4-5 of October, the B4E summit took place. B4E stands for Business for the Environment and is one of the leading conferences about dialogue and business-driven action for the environment. Some of the partners are UNEP,the UN global Compact, and WWF, as well as many other NGOs and corporations. Volvo Group is one of them.
At the summit, several different topics are discussed, and the main focus was how to turn the negative climate trends into opportunities, and new possibilities with a new low carbon economy. Sounds like the old “big corporations just care about money” theme again, right?
Well, not entirely. Turning the climate problems will require cooperation and responsibility from the business world. And corporations like Volvo are always interested in different opportunities as well as they are interested in doing something good for the environment. If it was just cold hard cash, they wouldn’t sit down to discuss the problems.
Among the speakers at the summit were Al Gore, Georg Kell, Executive Director of the UN Global Compact, James Leape, Director General of WWF-International, Achim Steiner. Heavy hitters in the environmental arena. Some heavy industry people were there as well, from for example BT group, Coca Cola and HP. And of course Magnus Kuschel, managing director of Commute Greener!.
Yes, that’s right, Commute Greener! was chosen to represent Volvo Group at this meeting, speaking right after former vice president and environmentalist Al Gore. Magnus (to the left in the picture) was also interviewed by CNN on day one.
Volvo Group, as well as Volvo cars, now owned by Chinese Geely, have a long history of environmental work. Most of it comes in the form of technological solutions, cleaner and more energy efficient transportation and so on, but also low carbon emitting factories and server halls. One example of Volvo technology used all over the world today is the three way catalytic converter… A huge step forward in reducing emissions of NOx. But we have seldom tried to influence other peoples habits in the way Commute Greener! does.
During the summit, Magnus said “We [Volvo Group] have a carbon-neutral plant, products for different alternative fuels and innovative BRT (Bus Rapid Transport) solutions. We are also the first in world to run the series production of hybrid buses. Furthermore, we are now encouraging a change of behaviour with Commute Greener! in order to help individuals, businesses and cities to reduce their carbon footprint.”
He also said; We recognize the possibility we have in changing behaviours, starting from our companies. We can walk the talk and enlist the hundreds and thousands of employees that work for our companies as solution providers”.
Corporate environmental responsibility. There are many ways to measure CO2 emissions. Commute Greener! is one of them. Why should any company choose NOT to do this. We all have a responsibility after all, and an employer have numerous opportunities to influence their employees habits. How many of us choose the bus or bike because we want to, and not because we have to? How many drive out of habit? How many employers have any kind of knowledge of their employees travel habits? Not many have that knowledge or even care today, but what about tomorrow?