The sustainability smarts that now come with your car

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19th Jul 2019

The 21st century has already given rise to some pretty significant social movements. But none as exciting and bursting with creativity and innovation as sustainability. We’re finally conceding to the notion that the planet can’t go on this way. Hopefully, just in the nick of time. And there are plenty of clever change-makers leading the charge. Farms are going vertical, robot bees have been sent out into flower fields to re-pollinate in an effort to compensate for dwindling bee numbers. You can get yourself a refillable water bottle that allows for UV light to penetrate the bottle and filter the water. Everybody’s favourite beach shoe – the thong – can now be made out of sugar cane, instead of rubber. And motoring is getting in on the action too.

By 2025, Volvo Cars has declared that at least 25 percent of the plastic in their cars will come from recycled material. To demonstrate the viability of the noble ambition, Volvo even made a demo version of the XC60 T8 plug-in hybrid SUV in which 170 parts were made with recycled material. That translates to 60kg of plastics that would otherwise go to waste, repurposed into a sleek new machine, ready for the road. Their plastic campaign doesn’t end there either. This global super company also doesn’t allow single-use plastics in their offices or at events they host. Saying yes or no to a straw as an individual can feel like a slow road to save the planet, but in this scale of International Corporation, the impact is massive.

Volvo and their Live Ocean Revival Experience at Bondi Icebergs as part of their Ocean Conversation iniatives.

Style leader, artist and mother-of-two Tash Sefton, who is a Volvo Ambassador, says she tries to make a growing number of her purchase decisions, better align with her philosophies. Both hers and the planets. “I’ve become very aware of the impact my family and I have on the world, and have been moving towards a responsible approach to my work and home life. Being a conscious consumer is now more important than ever,” she says. She keeps her busy life moving in a Volvo because it fulfils those growing principles. “I know my family and I are not only in safe hands, but the impact our car is having on the environment is considered. These cars are next-generation vehicles. Plastics are recycled, tested for strength and safety. They use only responsible leather, as well as offering leather-free options. It’s a luxury car that suits our lifestyle and ethics,” she adds.

Volvo and The Living Seawall at Milsons Point as part of their Ocean Conservation initiatives.

Volvo’s eco innovations are perhaps best displayed in Sefton’s home town of Sydney, in The Living Seawall. In collaboration with the Sydney Institute of Marine Science, Reef Design Lab and North Sydney Council, Volvo Car Australia worked together to install a wall in June 2018. The tiles made of concrete, meant to mimic the root structure of a mangrove. The Living Seawall is a prototype, designed to encourage and support marine biodiversity and improve water quality. So far, the results are overwhelmingly promising. Six months after installation, 50 species have been observed amongst the tiles, positioned in Milsons Point. 

Of course, the easiest way to make a greener choice behind the wheel is with an electric vehicle. With a lower reliance on fossil fuels, electric cars emit zero exhaust emissions and are significantly cheaper to run. Volvo has been making hybrid vehicles since 1992 but are set to launch five fully electric vehicles between 2019 and 2021. They’re planning for 50 percent of sales to be fully electric by 2025, and have committed to putting one million electrified cars on the road by that year. Expect to see a corresponding increase in charging stations to meet those ever-growing demands. Since electric vehicles are far quieter, both on the road and inside the car, you’ll have to listen intently, but you can hear the future coming softly. 


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