Volvo Water and Energy Intensity Grows, but Total Use Falls

Volvo Water and Energy Intensity Grows, but Total Use Falls

Volvo saw its water and energy consumption drop in 2009, but production declines caused by the flailing economy drove up intensity in both areas.

Absolute water consumption declined 19 percent in 2009 from 8,205,000 cubic meters to 6,641,000 cubic meters. Likewise, absolute energy consumption at the company's worldwide plants fell 26 percent, from 2,530 GWh in 2008 to 1,865 GWh in 2009, according to Volvo's 2009 Sustainability Report released this week.

The declines in both water and energy use, however, were not as sharp as the drop in production, causing intensity in both areas to grow. Measured against sales, water use consumption increased to 31.8 metric meters per million Swedish Kroner, compared to 27.8 the year before. Similarly, energy intensity grew in 2009 to 9.1 megawatt hours from 8.8 megawatt hours per million Swedish Kroner in 2009.

"Even though energy consumption and water consumption have decreased, it is not to the same extent as production decline, therefore we need to focus in the future on identifying waste in our resource use," Volvo said in its performance analysis.

Meanwhile, carbon dioxide intensity remained flat in 2009 even though CO2 emissions fell 27 percent, from 291,000 tonnes in 2008 to 213,000 tonnes in 2009.

Between 2003 and 2008, the company achieved energy savings of 43 percent per unit of production, with a 2009-2012 goal of an additional 15 percent.

The company also saw its hazardous waste fall 37 percent in 2009, the second year of decline after years of growth due to the constant re-classification of waste as hazardous.

At the end of 2009, 22 percent of the company's 6,000 suppliers had completed a self-assessment program that includes CSR requirements, 52 percent of which passed. Those who failed are asked to create an action plan.

Other highlights from the report include:

•  Delivery of its first hybrid bus to a customer, along with field tests conducted in Sweden and England.

•  Volvo and Mack trucks first to certify under the US'10 emission standard, the world's most stringent.

•  Introduction of the company's most fuel-efficient generation of diesel engines, which are also low emissions for nitrogen oxides and particulate matter.

Image courtesy of Volvo.