Volvo Cars

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Gothenburg, Sweden
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Climate Lobbying Overview: Volvo Cars is lobbying EU and US climate policy for vehicles with increasingly positive engagement in 2020-21. Volvo Cars appears to support policies to phase out the sale of new petrol and gasoline-powered vehicles in the UK and EU by 2030 and 2035 respectively. In 2021, it also communicated support for both higher EU CO2 standards for light-duty vehicles and the widespread electrification of transportation.

Top-line Messaging on Climate Policy: Volvo Cars appears to have positive top-line communications on climate change. In 2020, the former CEO of Volvo Cars, Hakan Samuelsson, stated support for the European Green Deal and argued that environmental regulation should not be rolled back during the COVID-19 crisis, stating that “we should not let our climate pay for the pandemic”. In 2021, Volvo Cars also signed a joint statement in response to the Biden Administration’s electric vehicle plans supporting the goals of the Paris Agreement and general support for US climate regulations on light-duty vehicles.

Engagement with Climate-Related Regulations: Volvo Cars appears to have mostly positive engagement on CO2 regulations for light-duty vehicles. In July 2021, a media article reported that Volvo Cars supported the EU’s newly announced higher CO2 targets for light-duty vehicles for 2030 and 2035, with the company stating it ensures the industry would have an electric future and time “to phase out the technology of the past”. A joint letter signed by Volvo Cars in October 2022 further supported a 2035 EU zero-emissions CO2 target and advocated against a loophole allowing ICE-powered vehicles to continue using e-fuels after 2035. In contrast, in April 2020 the executive of a Volvo Cars subsidiary (Volvo Cars Italia) appeared to support delaying CO2 targets for light-duty vehicles during the COVID-19 pandemic according to a media article.

Volvo Cars in August 2021 further signed a joint statement supporting a “strong nationwide greenhouse gas emissions standard” in the US. A media report from 2020 also stated that Volvo Cars entered a voluntary agreement with California regulations to accept the state’s emissions standards for vehicles, appearing to oppose weaker proposed federal standards from the Trump administration. While this agreement weakened the overall regulatory program in California, it was significantly more stringent than US federal regulatory recommendations. More recently, however, in a September 2021 US consultation response, Volvo Cars did not explicitly state support for mid-range vehicle GHG emissions standards in the US, instead supporting flexibilities that may weaken the stringency of the policy, such as extending the advanced technology vehicle multiplier and increasing the cap for off-cycle technologies.

Positioning on Energy Transition: Volvo Cars appears to strongly support measures to promote the electrification of transportation. In April 2021 Volvo Cars signed a joint letter supporting EU policy to phase out the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles within the EU (including hybrids) by 2035. In July 2021 Volvo Cars also announced support for the EU’s proposed CO2 targets as part of the Fit for 55 package that would create a 2035 phase-out date for the sale of internal combustion-powered cars. The former CEO of Volvo Cars, Hakan Samuelsson, also communicated support to phase out petrol cars by 2030 in the UK according to a December 2020 Financial Times report, and in November 2021, the company signed a global pledge made at COP26 supporting the phase out of fossil-fuel vehicles in leading markets by 2035 and globally by 2040. In a November 2021 press release, Volvo Cars advocated for government support to aid the electrification of transportation, including investments in clean energy capacity and expansion of EV charging infrastructure.

Volvo Cars also appears to have communicated general support for the electrification of transportation in 2021 in their Annual Report, on their corporate website, and in a joint statement on the Biden Administration’s US climate plan for cars and trucks. However, a statement from former Volvo Cars CEO, Hakan Samuelsson, in April 2021 reported in the Japan times appeared to take an unclear position on a long-term role for hybrids while appearing to support the wider expansion of EVs. In a September 2021 consultation response, Volvo Cars appeared to oppose higher EV tax credits for unionized vehicles in the US Build Back Better Act, however seemed to be in favor of higher tax credits in general.

Industry Association Governance: Volvo Cars does not appear to provide a disclosure of its global memberships of industry associations on its website in 2021. In its 2020 CDP response, Volvo Cars discloses membership of three global trade associations and provides some details of the company's role within each organization's governing bodies and influence over their climate change policy positions. Volvo Cars has not published an industry association review as of September 2021. The CEO of Volvo Cars, Hakan Samuelsson, was previously on the board of the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA), Volvo Cars left ACEA at the end of 2022 due to a reported misalignment with their climate advocacy. Volvo Cars is also a member of Alliance for Automotive Innovation, which has actively lobbied US climate policy with mixed and mostly negative engagement.

Strength of Relationship

How to Read our Relationship Score Map

In this section, we depict graphically the relationships the corporation has with trade associations, federations, advocacy groups and other third parties who may be acting on their behalf to influence climate change policy. Each of the columns above represents one relationship the corporation appears to have with such a third party. In these columns, the top, dark section represents the strength of the relationship the corporation has with the influencer. For example if a corporation's senior executive also held a key role in the trade association, we would deem this to be a strong relationship and it would be on the far left of the chart above, with the weaker ones to the right. Click on these grey shaded upper sections for details of these relationships. The middle section contains a link to the organization score details of the influencer concerned, so you can see the details of its climate change policy influence. Click on the middle sections for for details of the trade associations. The lower section contains the organization score of that influencer, the lower the more negatively it is influencing climate policy.