Volvo Group

Designed around you

Monday 12 June 2017, by Inès Eon

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A. The main facts about the activities of the company.

The Volvo Group or AB Volvo is a manufacturing multinational company headquartered in Gothenburg, Sweden. Its core activity is the production, distribution and sale of trucks, buses and construction equipment, Volvo also supplies marine and industrial drive systems and financial services.
Volvo Group is not responsible for automobile production. Volvo Cars is owned by Geely Holding Group, a Chinese automotive manufacturer. The car segment has been separated from the group since 1999, when it was bought by Ford.
Volvo was established in 1915 as a subsidiary of SKF, the ball bearing manufacturer; however the Volvo Group and Volvo Cars consider themselves to have been officially founded on 14 April 1927, when the first car, the Volvo ÖV 4 series, affectionately known as "Jakob", rolled out of the factory in Hisingen, Gothenburg.
Volvo means "I roll" in Latin, conjugated from "volvere", in reference to ball bearings. In 1924, Assar Gabrielsson, a SKF sales manager, and a KTH Royal Institute of Technology educated engineer Gustav Larson, the two founders, decided to start construction of a Swedish car. Their vision was to build cars that could withstand the rigors of the country’s rough roads and cold temperatures.
AB Volvo began activities on 10 August 1926. After one year of preparations involving the production of ten prototypes the firm was ready to commence the car-manufacturing business within the SKF group.

B. The Ethical challenges this company is addressing.

Volvo Group is part of an industry that has a lot of relation to harming the world, especially when it comes to pollution. But the company has many initiatives. The company divides them in 3 different parts (value chain activities, sustainable transport solutions and their role in society) and consider these 3 to be essential, visualizing them as an arrow.
Value Chain Activities: the group considers a lifecycle approach to develop, produce and deliver products and services responsibly and sustainably. They take into consideration that to succeed, customer focus needs to be part of every decision. In product development they develop the right products and services at the right time. In production the focus is on a cost efficient process with high product and service quality. And for purchasing people, customer focus translates into securing supplies through long-term relationships and a selection process based on quality, price and responsible behavior (Volvo does not use suppliers that do not comply with their values).
In Volvo’s view, integrating CSR and sustainability into their policies and guidelines helps minimize risk, protect our reputation, and attract high-performing talent. Also, they enforce that all employees follow the company’s Code of Conduct, which includes business ethics, human rights, social justice and environmental responsibility.
Included in this section is Volvo’s environmental care. The company tries to be as energy-efficient as possible; this means that their products and solutions provide savings for their clients at the same time that it reduces the impact on the environment. To minimize the company’s footprint, they follow some aspects: energy efficiency, sustainable usage of natural resources, water resources, air emissions, waste and the responsible usage of chemicals.
Sustainable transport solutions: This section refers specially to their R&D department, to improve their products and help both their customers and the environment. It includes things like fuel efficiency, uptime and productivity, safety and driver environment. The focus on the future solutions are related to automation, connectivity, electromobility and alternative fuels. Volvo Group is part of the United Nations High Level Advisory Group on sustainable transport and also has participated in numerous local, regional and cross-border governmental initiatives to assess the viability of sustainable transport systems, working closely to policy makers to ensure infrastructure supports for their innovative solutions.
Role in society: Volvo Group it matters the growth towards a sustainable society. Volvo remains competitive, sustainable and profitable by investing in the Group’s employees. There are a lot of investments in engaging the society and community in the areas where the group operate. The group has programs for society based on the creating shared values. There is also disaster relief funds, so the company can help out in catastrophes when it is needed. In this section, their main focus are: education on the workplace and traffic, to improve overall safety; positive contributions to environmental sustainability, increasing their own efficiency and developing products that help out, as well as with partnership with, for example, WWF; and last, the company provides a variety of professional trainings for different areas of interest, as well as in different countries.
Besides these three main pillars, Volvo Group has other programs and partnerships to help out the world we live in. On the product development side, Volvo group has been working hard to improve their solutions to reduce emissions and even change the fuel that is used, with, for example, hybrid trucks and tractors.
Regarding the WWF partnership, Volvo Group is part of the Climate Savers program. The company was the first automotive manufacturer to join the program and has agreed to reduce the total CO2 emissions, reduce the emissions of their finished goods transportation and to develop better suited solutions for their clients.
Volvo Group also gives a yearly Environmental Prize for "Outstanding innovations or scientific discoveries, which in broad terms fall within the environmental field.". This prize is one of the most prestigious environmental scientific prizes in the world. Also, Volvo Group emits a yearly report on their initiatives, which is also audited by an independent company.

C. What makes you believe this company is really ethical and why you trust it?

The Volvo Group created their own Code of Conduct. This Code of Conduct is Volvo Group’s policy for appropriate business behavior and the Volvo Group’s commitment to their employees, business partners and other stakeholders. It applies to all members of the Board of Directors, and all employees in the Volvo Group. The Code of Conduct outlines the Volvo Group’s principles and minimum standard for conducting business in an appropriate, responsible and transparent manner.
The content is based on international charters, such as the United Nations (UN) Global Compact and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.
By signing this policy initiative the Volvo Group has made a commitment to respect some business, environmental, human rights and social justice principles. Some significant examples of principles as the anti-corruption, the fair competition practices, the non-discrimination, the non-tolerance to forced and/or child labour, the resource efficiency, show and make us believe that Volvo Group is a really ethical company.
If we trust them it because The Volvo Group is ranked as a leader in terms of environmental care among the world’s top producers of transport related products, equipment and systems and the environmental requirements on their suppliers, but also because health, safety and wellbeing of their employees is a priority for them.
In addition to being ethical, they annually reward people who have made outstanding scientific discoveries within the area of the environment and sustainable development with the Volvo Environment Prize, one of the world’s most prestigious environmental scientific prizes. Also they have a strong societal engagement by improving traffic and worksite safety, contributing positively to environmental sustainability, but above all by educating and developing skills by opening vocational training schools in Africa in collaboration with strategic partners. So they show the example and encourage people to follow it.

D.The possible challenges facing the company in the future and how you think this company may improve.

The environmental impacts of road transport are numerous. Impacts include air, the global atmosphere, climate and microclimates, water, soils, flora, fauna and dwarf, eco-landscape integrity, noise and public health. The best known of the public is air pollution due to exhaust gases, which causes respiratory diseases and contributes to global warming. Road transport is responsible for 18% of CO2 production. That the main challenge the company has to face. As they produce trucks, buses and coaches, they are highly concerned by this question of the global warming. To this, they already planned a solution: The Volvo Group’s environmental programmes focusing on technical development and resource efficiency. They will work on:
-  an active, pioneering research and development
-  develop transport solutions with a low environmental impact
-  promote the development of harmonized legal requirements
-  continually reduce their products’ fuel consumption, emissions, noise and impact on climate change
-  reduce the use of environmentally harmful materials.
-  minimize their consumption of natural resources
-  minimize and responsibly manage their waste and residual products.


Location: Göteborg (Sweden)

Sector: Manufacturing

Official website:

Nbr. visits: 1043