Polestar: Recycling is not our responsibility, demands industry standard

Polestar: Recycling is not our responsibility, demands industry standard

The CEO of Volvo-backed electric car brand Polestar has called for an industry standard for measuring CO2 emissions from car manufacturing.

Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath says car companies shouldn’t be solely responsible for recycling vehicles and their components – despite company leaders declaring the world is in a “rampant climate crisis”.

Last April, Polestar pledged to develop a carbon-neutral car supporting a net-zero manufacturing process by 2030. And not just to offset emissions from planting trees. The ambitious proposal also applied to parts suppliers and shipping companies.

Now the company has acknowledged that it needs regulators’ help to reach net zero.

Polestar’s sustainability expert Fredrika Klaren has acknowledged that net-zero emissions – from the factory to the end of a vehicle’s life – remain a very ambitious goal for now.

“We don’t know how to achieve it. It really is a moonshot gate. [But] I have hope that we can achieve it,” Klaren told the media during a preview of the Polestar 3 SUV in Europe last week ahead of Australian showrooms arriving in early 2024.

Klaren said one of the most important steps toward net zero is encouraging other automakers to pursue the same goal.

“We know a lot of[car companies]are doing amazing things, and there’s a lot of sustainability work going on at all car companies now,” Klaren said.

“But we’re in a very traditional system, so it’s very difficult for us to talk to each other and work together. For a very good reason: that it has been heavily regulated in the auto industry.

“In this new era, like other industries like fashion, we need to do it and work together to meet the immense challenge that we share. To be honest, we have to get out of there [traditional mindset]. We invite others to participate in this project.”

Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath acknowledged the importance of recycling, but the executive didn’t say it was the responsibility of automakers.

“The recycling business itself, no, we don’t have to get involved with that,” said Ingenlath.

“Our job is to actually engineer and design the cars (to) … enable recycling that preserves the value of the materials. Our job starts much earlier to support the recycling industry.”

Ingenlath called for an industry standard to measure CO2 emissions from vehicles from different manufacturers so consumers and watchdogs could compare pollutant emissions between auto giants.

“Actually, we are striving – we would like to have a standardized industry norm for assessing a car’s carbon footprint,” said Ingenlath. Can the industry actually agree on a sensible approach?’

“And there was very little feedback and very little initiative to come to a standard together. This is a bit frustrating on our part. Time is running out, at some point we will miss a hell of a lot that we did not find the right moment to agree on a standard for calculating the carbon footprint.”

Glenn Butler

Glenn Butler is one of Australia’s best known motoring journalists, having spent the last 25 years covering cars on radio, television, the internet and print. He is a former editor of Wheels, Australia’s most prestigious motoring magazine, and was previously deputy editor of Drive.com.au. Glenn has also worked at senior level for two of Australia’s best known car companies, so he knows the care and thought that goes into the design and development of new cars. As a journalist, he has driven everything from Ferraris to Fiats on every continent except Antarctica (which he hopes to one day reach) and loves discovering each car’s unique personality and strengths. Glenn knows that a car’s price is not an indication of its competence, and even the cheapest car can improve your life and broaden your horizons.

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