About This Report
GRI G4-22, G4-23
The Volkswagen Group’s Sustainability Report has been published every year since 2011; this year is the first time that the report has been published exclusively online. Due to ongoing external investigations associated with the emissions issue, the publication date of this report has been deferred from the second quarter of the year – when it is usually published – to November 23, 2016. The editorial content was finalized on November 22, 2016. In addition to information about the Group’s sustainability activities in the 2015 financial year (January 1 to December 31, 2015), the report also contains selected information from the 2016 financial year. The report is available in German and English. We also cover the most up-to-date details of the emissions issue in a separate magazine entitled “Shift – the Volkswagen Sustainability Magazine”. Published in parallel with the report, the magazine discusses important, trendsetting topics in an open, transparent way. We anticipate that the next Group Sustainability Report (for 2016) will be published in the second quarter of 2017.
The Strategy chapter presents the fundamentals of the Group’s strategy for implementing sustainable development across all its brands. Among other things, we also discuss the Group’s new TOGETHER – Strategy 2025, which was presented at the Group’s Annual General Meeting on June 22, 2016 and supersedes the Group’s previous Mach 18 strategy. Our new TOGETHER – Strategy 2025 is not due to be finalized until after the editorial deadline for this report.
The Economy, People and Environment chapters set out our management approach in each case, before outlining how the various aspects of these topics are implemented. The key Group-wide indicators and the overarching corporate sustainability roadmap are described in the Facts and Figures chapter.
True to the character of a progress report, we aim to focus on the essentials while at the same time communicating a balanced picture of our activities that takes account of all Group brands and companies. Audi, MAN, Porsche, Scania and ŠKODA publish their own sustainability reports, either annually or at two-year intervals.
This report was drawn up in accordance with the fourth generation of guidelines from the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI-G4) with the aid of an IT system that, in addition to Group-wide data acquisition and management, will also be used for stakeholder management within the Group. In terms of content, important guidance was provided by the questionnaires and appraisals of sustainability-oriented rating agencies and RobecoSAM in particular. We also took our lead from Stakeholder Engagement Standard AA1000.
To identify material topics for the Volkswagen Group resulting from various global challenges, we drew upon the findings of the Volkswagen Group’s Stakeholder Panel which has been in place for many years now, as well as the results of the latest comprehensive stakeholder surveys conducted by Group companies Audi, MAN, Porsche and Volkswagen Financial Services. The resultant materiality matrix (see “Our Approach”) was validated by the Corporate CSR & Sustainability Steering Group. The present report takes account not only of the recommendations of the Stakeholder Panel following the latter’s evaluation of the 2014 Group Sustainability Report (see “Stakeholder Management”), but also of the advice provided by the auditors.
Selected environmental numbers were reviewed by auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (see “here”). The GRI has confirmed the location of indicators G4-17 to G4-27 through its Materiality Disclosure Service. References to the relevant GRI indicators appear in the GRI Content Index (see “GRI Content Index”) which also indicates how the relevant criteria for the Communication on Progress to the United Nations Global Compact have been implemented. The GRI Content Index documents compliance with the German Sustainability Code and in addition, we have inserted references to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals at appropriate places in the report.
In Additional Information, we provide a numbered list of links so that readers can rapidly access documents that discuss the selected content in more detail. The latest news on sustainability at the Volkswagen Group can be found on the Group portal: https://www.volkswagenag.com/en/sustainability.html.
Frame of reference
The information in this report relates to the Volkswagen Group as a whole. If any information relates to individual Group brands only, this is clearly indicated in the copy.
This report contains forward-looking statements on the development of the Volkswagen Group and its companies, as well as economic and political developments. These statements are assumptions that we based on all the information available to us at the time of reporting. If the assumptions made fail to materialize or additional risks occur, then the actual results, development and performance of the Group may differ from the forecasts given. The Volkswagen Group therefore assumes no liability for the forward-looking statements presented here.