Volvo says it wants all its cars to be leather-free by 2030 

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Volvo is one of several automakers looking to change the materials used in its vehicles.
Artur Widak | NurPhoto | Getty Images

Volvo Cars wants all the models it sells to be leather-free by 2030, a move which represents the latest example of how automakers are looking to make their vehicles more sustainable.

In an announcement Thursday, the Swedish firm also said it wanted a quarter of the material used in its new cars to “consist of recycled and bio-based content” by 2025.

One of the interior materials it will look to use, called Nordico, is made up of textiles derived from recycled materials like polyethylene terephthalate bottles as well as “material from sustainable forests in Sweden and Finland, and corks recycled from the wine industry.”

While it intends to scrap the use of leather in its vehicles, the company said it would “continue to offer wool blend options from suppliers that are certified to source responsibly.”

In a statement, Stuart Templar, Volvo Cars’ director of global sustainability, said: “Finding products and materials that support animal welfare will be challenging, but that is no reason to avoid this important issue.”

In March, Volvo Cars — which is headquartered in Sweden but owned by China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group — said it planned to become a “fully electric car company” by the year 2030.

“There is no long-term future for cars with an internal combustion engine,” Henrik Green, Volvo Cars’ chief technology officer, said at the time. “We are firmly committed to becoming an electric-only car maker and the transition should happen by 2030,” Green said.

A number of automotive manufacturers have announced plans to kit their vehicles out with materials other than leather. Back in 2019, Elon Musk’s Tesla said the interior of its Model 3 was “100% leather-free.”

Other examples include Porsche — a brand owned by the Volkswagen Group — offering customers a leather-free option for the interior of the Taycan, an all-electric sports car.

As concerns about sustainability mount, companies from a range of sectors are looking at new ways of packaging and delivering their products in a bid to mitigate their environmental footprint.

In June, consumer goods giant Unilever said a prototype of what it described as a “paper-based laundry detergent bottle” had been developed for its brand OMO and would be introduced to Brazil by early next year.

Earlier this month, online food delivery business Just Eat said it would work with CLUBZERO to trial reusable packaging in London over a three-month period.

In Feb. 2020, Just Eat said it had, together with packaging firm Notpla, developed a “fully recyclable” takeout box lined with seaweed.

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