After decisively limiting the top speed of its cars to 180 km/h to uphold its promise to save human lives, Volvo Cars is now taking a stand to save animals. Starting with the new Volvo C40 Recharge, all its new electric vehicles will be leather-free.
Volvo Cars has a goal of producing only fully electric cars by 2030, with all of them being free of animal leather products. This initiative is its ethical stand for animal welfare. As part of its ambitions to go completely leather-free, Volvo Cars is actively working on finding high-quality and sustainable sources for the many materials currently used in the wider car industry.
By 2025, the company is targeting to replace up to 25% of the materials in its new cars with recycled and bio-based content. This is its strategy to become a fully circular business by 2040. As part of its climate action plans, it also aims for all of its immediate suppliers, including material suppliers, to use 100% renewable energy by 2025.
The company’s switch to leather-free car interiors is also driven by its concern of the negative environmental impact of cattle farming, including deforestation. Livestock is estimated to be responsible for around 14% of global greenhouse gas emissions from human activity, with the majority coming from cattle farming.
Thus, instead of leather interior options, Volvo Cars will offer its customers alternatives such as high-quality sustainable materials made from bio-based and recycled sources. For example, Nordico, a new interior material created by Volvo Cars will consist of textiles made from recycled material such as PET bottles, bio-attributed material from sustainable forests in Sweden and Finland, and corks recycled from the wine industry – setting a new standard for premium interior design. This material will make its debut in the next generation of Volvo models.
Volvo Cars will also continue to offer wool blend options from suppliers that are certified to source responsibly, as the company looks to ensure full traceability and animal welfare in its wool supply chain.
“Being a progressive car maker means we need to address all areas of sustainability, not just CO2 emissions,” said Stuart Templar, director of global sustainability at Volvo Cars. “Responsible sourcing is an important part of that work, including respect for animal welfare. Going leather-free inside our pure electric cars is a good next step towards addressing this issue.”
Furthermore, Volvo Cars is looking to reduce the use of residual products from livestock production commonly used within or in the production of plastics, rubber, lubricants and adhesives, either as part of the material or as a process chemical in the material’s production or treatment. The company is taking this step because it believes that while going leather-free is a step in the right direction, doing so alone does not make a car interior vegan.
By aiming to actively replace these materials as much as possible, Volvo Cars takes a strong and ethical position to do what it can to help stop animal harm, by contributing to a reduced demand for these materials containing animal products.
“Finding products and materials that support animal welfare will be challenging, but that is no reason to avoid this important issue,” said Stuart Templar. “This is a journey worth taking. Having a truly progressive and sustainable mindset means we need to ask ourselves difficult questions and actively try and find answers.”