About This Report
GRI G4-22, G4-23

The Volkswagen Group’s Sustainability Report has been published every year since 2011; this year is the second time that the report has been published exclusively online. In addition to information about the Group’s sustainability activities in the 2016 financial year (January 1 to December 31, 2016), the report also contains selected information from the 2017 financial year. The editorial content was finalized on April 12, 2017. The report is available in German and English. We anticipate that the next Group Sustainability Report (for 2017) will be published in the second quarter of 2018.

The Strategy chapter presents the fundamentals of the Group’s strategy for implementing sustainable development across all its brands. Primarily, we discuss the Group’s new future program TOGETHER – Strategy 2025, which was presented at the Group’s Annual General Meeting on June 22, 2016 and had been further specified at the Annual Media Conference and Investor Conference 2017 on March 14, 2017.

The EconomyPeople and Environment chapters set out our management approach in each case, before outlining how the various aspects of these topics are implemented. The key Group-wide indicators and the overarching corporate sustainability roadmap are described in the Facts and Figures chapter

True to the character of a progress report, we aim to focus on the essentials while at the same time communicating a balanced picture of our activities that takes account of all Group brands and companies. Audi, MAN, Porsche, Scania and ŠKODA publish their own sustainability reports, either annually or at two-year intervals.

Fundamentals

This report was drawn up in accordance with the fourth generation of guidelines from the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI-G4) with the aid of an IT system that, in addition to Group-wide data acquisition and management, will also be used for stakeholder management within the Group. In terms of content, important guidance was provided by the questionnaires and appraisals of sustainability-oriented rating agencies and RobecoSAM in particular. We also took our lead from Stakeholder Engagement Standard AA1000.

To identify material topics for the Volkswagen Group resulting from various global challenges, we drew upon the findings of the Volkswagen Group’s Stakeholder Panel which has been in place for many years now, as well as the results of the latest comprehensive stakeholder surveys conducted by Group companies Audi, MAN, Porsche and Volkswagen Financial Services. 

The resultant materiality matrix (see “Our Approach”) was validated by the Corporate CSR & Sustainability Steering Group. 

The present report takes account not only of the recommendations of the Stakeholder Panel following the latter’s evaluation of the 2014 Group Sustainability Report (see “Stakeholder Management”), but also of the advice provided by the auditors.

Standards

The present sustainability report takes account of the G4 reporting guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) in line with the “Comprehensive” option. At the same time, we set out in our GRI Content Index available online how we implement the requirementsof the United Nations Global Compact (UN GC) and of the German Sustainability Code (GSC). The statements and references that appear in the index relate to the 2016 business year (January 1 to December 31, 2016). Selected information were reviewed by auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers GmbH Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft (see “here”). The GRI has confirmed the location of indicators G4-17 to G4-27 through its Materiality Disclosure Service.

Additional Information

In Additional Information, we provide a numbered list of links so that readers can rapidly access documents that discuss the selected content in more detail. The latest news on sustainability at the Volkswagen Group can be found on the Group portal: https://www.volkswagenag.com/en/sustainability.html.

Frame of reference

The information in this report relates to the Volkswagen Group as a whole. If any information relates to individual Group brands only, this is clearly indicated in the copy.

Forward-looking statements

This sustainability report contains forward-looking statements on the business development of the Volkswagen Group. These statements are based on assumptions relating to the development of the economic and legal environment in individual countries and economic regions, and in particular for the automotive industry, which we have made on the basis of the information available to us and which we consider to be realistic at the time of going to press. The estimates given entail a degree of risk, and actual developments may differ from those forecast. Any changes in significant parameters relating to our key sales markets, or any significant shifts in exchange rates relevant to the Volkswagen Group, will have a corresponding effect on the development of our business. In addition, there may be departures from our expected business development if the assessments of the factors influencing sustainable value enhancement, as well as risks and opportunities, presented in this sustainability report develop in a way other than we are currently expecting, or if additional risks and opportunities or other factors emerge that affect the development of our business.