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Volkswagen Group officially reinstated as a participant of the UN Global Compact

Feb 26, 2021

  • Five years after the diesel emission crisis, the United Nations Global Compact has resolved to reinstate the Volkswagen Group
  • The main deciding factor was the successful completion of the US monitorship
  • Georg Kell, founding Executive Director of the UN Global Compact and spokesperson for the Volkswagen Group Sustainability Council, said: “Rejoining the UN Global Compact shows that Volkswagen has learned from its mistakes.”

Wolfsburg / New York — The UN Global Compact has confirmed the reinstatement of the Volkswagen Group as a participant. After a five-year break, the Group returns to the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative. The main grounds for this decision was the Volkswagen Group’s completely rebuilt compliance and integrity policy as a result of the successfully concluded monitorship supervised by the US Department of Justice. The Group’s ambitious climate protection program was also welcomed positively. By 2025, the Volkswagen Group plans to cut its CO2 emissions over the life cycle of its passenger car portfolio by 30 percent compared to 2015 and aims to be climate-neutral by 2050. In 2016, Volkswagen also appointed an independent Sustainability Council.

Founded in 2000 as a special initiative of the UN Secretary-General, the United Nations Global Compact is a call to companies everywhere to align their operations and strategies with the Ten Principles in the areas of human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption. All participating companies are required to publicly report once a year about their respective activities to implement the principles. For investors and asset managers in the capital market, participation is an important criterion for investing in shares and bonds of Volkswagen Group.

The Volkswagen Group had been a participant of the UN Global Compact since August 2002. However, in the wake of the diesel emission crisis, the company was encouraged to withdraw in November 2015. In the following years, Volkswagen Group continued their reporting in alignment with the requirements of the UN Global Compact and explained that they would pursue reinstatement as a matter of priority. In November 2020, the Chief Executive Officer of the Volkswagen Group, Dr. Herbert Diess, formally requested renewed participation. The Volkswagen Group is now once again officially listed as a participant of the UN Global Compact. The company is currently working on a re-engagement plan with the Global Compact and will publish its communication on progress (CoP) based on this.

In addition to the monitorship and the commitment to a comprehensive climate protection program, another particularly important step that the Volkswagen Group took following the diesel emission crisis was the appointment of an independent Sustainability Council with internationally-renowned experts in 2016. They support the company in its transformation critically and constructively with public recommendations. The spokesperson for the Sustainability Council is the founding Executive Director and former CEO of the UN Global Compact Georg Kell. On the reinstatement of the Volkswagen Group into the Compact, he explained:

“Volkswagen's removal from the UN Global Compact was a drastic step in the wake of the diesel crisis. A company that had previously felt almost invincible was publicly excluded from the United Nations respected business community. This wasn’t only a matter of prestige. It was a matter of pride. Since then, Volkswagen has worked to renew the company's value base. The electrification strategy of the Group has put it at the forefront of transformation in the car industry. Rejoining the UN Global Compact therefore should have the same symbolic power as its exclusion did five years ago. It shows that Volkswagen, while far from infallible, has learned from its mistakes. It is a moment for every employee at Volkswagen to pause for a second and be proud of what has been achieved together.”


About the Volkswagen Group
The Volkswagen Group, with its headquarters in Wolfsburg, is one of the world’s leading automobile manufacturers and the largest carmaker in Europe. The Group comprises twelve brands from seven European countries: Volkswagen Passenger Cars, Audi, SEAT, ŠKODA, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, Ducati, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, Scania and MAN. The passenger car portfolio ranges from small cars all the way to luxury-class vehicles. Ducati offers motorcycles. In the light and heavy commercial vehicles sector, the products range from pick-ups to buses and heavy trucks. Every weekday, 671.205 employees around the globe produce on average 44,567 vehicles, are involved in vehicle-related services or work in other areas of business. The Volkswagen Group sells its vehicles in 153 countries.


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