“I’m delighted that we are one of the first companies in the Czech Republic to set up an External Sustainability Council, and I’m looking forward to working with such a high-calibre panel. It is a great opportunity to get a fresh perspective from this external team, engage in open dialogue with each other and discuss topics controversially. I am confident they will help us to take ŠKODA AUTO to the next level in terms of sustainability.”
Thomas Schäfer, ŠKODA AUTO CEO
ŠKODA AUTO has set up the External Sustainability Council, an independent panel, which is not subject to any directives from the business. The five experts will have the scope to advise on the implementation of planned sustainability measures. In doing so, the car manufacturer is placing additional emphasis on the importance of sustainability and social responsibility. The internationally experienced team will bring new perspectives, ideas and approaches to sustainability issues.
High-calibre panel of international sustainability experts
The panel members include Ladislav Miko, former Deputy Director-General for Health and Food Safety of the European Union. Soňa Klepek Jonášová, another member of the panel, founded an institute devoted to the circular economy as well as several hubs and platforms, and she set up an agency that advises companies on sustainability issues. Hans Reitz is also on the panel, founder and CEO of the Grameen Creative Lab – an incubator for social businesses. Reitz also works as an advisor to Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus. Jan Bureš brings additional expertise in investment banking and financial market analysis to the table. Bureš is the chief economist of Patria Finance, a Czech investment bank founded in 1994. ŠKODA AUTO was also able to recruit Sandra Feltham to join the team. She is the founder of Flagship – a Czech-British CSR consultancy – and president of the Business Leaders Forum, the oldest Czech association for socially responsible companies.
Leading the way with an External Sustainability Council
In the Czech Republic, ŠKODA AUTO is one of the first companies to appoint an External Sustainability Council and to seek advice on sustainability issues from an independent panel of experts. At today’s round-table talks with media representatives at its headquarters in Mladá Boleslav, the company presented the new committee and also provided a comprehensive overview of its other sustainability activities.
Maren Gräf, Board Member for People & Culture, Michael Oeljeklaus, Board Member for Production and Logistics, Karsten Schnake, Board Member for Purchasing, Michal Kadera, Head of External Affairs, and Christian Schrader, Head of Corporate Strategy and Innovation Management, all provided insights into their areas of responsibility.
With its NEXT LEVEL – ŠKODA STRATEGY 2030, the Czech car manufacturer has once again raised the bar for its ambitious sustainability goals. In addition to the ‘Green Future’ strategy with its three pillars ‘Green Factory’, ‘Green Product’ and ‘Green Retail’, ŠKODA AUTO fully commits to being a good corporate citizen by making substantial contributions to society.
The carmaker reached several major sustainability milestones in the past year. At the end of 2020, the components plant in Vrchlabí became the first ŠKODA site to have CO2-neutral production. At the beginning of 2021, the carmaker also started building and operating the Czech Republic’s largest photovoltaic rooftop installation at its main plant in Mladá Boleslav. Since 1 October, the company has been testing two electric trucks units there for internal transports. And for ŠKODA, its measures for increased sustainability do not end at the factory gates: around the globe, the company promotes biodiversity in the areas surrounding its plants, applying a wide range of measures including the ‘One car, one tree’ initiative launched in 2007 – the millionth tree was planted in October 2021. The #ŠKODAAUTOhelps initiative has raised more than 100 million Czech korunas for social and healthcare services as well as the ŠKODA regions. Following the tornado that hit Moravia in June 2021, the company, its employees and the KOVO union donated almost 10 million Czech korunas for emergency aid.
More information about ŠKODA AUTO’s sustainability measures, including outcomes and progress to date, can be found in the company’s sustainability report which is published every two years.