As of late last month, Volkswagen was removed from Dow Jones Sustainability Indices list of automotive industry leaders in sustainability. But why? Because the car maker is deeply involved in a diesel emissions cheating scandal.
Early in September, the auto giant was named best in class by Dow because of the company’s sustainability practices. According to the report released by Dow, Volkswagen was based upon a foundation of sustainability. The manufacturer was cited for integrating climate risks, social equity, digitization, and resource scarcity into its overall strategy.
All of that sounds great, but the truth is that Volkswagen stands accused of installing software into 11 million diesel-powered cars around the globe that is specifically designed to cheat emissions testing. The Environmental Protection Agency revealed that the software was the cause of hundreds of thousands of tons of pollutants being thrown into the air.
In the world of corporate sustainability, company’s police themselves. There are few, if any, regulations demanding that companies manufacturer products in such a way that the environment is not impacted. The fact that Volkswagen has not only rigged their cars, but touted an image of sustainability, is only a black mark on their reputation.
People who bought the vehicles based upon Volkswagen’s stellar reputation are shocked. Many are wondering what will be done to fix their vehicles. Volkswagen is undoubtedly wondering if it can recover from such a blatant lie. The ex-CEO of the company did issue an apology, but is it too little too late?
One thing is for certain, corporations would do well to be inspected by a third party. Policing themselves is doing nothing to build consumer trust. Whether or not this will happen in the near future is anyone’s guess. If it does, it just may be this scandal that made it happen.