About this Report
The Volkswagen Group’s Sustainability Report has been published annually since 2011. This report contains information about the Group’s sustainability activities in the 2014 financial year (January 1 to December 31, 2014). The report, which is available in German and English, went to press on January 31, 2015. The next Group Sustainability Report will be published in the second quarter of 2016.
The Strategy chapter presents the fundamentals of the Group’s strategy for implementing sustainable development across all its brands. The Economy, People 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 Indicators and Goals chapter. Significant changes in holdings or in the data acquisition process are described on pages 5 and 116. 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.
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 is to be used for Group-wide data acquisition and control activities, as well as for stakeholder management within the Group. Important guidance in terms of content 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 the 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 on 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 its evaluation of the 2013 Group Sustainability Report (see "Stakeholder Management"), but also of the advice provided by the auditors.
This report has been approved by the Board of Management of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft and verified by a firm of auditors (see "Assurance Report"). The GRI has confirmed the location of the indicators G4-17 to G4-27 through its Materiality Disclosure Service (see "GRI Index"). Compliance with the GRI indicators is shown in the GRI Content Index (see "GRI Index"), as is the implementation of the relevant criteria for the Communication on Progress to the United Nations Global Compact. The GRI Content Index also documents compliance with the German Sustainability Code.
The contents of this report are closely interlinked with further information published on a dedicated report microsite at sustainabilityreport2014.volkswagenag.com where all the copy and graphics in this report plus additional documents can be found (see "Supplementary Information") for a list of numbered links). At all points in the report where more in-depth information is available online, numbered symbols appear in the body copy. On the microsite a prominently displayed list of links showing the relevant numbers permits rapid access to the documents. The latest news on sustainability at the Volkswagen Group can be found on the Group portal, the contents of which have been brought into line with the 2014 report: www.volkswagenag.com/sustainability
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.
This report contains forward-looking statements on the development of the Volkswagen Group and its companies as well as on economic and political developments. These statements are assumptions that we based on all the information available to us at the time of reporting. If the assumptions made fail to materialize or additional risks occur, then the actual results, development and performance of the Group may differ from the forecasts given. The Volkswagen Group therefore assumes no liability for the forward-looking statements presented here.