reducing the amount of power
that would otherwise have to be taken away
from the engine to run the alternator.
Long-life components
These include long-life and LED lights and maintenance-free particulate filters and catalytic converters.
Low rolling-resistance tyres
Low rolling-resistance tyres reduce fuel
consumption and therefore CO2 emissions –
without compromising safety.
Environmental Commendations
Focus on the Full Story
What is the full extent of the environmental impact of a car? And which phases of
its life cycle contribute the most? Life Cycle
Assessments help Volkswagen deliver the
right answers.
Extraction and production
of materials
In our efforts to keep the environmental impact of our products
to a minimum, we look at every aspect of their life cycle. We
analyse the development and evolution of new vehicles, com­
ponents and materials in detail, from the first ideas and design
sketches, through the manufacturing and service life phases to
final disposal.
Reduced emissions and fuel-saving measures are good as far as
they go, but in today’s world sustainable mobility demands a
much broader approach. After all, environmental impacts are
not just produced while driving. Long before the vehicle ever
hits the road, raw materials must first be extracted, and compo­
nents must be manufactured.
Intelligent production
Raw materials production, vehicle manufacturing and end-of-
The “life” of a car begins long before it first takes to the road.
life disposal all have impacts on society and the environment.
The first step in the cycle is the development stage, when the
Because in all these phases, energy and resources are consumed
engineers decide which innovative technologies – such as intel­
and emissions are released into the atmosphere, the soil and
ligent materials or fuel-efficient powertrains – to fit in the future
water. This is why, when we develop a new product, one of the
vehicle. The manufacturing phase, too, starts long before the
first things Volkswagen thinks about is how the materials can be
“marriage” of the engine and body on the assembly line.
recycled and reutilised at the end of the product’s useful life –
for example as a secondary raw material for use in new products.
In a Volkswagen Life Cycle Assessment, the “manufacturing
phase” takes into account not only in-house vehicle manufac­
Just how important it is to look at the “full story” when assessing
turing operations but also all those operations which take place
a vehicle’s environmental impacts becomes clear when we con­
upstream of Volkswagen’s own factories. Because before a car
sider that emissions are produced at every stage in the product’s
can be built, raw materials such as iron ore, sand and petroleum
life cycle, be it manufacturing, the service life or recycling. Of
must first be extracted from the earth. Some of these materials
course, the impacts of the different phases vary widely. For ex­
are then processed into the steel and aluminium from which
ample, while the bulk of carbon dioxide emissions – almost
the vehicle bodywork and engine components will be made;
three quarters of total life cycle CO2 emissions, to be precise –
others are processed into plastics, glass and rubber. At all these
are generated during the vehicle’s service life, emissions of this
stages energy is consumed, which also results in emissions.
greenhouse gas at the recycling stage are negligible.
Further energy – transport energy – is then consumed when
these raw materials and components are shipped by road and
rail to Volkswagen from our many suppliers. All these journeys
consume fuel and electricity, and produce emissions.
Environmental Commendations
Vehicle manufacturing
Service life
How much fuel a new car consumes will depend above all on
them. This, in turn, means that less energy is consumed at the
its weight, and on external resistances such as aerodynamic
steel manufacturing stage. What’s more, these components are
drag. These are factors that Volkswagen can influence by appro­
lighter than their conventional counterparts, which reduces the
priate styling, choice of materials and construction methods.
weight of the vehicle body and thus saves fuel on every trip.
Aerodynamically designed bodywork for example can do a lot
to cut drag. The same goes for the use of new joining techniques,
or underbody trays specially designed to smooth under-car
Lightweight design, too, has an influence on environmental
performance throughout the product life cycle. To take one
example, many body components are produced using a hot
stamping process specially developed by Volkswagen. Although
this technique consumes more energy than conventional proc­
esses, thereby increasing CO2 emissions per vehicle at the
manufacturing stage, across the life cycle as a whole it actually
has net environmental benefits (see box).
The reason is because hot-stamped components are stronger
Improved environmental footprint: with hot stamping
Hot stamping of sheet metal components for the Passat uses
more energy than conventional stamping processes, increasing CO2 emissions by approximately 22 kilograms per vehicle
produced. However, due to the greater strength of hot-stamped
components, less steel is needed to produce them, resulting
in a weight saving per vehicle of approximately 20 kilograms – which automatically cuts fuel consumption. Using
hot-stamped steel reduces the total lifecycle CO2 emissions
of every Passat by an average of 174 kilograms compared
with the predecessor model.
than conventional ones, and so less steel is needed to produce
Environmental Commendations
It’s down to the driver, too
The biggest contributor to the total life cycle environmental
So it’s during the vehicle’s service life that the success of our
impact of a vehicle is its service life – while it’s out on the road.
Design for Environment measures is most apparent. But that’s
For a mid-sized vehicle, this phase accounts for almost three
not all, because this is the phase where drivers themselves have
quarters of total life cycle CO2 emissions. That’s over three
an opportunity to influence the environmental impact of their
times more than the manufacturing phase. Volkswagen cars
vehicle, for example by adopting a proactive and defensive style
normally show a big reduction in driving emissions between
of driving. Anybody can learn to drive in a more eco-friendly
current and predecessor models. The biggest improvements
way, simply by taking one of our fuel-saver courses. Under the
over outgoing models are achieved by our vehicles with Blue­
motto “Drive differently – the easy way to save fuel”, Volkswagen
stages these courses all over Germany in cooperation with
the German Society for Nature Conservation (NABU). Or
Volkswagen assumes an average lifetime mileage for its vehicles
you can check out our fuel-saving tips on the Internet, at
of 150,000 kilometres. Since this service life accounts for the larg­
est single fraction of the vehicle’s total life cycle carbon dioxide
emissions, it follows that any technological improvements affect­
Whenever Volkswagen succeeds in reducing the fuel consump­
ing this phase will have a correspondingly significant impact.
tion of its vehicles, it also automatically reduces the environ­
To put it another way, the most effective way to reduce total life
mental impacts upstream, at the fuel production and supply
cycle emissions is to reduce driving emissions. When we reduce
stage. Because if a vehicle consumes more fuel, then more crude
drag and improve engine efficiency, for example, we also ensure
oil has to be extracted and transported to the refineries, proc­
that the vehicle consumes less fuel and produces lower emissions.
essed into fuel and then transported by truck to the filling sta­
tions. The more fuel
the refineries have to
supply to the filling
stations, the more en­
ergy they consume
and the more waste
products they gener­
ate. So if we all do our
bit to reduce vehicle
fuel consumption, we
will also be helping to
reduce energy con­
sumption and emis­
sions at the fuel pro­
duction and supply
stage too.
Environmental Commendations
Much too good to scrap
Looking ahead and planning for the future is second nature to
pact comparison between the different life cycle phases
Volkswagen. Our responsibilities for vehicle-related environ­
shows that the recycling phase generates lower emissions than
mental protection don’t stop when our cars come to the end of
any other phase. CO2 emissions for this phase are negligible
their useful lives. Most components of an end-of-life vehicle
compared with total life cycle emissions, or with emissions for
can now be recovered. The VW Si-Con process, co-developed by
the service life and manufacturing phases.
Volkswagen, is a particularly impressive example of the resource
savings that can be achieved in this way. Thanks to this technique,
The VW SiCon process achieves an average reduction in envi­
shredder residues which were previously sent to landfill can now
ronmental impacts in the different impact categories of between
be turned into new raw materials. In 2006, this process won us
six and 29 percent over comparable recycling processes. Also,
the European Business Award for the Environment and the En­
the use of secondary raw materials in new components is a fur­
vironmental Award of the Federation of German Industry (BDI).
ther step towards minimising the overall life cycle environmen­
tal impact of Volkswagen’s vehicles and components. Of course,
So what exactly is the VW SiCon process and how does it work?
it goes without saying that components made from these mate­
For a start, this process enables us to recycle a full 95 percent of
rials must fulfil the same high Volkswagen quality standards as
a vehicle by weight. The end-of-life vehicle is first drained of
those made from primary raw materials. Thanks to our advances
fluids, then a range of components which are capable of being
in this field, in the sixth-generation Golf such secondary raw
recycled and used in new products, as so-called secondary raw
materials now make up around 40 percent of the vehicle by
materials, are removed. Any parts not subject to statutory end-
weight. 95 per cent of these materials are obtained from recy­
of-life dismantling requirements, or which cannot be cost-effec­
cled metals alone.
tively remanufactured
into replacement parts,
are put through the
Unlike conventional re­
cycling systems, the VW
SiCon recycling process
is also capable of ob­
taining secondary raw
materials from non-me­
tallic shredder residues.
A life cycle assessment
has shown that the VW
SiCon technique is al­
ways preferable from an
environmental point of
view to an approach
based on separate
removal of plastic com­
ponents. Incidentally,
an environmental im­
Environmental Commendations
Four Steps for the Environment
As we’ve seen, cars have an impact on the environment no matter whether they are out
on the road or not. So we never stop working to improve that environmental impact.
To help measure our progress, we formulated the Environmental
of all the individual phases – i.e. manufacturing, service life and
Goals of the Technical Development department at Volkswagen.
recycling – that we can arrive at an evaluation and compare dif­
In a word, every new model should have less impact on the en­
ferent vehicles and technologies.
vironment than its predecessor. With this in mind, we are boost­
ing the efficiency of our engines and developing advanced pro­
Our Life Cycle Assessments describe the environmental impacts
duction processes. And to check that we do indeed meet the
associated with a product precisely and quantifiably and thereby
environmental goals we set ourselves, we draw up complex Life
enable the more exact description of its environmental profile
Cycle Assessments.
based on comparable data. In each case, Volkswagen obtains a
certificate of validity from an independent certification body
The purpose of a Life Cycle Assessment – not just at Volkswagen –
(e.g. TÜV) to confirm that our Life Cycle Assessments are based
is to explain in detail all the data on energy consumption,
on reliable data and that the methods used to draw them up com­
emissions and the other environmental impacts generated dur­
ply with the requirements of the DIN EN ISO 14040 and 14044
ing the production of vehicles or technologies and/or during
related processes. It is only when we draw up an assessment
Life Cycle Inventory
Environmental impacts
omparison of envi­
ronmental profiles
There are four parts to each Life Cycle Assessment
We define the goal and the framework for the LCA.
– Which product or process is to be assessed?
– Which individual aspects are to be studied?
This is followed by a data collection process called
a Life Cycle Inventory.
– Which raw materials, energy forms and materials are
consumed for the product or process?
– What volume of emissions and waste are generated
during the entire product lifetime?
– What do the prevailing background conditions look
Environmental Commendations
We decide for which categories of environmental impact
the influences of the emissions and waste are to be analysed. What are the consequences for the environment
and where are they particularly intensive? And from this
we derive an environmental profile.
We compare the environmental profiles in terms of the
five environmental impact categories: global warming,
photochemical ozone creation, ozone depletion, acidification and eutrophication potential.
The data generated are used to create the Life Cycle Assessment with findings that are verified by independent
Life Cycle
Every last bolt is analysed
Life Cycle Assessments can be drawn up for just about any
Cycle (NEDC). In addition, we calculate the amount of energy
product or process. When we’ve decided, for example, which
consumed during the dismantling and/or recycling of the vehi­
vehicle we want to assess, the first step is to prepare a Life Cycle
cle parts. Together, all these calculations enable us to compute
Inventory. In other words we set about collecting all kinds of
all airborne and water-borne emissions, soil pollutants, waste
data – on every last component and process step.
and wastewater generated during the entire life cycle of the
As the word “inventory” suggests, a Life Cycle Inventory is all
about facts and figures. So we collect all the important facts
The data collection process is based on the vehicle parts lists,
over the entire life cycle of the vehicle and back them up with
material and weight information stored in the company’s own
figures. For each step in the process we determine the volume
Material Information System (MISS), technical datasheets and
of raw materials and energy that goes into its production and
drawings, as well as the threshold values for regulated emis­
the production of the fuel it requires. And we carry this process
sions in line with the current EU regulations. These are joined
over into the 150,000 kilometres that make up the vehicle’s
by processing-related data taken from the GaBi computer data­
assumed service life. The fuel consumption and the resultant
base or drawn up in conjunction with the production plants,
emissions of carbon dioxide during this phase are worked
suppliers or industrial partners.
out based on the legally prescribed New European Driving
Environmental Commendations
Making the impact on the climate visible
All emissions, waste and wastewater generated during the life­
time of a car impact on different aspects of the environment.
The greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2), for example, affects
the climate. Greenhouse gases promote the warming of the
Earth’s atmosphere by the sun’s rays, leading to a worldwide
increase in average temperatures and to climate change. This is
what’s known as global warming. So the amount of CO2 gener­
ated by a car, and not just while it’s out on the road, has a global
warming potential that can be precisely calculated. That’s why
global warming potential is one of the environmental impact
categories we consider. To arrive at a conclusion about the
potential environmental impacts of a particular vehicle, in the
second part of a Life Cycle Assessment – Life Cycle Impact As­
sessment – the various material flows from the manufacturing,
service life and recycling phases are assigned to the relevant
environmental impact categories. This involves defining an in­
dicator substance for each of these categories. Carbon dioxide
(CO2), for example, is the indicator substance for “global warming
potential”. Then all the other substances that also contribute
to global warming are converted to CO2 equivalents using what
are called equivalence factors (see box).
Along with global warming potential, we analyse four other en­
vironmental impact categories in our Life Cycle Assessments:
photochemical ozone creation potential (which impacts on local
air quality, not least in the form of summer smog), ozone deple­
What exactly are CO2 equivalents?
The indicator substance for the greenhouse effect is carbon
dioxide (CO2). All substances that contribute to the greenhouse effect are converted into CO2 equivalents through
an equivalence factor. Methane (CH4), for example, has
a greenhouse potential 25 times higher than CO2.
In concrete terms this means that the emission of 1 kg of
CO2 and 1 kg of CH4 leads to a net greenhouse effect
of 26 kg of CO2 equivalents. All emissions that contribute
to the greenhouse effect are measured in this way.
Environmental Commendations
tion potential (concerning depletion of ozone in the Earth’s at­
mosphere), and the acidification and eutrophication of water
and soil. Photochemical ozone creation potential describes the
formation of what are known as photooxidants, such as ozone,
which are formed from a variety of pollutants (e.g. HC, CO, NOx)
in conjunction with direct sunlight and can act as an irritant gas
for plants, animals and humans alike. Acidification potential
describes the impact of acidifying substances (e.g. SO2, NOx,)
on soil and water that can cause acid rain, for example, or fish
mortality. Each of these four environmental impact categories
also has its own indicator substance.
Comparison of
The goal simply must be attained
Once we have taken the entire life cycle of a car, component or
These data are presented for each of the models compared and
process into account, there can be only one outcome: the cur­
broken down by the three life cycle phases: manufacturing,
rent version is better than its predecessor. If that is not the case,
service life and recycling. In addition, for the service life of the
we continue to improve and refine until we reach that goal – in
vehicle we distinguish between the environmental impact of
the interests of the environment.
the fuel production and supply process and the direct driving
The results of the Life Cycle Assessment are depicted in the shape
of a material composition analysis, a Life Cycle Inventory and
The Life Cycle Inventory data enables us to depict the potential
a Life Cycle Impact Assessment for the product or process con­
impacts on the environment, comparing the environmental
cerned. The material composition analysis shows the materials
profiles of the respective vehicles for the five environmental
of which the car being studied is made up. The results of the
impact categories: global warming potential, photochemical
Life Cycle Inventory show which amounts of which emissions –
ozone creation potential, acidification potential, ozone deple­
e.g. carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO), sulphur
tion potential and eutrophication potential. We also compare
dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), hydrocarbons (NMVOC)
the environmental impacts over the entire life cycle and for
and methane (CH4) – are generated over the life cycle of the car.
each individual phase.
They also reveal how much primary energy was consumed.
Comparison of impacts on global warming potential
CO2 equivalents in t
Service life [150,000 km]
Diesel models
Petrol models
Current model A
Current model A
Current model B
Current model B
Environmental Commendations
A Lifetime Achievement Award
When a Life Cycle Assessment confirms that the vehicle, technology or process
analysed has met the defined environmental goals, then they qualify for an Environmental Commendation.
Through the Environmental Commendation, Volkswagen docu­
Each Environmental Commendation is based on a Life Cycle
ments ecological progress in a vehicle or technology compared
Assessment (LCA) in line with the detailed description set out
to its predecessor. Environmental Commendations provide our
on the preceding pages. Naturally enough, Volkswagen consid­
customers, shareholders and other stakeholders inside and out­
ers it important that the results achieved in the LCA should not
side the company with detailed information about how we are
only meet the environmental goals we set ourselves but should
making our vehicles, components and processes more environ­
also be verified and confirmed by independent experts. Because
mentally compatible and what we have achieved in this respect.
in addition to being transparent, readily comparable and verifi­
Along with facts and figures on the models and technologies
able, the findings and evaluations in the LCAs have to match
assessed, Environmental Commendations also include infor­
up to internationally recognised quality standards.
mation about key environmental activities at Volkswagen, such
as BlueMotionTechnologies, fuel-saver courses or new recycling
Procedures for a critical review of comparative LCAs are laid
processes, as well as about our Environmental Management
down in the ISO 14040 standard. This involves commissioning
System or the Volkswagen Fuel and Powertrain Strategy.
external experts who need to be familiar with the requirements
of an LCA and must command the appropriate scientific and
Environmental Commendations
technical competence. They are tasked with
determining whether or not the LCA meets
the requirements in terms of methodology,
data collection, evaluation and reporting,
and complies with the prescribed principles.
As a rule, the Life Cycle Assessments of our
vehicles and processes are verified by external experts from
from the chemical, motor vehicle and automotive supplier
the German technical inspectorate TÜV, an organisation that
sectors, as well as companies from energy-intensive branches
stands for independent critical reviews, competence and re­
of industry.
spectability, as well as enjoying broad-based acceptance in the
fields of politics and business, and in society at large. In addi­
tion, the auditors from TÜV conduct such verifications of LCAs
not only for Volkswagen but also for other companies, mainly­
Environmental Commendations
Every One of Us Can Help
As the Life Cycle Assessments we’ve drawn up for our vehicles clearly prove, a car
makes its biggest impact on the environment when it’s out on the road.
While Volkswagen continues to invest heavily in making its
But there’s more to Think Blue. than that: it stands for the
cars even more fuel-efficient, every single driver can reduce
core values of the Volkswagen brand – “innovative”, “provi-
his or her environmental footprint by relatively simple means.
ding enduring value” and “responsible”. Think Blue. is also
Because one third of the fuel consumption of a car can be
about involving our customers in our activities themed around
influenced by an intelligent approach to driving – simply by
an ecologically sustainable approach. Because every one of
changing your style of driving and treating your car right. To
us can help, without having to “do without” in any way, and
find out how that works, take a look at the Think Blue. pages
not just when we’re in the car. To that extent, Think Blue. is
on the Internet. That’s where you’ll find our fuel-saver tips,
the company’s overarching mindset that shapes not only our
among other things.
existing product communications effort but also a wealth of
Environmental Commendations
Volkswagen Environmental
The New Transporter
Environmental Commendation
This space is reserved for the Environmental
Commendations from Volkswagen. You can
obtain a copy of these six-page brochures from
The Golf
your Volkswagen dealer. Environmental Commendation
The Caddy
Environmental Commendation
The Golf
Environmental Commendation
Reduced photochemical ozone creation potential
(improvement of local air quality)*
– Diesel models: -7% (TDI*), -8% (BlueMotion
Technology*), -9% (BlueMotion*)
– Petrol models: -25% (BiFuel*), -18% (TSI*),
-19% (BlueMotion Technology*)
Global warming potential – less CO2 emissions overall*
– Diesel model: -15%
– Petrol models: -5% or -8% (BlueMotion Technology)
Reduced photochemical ozone creation potential
(improvement of local air quality)*
VW_Golf_200x280_GB_RZ_261110.indd 1-3
– Diesel model: -5%
– Petrol models: -2% or -2% (BlueMotion Technology)
Reduced driving emissions (CO2)*
– Diesel model: 120 g/km compared with 148 g/km
– Petrol models: 149 g/km or 142 g/km (BlueMotion
Technology) compared with 158 g/km (predecessor)
Reduction of fuel consumption through
– tyres with optimised rolling resistance
– smart lightweight design (hot stamping, used of
aluminium parts)
Resource conservation through
– use of long-lasting components (long-life and LED
lamps, maintenance-free particulate filters and
catalytic converters)
– longer service and oil-change intervals
Global warming potential – less CO2 emissions overall*
– Delivery Van -9% (1.6 TDI**) or -18%
(1.6 TDI BlueMotion Technology**)
– Startline -8% (1.6 TDI**) or -15%
(1.6 TDI BlueMotion Technology**)
Reduction of fuel consumption through
– new 4-cylinder TDI engines
– transmission ratios selected for optimised fuel
Reduced driving emissions (CO2)*
– Delivery Van 147 g/km (1.6 TDI**) or 129 g/km
(1.6 TDI BlueMotion Technology**) compared to
predecessor’s 164 g/km
– Startline 149 g/km (1.6 TDI**) or 134 g/km
(1.6 TDI BlueMotion Technology**) compared to
predecessor’s 164 g/km
Ident-No. 107310
© Volkswagen AG
Group Research
Environment Affairs Product
P.O. Box 011/1774
38436 Wolfsburg
This brochure was printed on FSC -certified paper. FSC stands for Forest
Stewardship Council® and is a worldwide sign of ecological and socially
responsible use of forests.
This brochure was printed on FSC-certified paper. FSC stands for Forest
Stewardship Council and is a worldwide sign of ecological and socially
responsible use of forests.
Additional savings in models with BlueMotion Tech­
nology through
– tyres with optimised rolling resistance
– engine with stop-start system
– regenerative braking (recuperation)
– wheel spoilers
Resource conservation through
– Use of long-lasting components (maintenance-free
particulate filters)
– Longer service and oil-change intervals
– Use of renewable raw materials (e.g. for filter materials)
The Polo
Environmental Commendation
Other highlights
– Recycling type approval successfully completed
Your Volkswagen Dealer
* Applies to the actual vehicles assessed in this test series
** See inside for fuel consumption and emissions figures
RZ_VW_Caddy_GB_200x280_RZ_100910.indd 1-3
13.09.10 13:39
December 2010
Art. No. 015.1240.04.18
Resource conservation through
– use of long-lasting components (maintenance-free particulate filters and catalytic converters, long-life lamps)
– longer servicing and oil change intervals
– no hydraulic fluid required as a result of electro© Volkswagen AG
Group Research
mechanical power steering
Environment Affairs Product
P.O. Box 011/1774
– lifetime oil fill for transmission
38436 Wolfsburg
The Passat
Environmental Commendation
Reduced driving emissions (CO2)*
Eco-friendly materials
October 2010
– Diesel models: 119 g/km (TDI*), 107 g/km (BlueMoArt. No. 015.1240.05.18
– use of renewable materials
(e.g. for filters and floor
tion Technology*), 99 g/km (BlueMotion*) compared
with 135 g/km (predecessor)
– Petrol models:
149 g/km
(BiFuel*), 134 g/km (TSI*),
optimized efficiencies
components withwith
– electricalcompared
profile over the
Generally improved
121 g/km
* Applies to the actual vehicles assessed in this test series. See inside for fuel
– low-friction oils
vehicle life cycle compared with the predecessor model
g/km (predecessor)
consumption and emissions figures
– reduced drag and friction
and reduced emissions
fuel consumption
due to lower­commercial­
Reduction of other driving emissions (CO, NOx,
particulates) through
– Euro 5 exhaust emissions standard instead of Euro 4
The Polo
Environmental Commendation
Environmental Description, Golf
Global warming potential – less CO2 emissions overall*
– Diesel models: -10% (TDI*), -17% (BlueMotion
Technology*), -21% (BlueMotion*)
– Petrol models: -18% (BiFuel*), -20% (TSI*),
-27% (BlueMotion Technology*)
September 2010
Art. No. 065.1192.44.18
Generally improved environmental profile over the full
vehicle life cycle compared with the predecessor model
due to lower fuel consumption and reduced emissions
Reduced photochemical ozone creation potential
(improvement of local air quality)*
– Delivery Van -6% (1.6 TDI**) or -8%
(1.6 TDI BlueMotion Technology**)
– Startline -5% (1.6 TDI**) or -7%
(1.6 TDI BlueMotion Technology**)
December 2010
Art. No. 015.1240.03.18
Reduction of fuel consumption through
– tyres with optimised rolling resistance
– BlueMotion Technologies (start-stop system, regenerative braking)
– smart lightweight design (hot stamping, use of aluminium and magnesium components)
– electrical components with optimized efficiencies
– reduced drag and friction
38436 Wolfsburg
Environmental Description, Caddy
© Volkswagen AG
Group Research
Environment Affairs Product
P.O. Box 011/1774
38436 Wolfsburg
Generally improved environmental profile over the full
vehicle life cycle compared with the predecessor model
due to lower fuel consumption and reduced emissions
Environmental Description, Polo
The Passat
Environmental Commendation
Generally improved environmental profile over the full
vehicle life cycle compared with the predecessor model
due to lower fuel consumption and reduced emissions
Global warming potential – less CO2 emissions overall*
– Diesel models: -13% (1.2 TDI*), -15% (1.6 TDI BlueMotion Technology*), -20% (BlueMotion*)
– Petrol models: -12% (1.4 MPI) or -18% (1.2 TSI*)
Reduced photochemical ozone creation potential
(improvement of local air quality)*
– Diesel models: -6% (1.2 TDI*), -6% (1.6 TDI BlueMotion
Technology*), -7% (BlueMotion*)
– Petrol models: -14% (1.4 MPI), -16% (1.2 TSI*)
Reduced driving emissions (CO2)*
– Diesel models: 99 g/km (1.2 TDI*), 96 g/km (1.6 TDI
BlueMotion Technology*), 87 g/km (BlueMotion*)
compared with 119 g/km (predecessor 1.4 TDI*)
– Petrol models: 135 g/km (1.4 MPI) or 124 g/km
(1.2 TSI*) compared with 159 g/km (predecessor
1.6 MPI*)
Your Volkswagen Retailer
This brochure was printed on FSC®-certified paper. FSC stands for Forest
Stewardship Council® and is a worldwide sign of ecological and socially
responsible use of forests.
Eco-friendly materials
– use of renewable raw materials (e.g. for filter materials)
– avoidance of components containing PVC or heavy
Reduction of fuel consumption through
– tyres with optimised rolling resistance
– smart lightweight design (use of high-strength and
extremely high-strength steels, aluminium and magnesium components and composite materials)
– Volkswagen DSG dual-clutch transmissions (petrol
– electrical components with optimized efficiencies
– BlueMotion Technologies (start-stop system, regenerative braking)
Ident-No. 107310
This brochure was printed on FSC®-certified paper. FSC® stands for Forest
Stewardship Council® and is a worldwide sign of ecological and socially
responsible use of forests.
Resource conservation through
– use of long-lasting components (maintenance-free particulate filters and catalytic converters, long-life lamps)
– lifetime oil fill for electro-hydraulic steering
Eco-friendly materials
– use of recycled plastics (e.g. for sound deadening materials)
– use of renewable materials (e.g. for filters and floor matting)
* Applies to the actual vehicles assessed in this test series. See inside for fuel
consumption and emissions figures
29.11.10 13:11
Your Volkswagen Retailer
VW_Polo_200x280_GB_RZ_261010.indd 1-3
* Applies to the actual vehicles assessed in this test series. See inside for fuel
The Caddy
Environmental Commendation
© Volkswagen AG
Group Research
Environment Affairs Product
P.O. Box 011/1774
29.11.10 12:40
Your Volkswagen Retailer
consumption and emissions figures
06.10.10 16:36
VW_Passat_200x280_GB_RZ_011010.indd 1-3
Well-oiled for impressive savings.
Use low-viscosity oil.
Keep it sleek.
Cut aerodynamic drag.
other ecologically sustainable
2 litres
brand-related activities.
To find out more about Think
Blue. visit
Extra fuel consumption
per 100 km
Less fuel
The sooner the engine is well-lubricated the sooner it will produce fewer emissions. This is especially important
when starting from cold and on short journeys. Good engine oil must therefore do one thing in particular:
circulate quickly.
A good aerodynamic shape is the key to low fuel consumption, particularly at high speeds. The body of your
Volkswagen has therefore been designed to minimise the surface area exposed to the wind. However, roof attachments such as cycle racks and roof boxes nullify this advantage.
Low-viscosity oils are unbeatable in this respect. They can cut fuel consumption by up to 5 % compared with
conventional oils. This means the slightly higher purchase price is almost as swiftly recouped as the oil is circulated
in the engine. Consequently, almost every Volkswagen leaves the factory supplied with low-viscosity oils.
Now we don’t wish to say anything against ski racks and suchlike in principle – only against their being used
unnecessarily. A 33 % rise in aerodynamic drag will increase fuel consumption by as much as 2 l/100 km at 160 km/h!
All that remains for you to do is to make sure the engine always has sufficient oil, observe the oil change intervals
and, when topping up, use oils approved by Volkswagen for your vehicle. Then nothing will stand in the way of
eco-friendly motoring!
Savings potential
in city traffic
With figures like these, it’s certainly worth thinking again: it definitely makes sense to remove the roof rack between
two skiing or mountain bike weekends – the car’s aerodynamic qualities will then be restored for your day-to-day
trips. Work it out for yourself – you’ll find it’s worth it!
Savings potential
on the motorway
in city traffic
on the motorway
Environmental Commendations
© Volkswagen AG
Group Research
Environment Affairs Product
P.O. Box 011/1774
38436 Wolfsburg
December 2010
Art. No. 015.1240.07.18
This brochure was printed on FSC®-certified paper. FSC® stands for Forest
Stewardship Council® and is a worldwide sign of ecological and socially
responsible use of forests.