Swedish auto maker Volvo has announced that all of its new, fully electric models, will feature entirely leather-free interiors. As part of this ambition, the manufacturer says it is working actively to find high-quality and sustainable sources for many materials currently used in the wider car industry.
By 2025, the company is aiming for 25% of the material in new Volvo cars to consist of recycled and bio-based content, as it looks to become a fully circular business by 2040. As part of its climate action plans, it also aims for all its immediate suppliers, including material suppliers, to use 100% renewable energy by 2025.
The company’s move toward leather-free interiors is also driven by a concern about the perceived negative environmental impacts of cattle farming, including deforestation. Instead of leather interior options, Volvo Cars will offer its customers alternatives such as high-quality sustainable materials made from bio-based and recycled sources.
For example, Nordico, a new interior material created by Volvo, will consist of textiles made from recycled material such as PET bottles, bio-attributed material from sustainable forests in Sweden and Finland, and corks recycled from the wine industry – setting a new standard for premium interior design. This material will make its debut in the next generation of Volvo models.
Volvo says it will also continue to offer wool blend options from suppliers that are certified to source responsibly, as the company looks to ensure full traceability and animal welfare in its wool supply chain.
“Being a progressive car maker means we need to address all areas of sustainability, not just CO2 emissions,” said Stuart Templar, director of global sustainability at Volvo Cars. “Responsible sourcing is an important part of that work, including respect for animal welfare. Going leather-free inside our pure electric cars is a good next step towards addressing this issue.”
Volvo is also looking to reduce the use of residual products from livestock production commonly used within or in the production of plastics, rubber, lubricants and adhesives, either as part of the material or as a process chemical in the material’s production or treatment.
“Finding products and materials that support animal welfare will be challenging, but that is no reason to avoid this important issue,” concluded Templar. “This is a journey worth taking. Having a truly progressive and sustainable mindset means we need to ask ourselves difficult questions and actively try to find answers.”