Volvo is committing to dropping leather from the interiors of its vehicles in a move to promote animal welfare and sustainability.
The Swedish automaker has been a bit slow in its transition towards electrified automobiles, but the company says it hopes that half of its global sales will be electric by 2025, with a goal to exclusively sell battery-powered vehicles by 2030. Its first fully electric car, the XC40 Recharge, is set to arrive at the end of 2021. Volvo also owns a subsidiary called Polestar which makes high-end electric cars and that serves as an innovation lab for its parent company.
Cattle industry — Some people might argue that it’s more environmentally sustainable to use a cow’s hide rather than discard it once the meat is processed. But cows produce high CO2 emissions, and in principle, turning oils into long-lasting plastic is much better than continuing to raise cows for their hides. Of course, people still eat meat. But by dropping leather, Volvo is at least not itself supporting a fraught industry or increasing demand for its products.
Climate goals — The material that’s going to be used in all future Volvo electric cars is said to be high-quality, made from bio-based and recycled sources. The C40 Recharge uses one material called Nordico, a Volvo-special material made from recycled plastic bottles, bio-attributed material from sustainable forests, and corks recycled from the wine industry. The goal is to have 25 percent of materials in new vehicles consist of recycled and bio-based material by 2025, with all materials sustainable by 2040.
These type of climate goals aren’t just ethically sound, they double as effective marketing to consumers who care about these issues.