As part of its Green Future strategy and related projects, ŠKODA AUTO has made a long-term and all-embracing commitment to minimise the ecological impact of its business activities and protect the environment. On this International Day for Biological Diversity, which was first proclaimed by the United Nations in 1992, ŠKODA shares some specific programmes from its production sites.
In the Czech Republic, ŠKODA has been supporting reforestation by planting a tree for every vehicle sold there since 2007. By the end of this year, the company will have planted a total of 1,010,000 trees since the campaign began. This equates to an area the size of 347 football pitches or 227 hectares of new forest. In 2020, 83,249 trees were put in the ground– the exact number of vehicles ŠKODA AUTO delivered in the Czech Republic that year. As part of the ‘One Car, One Tree’ initiative, the carmaker planted 44,500 silver firs, 102,450 beeches, 7,600 maple seedlings, 14,350 seedlings of other broadleaved trees and 150 larches throughout the Krkonoše National Park to improve the composition of the tree population. ŠKODA AUTO has also been supporting the planting of shrubs this year, which are instrumental in biodiversity. In addition, the automotive manufacturer provides applicants with up to 5 percent of the total grant amount paid to maintain the trees and thus promote the sustainability of this measure. Last year, ŠKODA AUTO became a partner in the ‘Sázíme budoucnost’ (‘We plant the future’) project of the Partnership Foundation, the commissioning body of the ‘One Car, One Tree’ initiative. This year, ŠKODA AUTO has become a partner of the international ‘European Tree of the Year’ competition. The event is hosted by the Environmental Partnership Association (EPA), of which the Partnership Foundation is a member.
The carmaker’s three production sites in the Czech Republic have areas that provide a habitat for numerous species of insects and animals. These cover more than 1,400 trees, almost 100,000 m² of flowering plants, and over 27,000 m² of hedges and shrubs. At the main plant in Mladá Boleslav, ŠKODA cultivates 22,000 m² of grassland, and at the Vrchlabí site, four beehives are home to 240,000 honeybees in summer and 60,000 in winter.
ŠKODA AUTO set up an Oxygen Park at its Aurangabad plant in India in 2019 and has since planted 25,000 trees. These supply 3,250 tonnes of oxygen per year and absorb up to 600 tonnes of carbon dioxide. Artificial nests provide additional habitats for various bird species. In the particularly dry regions around its Aurangabad and Pune plants in the state of Maharashtra, the car manufacturer is supporting another project: after 27,000 trees had been planted, five model farms established and 100 people trained to manage them, water availability and opportunities for agricultural cultivation in the region improved. ŠKODA is involved in a project with the Mangrove and Marine Biodiversity Conservation Foundation (MMBCF) in India, which aims to plant and cultivate more than 580,000 mangrove trees by 2027. This will help protect marine life and prevent coastal erosion.
Since 2012, ŠKODA AUTO has firmly anchored the topic of sustainability in its Green Future strategy, and has consistently aimed to minimise the environmental impacts from its business activities. The carmaker has defined three cornerstones for this strategy: ‘GreenProduct’ deals with the development of vehicles that are as environmentally friendly as possible – in terms of materials, recycling capabilities and fuel consumption. With ‘GreenRetail’, the brand is promoting sustainable operations at its dealerships and workshops. ‘GreenFactory’ brings together all of the activities that help to conserve resources during production. Energy and water consumption, as well as the amount of waste per vehicle manufactured, including CO2 emissions and volatile organic compounds (VOC) – such as those produced during vehicle painting – are continuously measured and further reduced.
ŠKODA is also guided by Volkswagen Group’s ‘goTOzero’ environmental mission statement, which addresses the issues of climate change, resources, air quality and environmental compliance, and aims to minimise the environmental impact of all products and mobility solutions through their entire life cycle – from raw material extraction to end of life.