Michael Oeljeklaus, ŠKODA AUTO Board Member for Production and Logistics, said: “At ŠKODA AUTO, we are continuously working on further reducing the environmental footprint of our vehicle production. Thanks to state-of-the-art technologies, we treated more than 650,000 m3 of water last year – the equivalent of more than 45% of the company’s total consumption in a normal year. At the same time, our employees put forward nearly 100 innovative ideas on how we can make our business even more sustainable.”
Water is indispensable in vehicle production, for example in painting and rinsing or for cooling. This is why ŠKODA focuses on sustainable water management and on continuously reducing water consumption in its plants through the use of innovative technologies and concepts. Thanks to state-of-the-art technology and innovative measures, the water used per vehicle manufactured fell from 2.76 to 1.74 m3 – that’s almost 37%.
The modern filtration systems in the paint shops are another great example of sustainable innovation in vehicle production: they recycle wastewater and recirculate it. The new paint shop, which ŠKODA opened in 2019 at its main plant in Mladá Boleslav, is one of the most modern and eco-friendliest of its kind in Europe and also contributes to a more sustainable use of water.
A process known as dry separation is applied there, for example, in which paint residues such as pigment particles are absorbed. In this procedure, ground limestone replaces the water which was used until now. As a result, virtually no paint sludge is accumulated as a waste product.
ŠKODA AUTO’s members of staff also contribute to improving the company’s environmental footprint. Compliance with the carmaker’s ambitious environmental targets is regularly assessed, for example, and staff are encouraged to submit suggestions to further improve the company’s eco-balance. The best concepts are rewarded and implemented. A total of 775,000 euros was saved as a result of this initiative in 2020.
GreenFuture strategy: ŠKODA AUTO is committed to the environment across its entire business
ŠKODA AUTO divides its environmental activities into three areas, and groups them under the umbrella of its GreenFuture strategy. GreenProduct focuses on the development of vehicles that – in terms of the drive system and the use of recyclable materials – are as efficient as they are eco-friendly. Through the measures that fall under GreenRetail, the company is promoting eco-friendly operations at its dealerships and service facilities, and GreenFactory comprises all of the activities that help to conserve resources during production. Every two years, the car manufacturer publishes its objectives and measures taken relating to the conservation of the environment in a sustainability report.
In addition to GreenFuture, ŠKODA is also pursuing Volkswagen Group’s goTOzero strategy. This addresses climate change, resources, air quality as well as environmental compliance and defines the company’s environmental mission statement. The group aims to minimise the environmental impact of all its products and mobility solutions throughout the entire life cycle of a vehicle – from the extraction of raw materials to the end of the car’s life.
The United Nations has called for the support of World Water Day since 1993, which has taken place on 22 March each year since then. Under this year’s motto of ‘Valuing water’, the organisers of the campaign want to draw attention to the importance of water and its conservation. This includes not only financial but also ecological, social and cultural aspects.