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Organization Name

AB Volvo Group

Case Story Title

Partnership for the implementation of alternative fuels in Gothenburg

Case Story Date

2002/07/10

Issues Addressed

  • Principle 7 - Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges
  • Principle 8 - Undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility
  • Principle 9 - Encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies

Case Story Category

Partnership Project

Countries of Impact

Serbia

Case Description

Volvo is continually exploring ways to lessen its impact on the environment.  One of the ways it has sought to achieve this is through an ongoing partnership between the Göteborg region (where our headquarters are located), the Volvo Group and Volvo Car Corporation.  We wanted to create a platform for sharing and building knowledge, raising awareness, and developing cooperative solutions.  The partnership was established to build competence and develop leading transport systems in terms of efficiency, environmental care and safety, and is an enduring structure.  Led by a steering committee consisting of top representatives from all parties, it enjoys high level commitment.  A working group runs the operations. The costs of administration are borne equally by all partners.  Each partner covers their own project costs.  Additional partners are invited to join on a "project-to-project" basis.  

One such project is the methane-project.  Its goal is to improve air quality in the Göteborg area.  By working cooperatively with partners such as the Business Region Göteborg, Fordons Gas, Goteborg Energi and Renova, the project has given rise to new products, new infrastructure and government incentives to promote the use of environmentally-friendly methane-fueled vehicles.   Examples of promotion of gas driven vehicles are two hours free parking permission for environmentally friendly cars, taxi lanes with priority for environmental taxis at strategic places (Central train station etc) and company car tax reductions for environmentally-friendly cars. The project has also initiated several activities to stimulate the tax system to help promote gas driven vehicles nationally.In January 2002, 67 buses, 48 trucks >3.5 tons, 21 trucks <3.5 tons and 664 passenger cars (=800 gas driven vehicles (Volvo and others)), were running in the Göteborg area.  In 2001, 450,000m3 of methane was used per month, replacing c.200,000 litres of petrol and 325,000 litres of diesel. Emission reduction/month has been:

630 tons CO2(Carbon Dioxide)

5150kg NOx(Nitrogen Oxides)

4400kg CO(Carbon Monoxide)

- 250kg HC(Hydro Carbons)

- 130kg PM(Particulate Matters)

Because the gas has a lower environmental impact than petrol/diesel, taxation is lower, thus cheaper.  The infrastructure for gas supply has also improved: there are seven public gas stations in the Göteborg area; another seven are planned for 2002.  Bi-fuel cars used as company cars also receive a 20% company car tax reduction.  Biogas has also been mixed into the natural gas network since January 2000 so that other vehicles are driven on a mix of fossil and non-fossil fuels.  The production of Bi-fuel cars at VCC has changed from a ?one-by-one? approach into fully integrated mainstream production.  The project partners have also successfully lobbied for national tax laws favouring gas vehicles.  

One challenge faced was that it is necessary to have a sufficient amount of vehicles to justify fuel station installations, and a sufficient amount of fuel stations to ensuring customers fuel supply. By using gas in buses and trucks with limited action radii, and providing bi-fueled cars, where gas is used to the highest possible extent but the possibility of using petrol remains, this problem was solved.

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