Planting a tree for every car sold, safeguarding environments and ecosystems, and taking care of endangered peregrine falcons - these are just some of the projects Škoda supports globally.
Škoda is committed to the preservation of biodiversity in its production sites around the world through initiatives and projects, in which employees are also actively involved. All activities regarding sustainability along the entire value chain are part of the brand's GreenFuture strategy.
"We are keenly aware of our responsibilities to the environment, and further minimising the ecological impact of our business activities is and will remain a crucial aspect of our corporate strategy. At our sites around the world, we are fully committed to preserve and restore biodiversity, even beyond our factory gates. Involving employees is key and is an appreciated formula, as they propose projects every year giving their contribution to protect the environment over the long term", explains Michael Oeljeklaus, Škoda Auto Board Member for Production and Logistics.
A new tree for every Škoda
Since 2007, Škoda has been planting a tree for every new vehicle delivered in the Czech Republic; by 2021, more than one million plants had been planted. Since 2017 the initiative has also involved Škoda dealers and customers, and in 2023 alone it is estimated that 70,000 trees will be added, which, by retaining water in the soil and preventing erosion, contribute to biodiversity and keep ecosystems in balance.
In addition, through collaboration with the Partnership Foundation, Škoda supports a program for which cities, municipalities, nonprofit organizations, schools, national parks, and other institutions across the country receive funding for their projects. The organizations purchase the seedlings and Škoda covers the costs, while also sharing in the efforts to care for them.
Focus on nature
In parallel, Škoda supports dendrological research since 2010, which is conducted every year over a period of two to three months during the summer and fall. With this survey, an inventory of all tree species has been created, totaling more than 1,200 trees and more than 460 shrubs found in an area of 24,000 m². A number of parameters including genus and species, trunk circumference, height, physiological age and others are monitored and recorded.
And again, in 2023 the Škoda Auto Endowment Fund launched the Krakonoš Gardens funding initiative with the support of the Škoda Auto Brand Management department and Volkswagen Financial Services. Krkonoše National Park is responsible for the program dedicated to protecting nature and promoting biodiversity, in terms of species in a particular environment and ecosystems in a specific place. Projects by municipalities, local governments and other organizations can receive funding of up to 10,000 euros.
From peregrine falcons to reforestation
Škoda also contributed to the preservation of a pair of endangered peregrine falcons that returned to nest at the Ško-Energo thermal power plant in Mladá Boleslav in early March. The falcon box was installed by Ško-Energo at a height of 168 meters and can be observed through a webcam; so far the raptor pair has raised 21 chicks.
For all Škoda initiatives, the contribution of employees is crucial: for example, as part of the "Škoda Trees" program they played a key role in reforesting the community of Hrušky (South Moravia) that had been hit by a tornado. In addition, each year about 300 employees and their families take part in the "Clean Up Czechia" campaign at Škoda Auto's three Czech sites.
From Europe to India
Škoda's commitment to biodiversity goes beyond the European continent: as a signatory to the India Business and Biodiversity Initiative, Škoda Auto Volkswagen India Pvt. Ltd. has activated a variety of projects in the Indian subcontinent. The Pune plant - which occupies an area of 500 hectares - provides a habitat for more than 340 species of plants, trees, and animals, and also includes a garden dedicated to bees and butterflies.
The Aurangabad plant is home to an Oxygen Park and a Green Hub consisting of 36,500 trees - soon to be planted 50,000 more - that not only produce oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide, but also allow some native bird species to nest. In addition, a photovoltaic plant has been installed in Pune that generates renewable energy from the plant's rooftop: it is one of the country's largest in the automotive sector, producing 26.6 million kWh per year.
In the Alibag district of Maharashtra, Škoda is supporting the reforestation of 100 hectares of degraded forest land with more than 500,000 mangrove trees, which will help absorb so-called blue carbon - carbon stored in coastal and marine ecosystems - and improve the livelihoods of local communities.
In addition, water harvesting projects will capture millions of gallons of rainwater in drought-prone regions. This not only supports biodiversity, but also recharges groundwater, benefiting local people, agriculture and livestock.
Škoda is committed to minimising the environmental impact of its operations through its "GreenFuture" strategy, which focuses on three main areas: GreenFactory, GreenProduct and GreenRetail. Škoda's three plants in the Czech Republic will achieve net-zero emissions by 2030, while CO2 emissions from new cars will be reduced by over 50 percent compared to 2020.
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