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Carbon-neutral transport


In 2010, Audi became the first company to employ the carbon-neutral rail transport service Eco Plus from the provider DB Schenker – so-called “green trains”. For the service, which is offered for transports within Germany, Deutsche Bahn additionally purchases electricity from renewable sources. The required amount of electricity is determined in advance by the logistics provider, depending on the route and the goods to be transported. TÜV has audited the carbon-neutrality of Eco Plus and confirms that 100 percent of the “green” energy supplied is used to transport cars for Audi. Since 2010, the green trains have been travelling between Ingolstadt and the loading port in Emden. Auf diese Weise verringerte das Unternehmen allein im Jahr 2015 den Ausstoß von CO2 um insgesamt 8.305 Tonnen. Seit 2012 verkehren die Grünen Züge auch auf der Strecke zwischen Neckarsulm und Emden. Hier konnte Audi im Jahr 2015 COIt offers the prospect of cutting CO2Saving 4,197 metric tons in emissions.

In 2015, a powerful 1,000 bhp hybrid locomotive replaced the previous works locomotive at the Ingolstadt plant. Components and finished Audi models are now transferred to the unloading stations at the plant with less environmental impact – the modern plug-in hybrid locomotive can reduce CO2 emissions by as much as 60 metric tons per year. “Our goal is comprehensively sustainable logistics,” remarked Johann Schmid, Head of the Audi Plant Railway Ingolstadt. “The new rail technology makes rail transport more economical and energy-efficient, while cutting emissions. Combined with cutting-edge chassis engineering, the plug-in hybrid locomotive redefines the benchmark for shunting operations and rail freight transport.”

Demands made of suppliers


In addition to demanding a high level of performance and competitiveness from its suppliers, the Audi Group expects them to strictly adhere to sustainability standards. These apply to the suppliers for the entire Volkswagen Group, since all Group brands rely on a shared pool of suppliers in order to optimize potential synergies. All suppliers have committed themselves to compliance with the “Volkswagen Group requirements regarding sustainability in its relationships with business partners.” The concept of sustainability in supplier relationships is aligned with principles laid down in the UN Global Compact, the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the relevant conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO).

Forderungen an die Lieferanten sind beispielweise die Anwendung eines Umweltmanagementsystems, die Vermeidung von Umwelt- und Gesundheitsschäden bei der Produktion und ein Verbot der Kinder- und Zwangsarbeit. Zudem fordert Audi, dass die Arbeitszeiten und die Vergütung mindestens den nationalen gesetzlichen Vorgaben und Mindestnormen genügen.

2016 wurde darüber hinaus ein neuer Passus über den Umgang mit Konfliktmaterialien aufgenommen. Demnach sind die Lieferanten dazu verpflichtet, den Bezug jeglicher Materialien zu unterlassen, deren Abbau, Transport, Handel, Verarbeitung oder Export direkt oder indirekt bewaffnete Nicht-Regierungs-Truppen unterstützt. Auf Anfrage seitens des Volkswagen Konzerns müssen sämtliche Informationen über die Herkunft der Mineralien, die von Lieferanten oder Zulieferanten bezogen werden, offengelegt werden.

To lend the sustainability requirements even more weight, in 2014 they became an integral part of the contract with suppliers, and elements of a code of conduct for business partners were added. In addition to the previously valid environmental and social standards, they now also include an auditing right, a right to extraordinary termination in the event of violation and greater importance is attached to anti-corruption measures, money laundering, import and export controls and statements regarding free competition.

Together with other companies in the sector and the environmental organisation IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), Audi is also active in the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI). The objective of this initiative was to develop a global standard for sustainable aluminium by the end of 2014. Environmental and social criteria valid for all stages of raw material extraction, production and processing were to be defined here. The coordination process was completed on schedule by all parties involved and the standard defined in September 2014.

The specific VW Group requirements regarding sustainability in its relationships with suppliers can be found at and are available for download in the right-hand column.

Supporting partners


As we see it, the focal point of all measures is positive development of business relationships and dialogue with our suppliers. If we feel that improvements are needed in regard to environmental protection or social standards, we offer our support – if necessary we even involve our Works Council members, company doctors and environmental experts. In addition, a mandatory e-learning training module on the topic of sustainability has been available in nine languages on the central business platform of the Volkswagen Group since early 2012. If a supplier is not able or willing to meet our sustainability requirements despite our support, we will consider terminating our cooperation.

In future too, we will continuously and systematically develop our sustainability concept in our supplier relationships. At present we are developing a concept for more effective monitoring of compliance with standards by our suppliers, who are spread out across the entire globe.

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