As an automotive global corporation, Volkswagen is accustomed with criticism expressed by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that approach the company on various environmental issues.
As a response, Volkswagen pursues an open-minded, inspirational and constructive dialogue with its stakeholders in a way that ensures that all parties will benefit. An example is the long-term partnership Volkswagen has established with The German Society for Nature Conservation (NABU) to promote sustainable development. The partners learn from each other through a process of dialogue. The key areas of co-operation include:
• Advice given by NABU to the Volkswagen Group on Sustainable Mobility. The main focus is on alternative fuels, new recycling strategies and innovative traffic management.
• Engagement in joint projects such as; the Environmental Award for innovative start-ups and ongoing fuel-saving driver trainings. In those training sessions, drivers learn how to reduce fuel consumption by up to 25 percent, which is beneficial from a cost as well as an environmental perspective. Specially trained Volkswagen professionals work alongside the participants and provide them with valuable tips and tricks during the training.
• The provision of vehicles on permanent loan to NABU.
• Volkswagen and NABU work closely on publicity. Together, they have carried out workshops and discussion forums on topics from the transport sector, which are intended to provide input for socio-political debates.
• NGO and industry interests often diverge. Both parties are therefore afraid of potential conflicts of interests.
• Both partners must benefit from mutual co-operation, more than from sponsorship only.
• This joint initiative implemented by the Volkswagen Group and NABU extends well beyond short-term projects. By working together, the two parties were able to develop deeper insights into their operations and both discovered new perspectives.
• A win-win situation has been created: NABU has come a step closer to reaching its aim of contributing to environmental protection, whereas Volkswagen has combined its core competences with innovative models of sustainable mobility.
• NABU has improved its reputation as a professional political advisor.
• Volkswagen has improved its reputation of being a dialogue- and CSR-oriented company.