04 March 2021
One year after Porsche became a member of the Value Balancing Alliance, Sebastian Rudolph, Vice President Communications, talks about the learnings of Porsche in their first year.
Why did Porsche become a member of the alliance?
Rudolph: Sustainability and social responsibility play a key role for us. We established the Sustainability Rating as a binding award criterion for suppliers of production materials in 2019. We use this to check observance of our social and environmental standards or compliance requirements, for example. We also take responsibility in the extraction process for raw materials, for example as a member of the Responsible Mica Initiative. The aim is to improve working conditions in the mining of mica pigments for car paints. In addition, we are pursuing an ambitious decarbonisation programme and have already implemented carbon-neutral manufacturing at the Zuffenhausen site. By 2025, around half of our fleet will be electrically powered.
Porsche has been on board for one year – what has happened in that time?
Rudolph: A great many positive things. The first pilot phase has been completed and the findings are good. We examined ourselves very closely and asked: what contribution does Porsche make to the gross domestic product? How many jobs have we created, directly and indirectly? How much human capital have we created through further education? And what is the status of our ecological footprint? All these aspects were analysed, quantified and monetised. We looked at our production sites in Stuttgart and Leipzig as well as the business activities at our international sites. In total, 93 companies belonging to the Porsche Group were considered. Supply chains were also analysed: that is to say the environmental, social and economic impacts of the Group even before deliveries reach our sites. We have never examined ourselves in such a comprehensive light and it was really interesting.
What do these results mean for Porsche? And what’s next for the Value Balancing Alliance?
Rudolph: The results show the contribution that we make globally and exactly what it is. The first step was to understand these impacts. Now it’s about action. With the next two pilot phases, the methodology will be consolidated and refined. If all the impacts of our actions can be expressed in numbers, better decisions can be made.
The VBA methodology brings comparability – will Porsche be in a continuous duel with other automobile manufacturers when it comes to social and ecological sustainability in the future?
Rudolph: There is already comparability within the industry. There are ratings that compare the sustainability performance of companies. Sustainability reporting is also developing in this direction. This creates transparency for the public but it is also valuable for the company itself to know where it stands. Especially if you set out to take on social responsibility.
In times of economic uncertainty and the coronavirus crisis, the question of whether it might not be more important for companies to secure jobs instead of spending on sustainability projects could be asked ...
Rudolph: Of course, it’s a company’s responsibility to preserve jobs. Porsche is setting a very good example here. At the same time, it’s about creating values, such as looking after one another, like in a family. The central elements of our culture at Porsche are more important than ever. Employees are increasingly paying attention to how sustainable their employer is. Our high level of attractiveness as an employer is good proof of that, and an incentive for future projects at the same time.
Sebastian Rudolph, Vice President Communications