With the European Union’s action plan to achieve a circular economy in place, Volvo Cars recently presented its strategy to cut waste and increase the longevity of raw materials. Using 25% recycled and bio-based materials in vehicles by 2025, reducing waste in production by 15% by the end of this year, reusing and reconditioning parts in the automotive industry, or developing businesses and opportunities that optimize the efficient use of the life cycle of products and components are some of the circular principles defined by the brand to meet the climate goals set for 2050.
This is the Swedish brand’s strategy to move away from a linear economy and minimize the need to produce new materials or extract finite resources that compromise the planet’s sustainability. The goal, therefore, is to reach the year 2040 as a fully circular company. Volvo Cars’ plan includes two major stages; the first involves reducing CO2 emissions and the costs of current products and services as much as possible by 2025. The second, in turn, involves developing by 2040 a new generation of products, services and processes capable of generating circular business. “We want to achieve for sustainability the same reputation we have in safety,” explained Håkan Samuelsson, CEO of Volvo Cars.
Circular economy, however, goes hand in hand with the implementation of ethical principles whether in industries or in business services. That is the reason why Volvo Cars invested – through the Volvo Cars Tech Fund – in blockchain technology company Circulor. In recent years, Circulor and Volvo Cars, have been working on implementing blockchain technology to increase the global traceability of the cobalt used in the batteries of its electric models. The innovation is currently used in the Swedish brand’s battery supply chain but will achieve 100% tracking on the cobalt used in the new XC40 Recharge P8, the brand’s first 100% electric model recently launched.
The investment will now allow both companies to expand their focus beyond cobalt, enabling, for example, further tracking of the cycle of mica, a mineral used in the insulation in Volvo Cars’ battery pack. Expanding blockchain technology into other areas, such as reducing the CO2 environmental footprint, is also the purpose of this partnership. In essence, it is about deepening collaboration so that, in the near future, it will be possible to define standards for ethical and responsible practices not only in the automobile sector but also in other industries.
It should be noted that Volvo Cars was the first car manufacturer to implement a global tracking of the cobalt used in its batteries through the application of blockchain technology. The solution developed by Circulor is implemented in partnership with CATL and LG Chem, the battery suppliers of Volvo Cars. The agreements established by these two manufacturers will ensure the supply of batteries for Volvo and Polestar models in the next decade, which includes the new Volvo XC40 Recharge P8.