Press Release

23 February 2024

15 years for climate and nature conservation: Volkswagen Financial Services celebrate this anniversary with NABU and invest EUR 1.4 million in major Finnish peatland conservation project

Lower Saxony's Minister for Economic Affairs Olaf Lies delivers welcoming address at the anniversary event in Braunschweig

Long-standing NABU cooperation focusing on environmentally friendly fleet management, peatland conservation, and river renaturation

Establishment of peatland conservation funds as milestones to secure long-term financing of climate protection projects

Successful renaturation of 14 peatlands in Germany and major international projects in Poland and the Baltic States made possible

River renaturation is the second pillar of environmental commitment

Braunschweig/Berlin, 23 February 2024. Volkswagen Financial Services and NABU – Naturschutzbund Deutschland e.V. (the German Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union) are celebrating their 15 years of collaboration this year. From the very beginning of the cooperation, both partners have aimed to provide fleet managers with incentives for the use of environmentally friendly vehicle technologies while simultaneously promoting specific climate and nature conservation projects. In particular, the focus of this commitment has been on the restoration and conservation of peatlands, as these are of exceptional importance for climate protection and biodiversity. In their efforts, NABU and Volkswagen Financial Services have been pioneers in climate-oriented peatland conservation, as the topic received little public attention at the start of their collaboration. At the anniversary event in Braunschweig, Olaf Lies, Lower Saxony's Minister for Economic Affairs, Transport, Construction and Digitalization, praised the cooperation partners: "As one of the federal states with the most peatlands, their conservation is of special significance here in Lower Saxony. The commitment of Volkswagen Financial Services and NABU shows how successful such cooperation can be in advancing a topic that is so important for climate protection, even across national borders. Politics, society, business and environmental organizations must continue to work intensively on this issue together."


Dr Christian Dahlheim, Chairman of the Management Board of Volkswagen Financial Services AG, said: "Peatland conservation has been a matter close to our hearts for 15 years now and is an integral part of our sustainability commitment. Many of our employees have actively contributed to the conservation efforts on the Großes Moor near Gifhorn. Furthermore, we have effectively placed peatland conservation on the political and social agenda. This is a great success for everyone involved."

NABU Federal Managing Director Leif Miller added: "Our long-standing collaboration with Volkswagen Financial Services shows that partnerships between the business sector and nature conservation organizations are by no means a contradiction, but can have a very positive impact. Without the support of Volkswagen Financial Services, many projects could not have been realized. Regardless of this, critical and open dialog is crucial for us. We have been practicing this approach for many years."

New major projects in Finland to start in 2024

The collaboration on climate protection is also continuing in 2024. As part of their sustainability strategy, Volkswagen Financial Services are investing around EUR 1.4 million in two new major peatland conservation projects in Finland. The funds will be directly invested in the purchase of peatland areas worth protecting, the preparation of the necessary expert reports, and the concrete implementation of the measures. The two areas are expected to be located in Ilomantsi / Karelia and south of Oulu / Ostrobothnia and together cover around 1,000 hectares – the equivalent of around 1,400 football pitches. The start of the first renaturation work is planned for this year.

Dahlheim stressed the following: "Our goal is to avoid or minimize the CO2 emissions of our business operations as consistently as possible. With regard to the non-avoidable portion, we will continue to invest in credible projects with a positive climate impact. NABU is and will remain our key partner in this endeavor. The projects in Finland impressively demonstrate the potential that successful peatland conservation projects can have."

Miller pointed out: "The launch of the peatland conservation projects in Finland opens another chapter in our joint collaboration. Internationally, too, we need to focus more specifically on peatland conservation. Every cent is doubly well invested here – both for climate protection and for biodiversity."

Focus: Successful implementation of climate and nature conservation projects

Since the start of the collaboration in 2009, 14 peatlands in Germany have already been rewetted. Major flagship projects were the renaturation of the Theikenmeer (Emsland), the Großes Moor (Gifhorn), the Lichtenmoor (Nienburg/Weser), the Königsdorfer Weidfilz (Bad Tölz), and the Sulinger Moor (Nienburg/Weser). In addition, there are large peatland areas in Poland and the Baltic States being restored as part of the international LIFE Peat Restore project.

The basis for this is provided by the German and the International Peatland Conservation Fund, which were jointly established by NABU and Volkswagen Financial Services. The two funds provide long-term financing for peatland conservation projects and also enable public funding to be leveraged.

Intact peatlands have an important function as carbon reservoirs for global climate protection. However, they can no longer fulfill this function due to drainage and degradation through human use. Peatlands that are dried out, damaged or destroyed emit large quantities of greenhouse gases such as CO2, methane and nitrous oxide, which further heat up the atmosphere. With more than 45 million metric tons of CO2 emitted each year, the peatland in Germany is the country's second-largest single source after the energy-related emissions.

In addition to the conservation of these wetland ecosystems, Volkswagen Financial Services are also committed – as a second pillar – to the renaturation of rivers together with NABU in order to promote both flood protection and biodiversity. The commitment is currently focused on the projects along the River Aller (Verden). Further projects are in preparation.

Including the new Finland project, Volkswagen Financial Services have provided NABU with almost EUR 9 million for climate and nature conservation projects since the start of their collaboration.

NABU anniversary finnland project

Volkswagen Financial Services hands over symbolic cheque to NABU for Finland project

F.l.t.r.: Dr Christian Dahlheim (CEO of Volkswagen Financial Services AG), Frank Fiedler (CFO of Volkswagen Financial Services AG), Leif Miller (Federal Managing Director of NABU - Naturschutzbund Deutschland e. V.), Olaf Lies (Lower Saxony Minister for Economic Affairs, Transport, Building and Digitisation)

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 TRATON Financial Services and of Porsche Holding Salzburg. The key business fields embrace dealer and customer financing, leasing, bank and insurance activities, fleet management and mobility services. Volkswagen Financial Services have a total of 17,713 employees worldwide – including 7,692 alone in Germany. Volkswagen Financial Services report total assets of around EUR 240 billion, an operating profit of EUR 5.60 billion, and a portfolio of around 22.0 million current contracts (as at: 31.12.2022)

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