Volkswagen Group South Africa’s (VWSA) Communications Division was awarded the Think Blue. Factory Environmental Engagement Award, ahead of 27 other plants in the Volkswagen Group for its continued communication of environmental awareness.
At the awards ceremony, held recently in Wolfsburg in Germany, it was announced that this is the first time this award was presented to a non-technical team for broad and engaging support of the Think Blue. Factory strategy.
Think Blue. Factory, introduced in 2011, is Volkswagen’s holistic programme for environmentally responsible manufacturing at its plants world-wide.
“During the process of rolling out the Think Blue. Factory concept to the over 3 500 employees at our manufacturing plant in Uitenhage, it was important for the Communications Division to ensure that everyone was able to translate these concepts into their everyday life,” said Matt Gennrich, General Manager: Group Communications at VWSA.
The roll-out campaign saw employees being given practical tips and ideas on reducing water usage, energy, waste, CO2 and solvent emissions. A Think Blue. Pavilion, built from recycled materials from the factory waste yard, was built and used as a one-stop facility aimed at educating employees on practical environmental ideas that can be implemented at home and work. At the pavilion, employees were given demonstrations on solar panels, importance of water tanks and how a worm farm can reduce waste whilst also giving one fertiliser for the garden.
“We have gone to great lengths to engage our employees on increased environmental consciousness, whether it is encouraging them to report water leaks to our in-plant plumbing service or establishing an Energy Management Team that has come up with innovative ways to reduce the factory’s energy consumption,” said Gennrich.
“To encourage employee participation, as a company we also negotiated special discounts with leading retailers on energy-efficient equipment, including solar-powered geysers, for use at home,” added Gennrich.
“The award is great recognition for our Communications Division who developed a comprehensive communication campaign to raise awareness among our employees about responsible resource usage and environmentally-friendly manufacturing practices,” said Thomas Schaefer, Chairman and
Managing Director of Volkswagen Group South Africa.
“Through the communication campaign, employees have found innovative solutions to reduce our carbon footprint. Since 2010, the Uitenhage factory has reduced energy consumption by 37%, waste by 64%, water by 56%, CO2 by 36% and solvent emissions by 16%,” added Schaefer.