Press Release

July 17, 2020

E-mobility and climate protection: Renaturation of Sulinger Moor picks up speed

CO2 emissions will be halted in the long term

Lower Saxony's Environment Minister Lies visits the project area

First renaturation measures can start this year

Braunschweig/Hamburg, 17 July 2020. The joint efforts being carried out by Volkswagen Financial Services, the German Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU) and the public sector in the "Sulinger Moor" peatland conservation project are bearing the first fruits. Representatives of the parties involved came together to get an overview of the current status of the project before the impending start of rewetting operations in the first sections. Lower Saxony's Environment Minister Olaf Lies praised the project: "The project to re-naturalize the Sulinger Moor is a very good example of how partners from business, government, the NGOs and agriculture are all pulling together in the same direction to engage in effective climate protection on their own doorstep. The German auto industry, in particular, has a key role to play in demonstrating that the manufacture of high-quality products in a climate-neutral manner and the creation of high added value are both possible at the same time." The renaturation of the Sulinger Moor is a central component of the "Blue Fleet" electromobility program initiated by Volkswagen Financial Services, which are funding the implementation of the project. "Conserving peatland has been a matter close to our hearts for many years. Such projects show that every euro spent on them is a doubly good investment because they not only protect the climate but also promote biodiversity as well," says Knut Krösche, Member of the Board of Volkswagen Leasing GmbH.

NABU President Jörg-Andreas Krüger expressed satisfaction with the progress in the project area: "We are very pleased that the renaturation of the Sulinger Moor is now picking up speed thanks to the collaboration of everyone involved. It is good to see that the many years of commitment are now leading to a situation where a special ecosystem can develop here once again and the previous emission of large quantities of climate-damaging greenhouse gases can be halted."

Volkswagen Financial Services initiated their "Blue Fleet" electromobility program for fleet customers together with NABU. Under this program, Volkswagen Financial Services are planning to achieve an ideally positive balance of CO2 emissions during the first leasing term of e-vehicles in their portfolio. Although these vehicles do not emit any CO2 emissions during their operation directly, the charging current that is used must also be taken into account. Because of the electricity mix that exists in Germany, this is not always derived from renewable energy sources. Therefore, in proportion to the extent that vehicles in the company's leasing portfolio are actually used, Volkswagen Financial Services are investing in specific NABU climate protection projects. One of the core projects is the renaturation of the Sulinger Moor in Lower Saxony (located between Hannover and Bremen).

Intact moors play an important role in global climate protection as carbon reservoirs. As a result of drainage and agricultural exploitation, however, they can no longer fulfill this function effectively. Dried-out moors emit large quantities of greenhouse gases such as CO2, methane and nitrous oxide, which further heat up the atmosphere. With emissions amounting to more than 45 million metric tons of CO2, the peatland in Germany is currently the second-largest single source after the energy-related emissions.

The fundamental requirement for carrying out moor renaturation measures is the existence of contiguous project areas, as large as possible, that can be rewetted over the long term. The "Sulinger Moor" land consolidation proceedings, which have been underway now for two years, are laying the foundation for exactly this and have been made possible by the support of many participants. Thanks to the engagement of the State of Lower Saxony, the City of Sulingen and NABU Sulingen, among others, and thanks to the ongoing professional assistance provided by the Office for Regional Development Leine-Weser during the land reallocation process, measures could be introduced to improve the agricultural structure and to revitalize part of the Sulinger Moor as an important contribution to nature conservation and climate protection.

Information for editors:

Volkswagen Financial Services are a business division of the Volkswagen AG group of companies and comprise Volkswagen Financial Services AG along with its associated companies, Volkswagen Bank GmbH, Porsche Financial Services, and the financial services companies in the USA and Canada that belong directly or indirectly to Volkswagen AG – with the exception of the financial services of the Scania brand and Porsche Holding Salzburg. The key business fields embrace dealer and customer financing, leasing, the bank and insurance business, fleet management and mobility offers. Volkswagen Financial Services have a total of 16,571 employees worldwide – including 7,414 alone in Germany. Volkswagen Financial Services report total assets of around EUR 223.5 billion, an operating result of EUR 2.96 billion and a portfolio of around 21.5 million current contracts (as at: 31.12.2019).

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