Sweden-based Volvo Cars announced that the container ships carrying containers of production material for the Swedish car manufacturer are now making their journeys with renewable fuel instead of traditional fossil fuel.

Volvo Cars has been working on this initiative together with its logistics partners Maersk, Kuehne+Nagel and DB Schenker. These logistics service providers have from 1 June 2023 switched to renewable fuel for equivalent energy needed for all container transports done for Volvo Cars.

As the first global car maker to announce such a switch, Volvo Cars will achieve an immediate reduction in fossil CO2 emissions from intercontinental ocean freight by 55,000 tonnes over a year.

Renewable fuels, Volvo stated, reduce CO2 emissions by at least 84% compared to fossil fuel. The reduction is equivalent to the CO2 emissions of a full truck driving around the equator about 1,200 times.

The fuel used is Fatty Acid Methyl Esters and is based on renewable and sustainable sources, mainly waste cooking oil. No feedstock related to palm oil or palm oil production is used.

Volvo Cars will use renewable fuel for inbound ocean container transports of production material destined for manufacturing plants based in Europe and the Americas, as well as all spare parts distribution made globally by ocean container transports.

“Renewable fuel is not the end game for removing CO2 from the world’s ocean freight needs,” said Javier Varela, chief operating officer and deputy CEO of Volvo Cars. “Yet this initiative shows that we can act now and implement solutions that achieve significant results during the wait for long-term technological alternatives”, he added.

“We don’t view this initiative as a competitive advantage. On the contrary, we want to spark other car makers into action as well, to increase demand for carbon efficient ocean transports and to establish renewable fuels as a mid-term solution that works. We all have a responsibility to act”, Varela noted.

Volvo Cars ambition is to reduce its lifecycle carbon footprint per car by 40% between 2018 and 2025, which requires a 25% reduction in operational emissions, including logistics. The car maker is also aiming for climate-neutral manufacturing by 2025.