ENVIRONMENT: Collaboration is the key to success on climate action, says Volvo CE President Martin Weissburg
by Patricia Kelly
Recognized as a pioneer in sustainable production, Volvo CE continues to lead the way on climate action within the construction industry. But continued collaboration between industry, academics, government agencies and non-governmental organizations is vital if the industry is to move towards a more sustainable future, says Volvo CE President Martin Weissburg. No one sector can achieve climate action goals alone.
Having recently hosted the first summit of the Construction Climate Challenge (CCC), an initiative launched by Volvo CE in 2014 to support climate protection and energy efficiency throughout the construction sector, Weissburg says summit participants emphasized that environmental damage is worse than was previously feared.
“There were some very sobering reports about the state of the environment,” he says. “Each of us must do our bit to drive towards a solution. Each part of the collaborative effort – including industry and manufacturers – has to increase the speed of their activities, increase the investment, increase the focus, to really be part of this large collaborative group to bring about change.” The answer, says Weissburg, is “a coming together of all sectors, not just industry”. Collaboration exists, he acknowledges, but more is required.
According to Weissburg, success also requires common terminology and units of measurement to measure the impact of climate change as well as potential improvements to the environment.
“Embracing the need to protect the environment and reduce CO2 emissions is not always a good business proposition for everyone,” Weissburg concedes. “For
Volvo, one of our core values is environmental care so we wake up each morning thinking about this and about how this is good business for us.”
Resistance to change and reluctance to act demonstrates the importance of establishing policy and laws, says Weissburg, citing engine emission standards as an example.
“Standards have been changing over time and continue to change. All industry is required to participate – it then becomes a level playing field and we must all play by those same rules. That then drives innovation, investment and changes in technology. When policy and industry come together this is good for society and has a very positive impact on the environment.”
ACTION NOT WORDS
Volvo CE remains a pioneering company, he continues. “We lead with our actions and we lead with our investments. We spend a lot of our advance engineering and R&D monies to make sure we have the latest technology to reduce emissions.” In addition, says Weissburg, the company invests continually in operator training and work-site efficiency to reduce idle time and fuel burn, offering training and services so that equipment can be used in an efficient way. With its articulated hauler factory at Braås in southern Sweden, the company can also boast the first manufacturing facility in the industry to become 100% carbon neutral. “That takes a real commitment from any company,” comments Weissburg.
He adds, however, that the overriding challenge to tackling climate change – although not an obstacle – is that there can be no single leader.
“We hosted and sponsored the CCC summit to bring the people together to create a forum to raise awareness,” he says. “It doesn’t matter who takes the lead, as long as the lead is taken. But it can’t be one party alone. We all have to do this together to drive success.”