Volkswagen South Africa wants to be carbon neutral by 2030

  • Aligning with the priorities of the Volkswagen brand worldwide, Volkswagen Group South Africa (VWSA) has set its sights on an ambitious goal: for its Kariega plant to become a carbon neutral production plant by 2030.

VWSA is already well on their way to achieving this, putting environmental sustainability first through a range of projects being implemented at its Kariega plant, as well as its sites in Sandton and Centurion.

Under the umbrella of their Zero Impact Factory programme, VWSA has placed its focus on biodiversity, clean energy, efficient resource management and waste reduction, to name a few.

Notably, VWSA has installed solar power at its sites capable of generating 4 488 MWh of electricity annually, with R34 million invested to date. Additionally, a 3MW solar carport system will be installed at the employee car park for the Kariega plant from September 2024, accounting for an additional investment of R55 million and a further 4 500 MWh in generation capacity.

Loadshedding crisis

Volkswagen has also been forced to rent a backup diesel generator plant with a capacity of 16 MW for the Kariega facility for the next two years. The generator will provide power to the plant during loadshedding and other outage periods.

Other initiatives 

Meanwhile, the company’s waste reduction initiatives have delivered impressive results, with a 5% reduction in landfill waste in 2023. VWSA has reduced its cardboard box waste by 17 tonnes and its plastic waste by 46 tonnes in 2022 and 2023. The company also continues its efforts to promote biodiversity through projects such as spekboom planting and the removal of invasive alien plant species at its Kariega sites

Through all these and other projects, VWSA has already reduced its environmental impact by 57% compared to the baseline measured in 2010. This includes reductions of:

  • 56% in energy usage
  • 53% in CO₂ emissions
  • 73% in use of freshwater
  • 76% in waste

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

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