The plan won't be easily implemented, VW acknowledges. For one reason, the automaker does not have transparency over CO2 emissions along its entire global supply chain. Even its suppliers do not have full visibility.
But the automaker expects to get started on the effort in conjunction with the planned ramp-up of its I.D. electric vehicle. VW estimates that the EV's manufacturing will result in one and a half times as much CO2 emissions as the production of a comparable Golf diesel, half of which will stem from its suppliers.
"It's a marathon that we've only just begun," Philippi said. "It will be a learning process for both sides."
So far it has identified about a third of its expected CO2 savings through a variety of measures. It began by instructing the program's key supplier, LG Chem, to produce lithium ion battery cells using renewable energy. VW itself is converting its Zwickau, Germany, plant to run on clean hydropower supplied by the Austrian utility Verbund.
The goal is to deliver a vehicle that is carbon neutral. CO2 that cannot be either reduced or avoided altogether will be offset using certified programs.
But VW also plans to help by sharing best practices and holding supplier training programs and CO2 workshops to define concrete measures.
"It's only logical that CO2 becomes a part of our selection process," Philippi said, "since at the end of the day we have an economic rationale to do so as we will be offsetting these carbon emissions for a price."