Volvo to Go Leather-Free By 2030

Photo of a silver Volvo electric car charging against a pink background

Volvo wants all of its electric models to be leather-free by 2030. The move aligns with the company’s strategy to become more sustainable.

The Swedish firm announced a series of ambitious “climate action” plans on Thursday. They include incorporating “recycled and bio-based” content in its new cars, with the goal of becoming a fully circular business by 2040. Volvo aims to replace a quarter of its materials with the more sustainable components by 2025. As part of its targets, it is also calling for all of its immediate suppliers to use 100 percent renewable energy by 2025.

Starting with the new C40 Recharge, all new fully electric Volvo models will be completely leather-free. By 2030, the company aims to sell only fully electric cars, per its announcement earlier this year. 

Photo of a dark blue electric Volvo charging
Volvo is going more than just leather-free. The company is seeking to replace the byproducts of factory farming across other areas in its supply chain. | Volvo

What will Volvo replace leather with?

According to Volvo, the move to ditch leather is due to the environmental impact of cattle farming, including greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation. Livestock farming is estimated to be responsible for about 14.5 percent of human-caused global greenhouse gas emissions, according to UN estimates.

One material that the company is looking to use for its interiors is a textile called Nordico, which is made from recycled materials such as plastic bottles, as well as “material from sustainable forests in Sweden and Finland, and corks recycled from the wine industry.” 

While Volvo is going leather-free, it will continue to offer wool blends from suppliers that are “certified to source responsibly.” The automobile producer is looking to “ensure full traceability and animal welfare” across its wool supply chain. It aims to reduce the use of the byproducts of factory farming, which are commonly found in plastic, rubber, lubricants, and adhesives. 

“Finding products and materials that support animal welfare will be challenging, but that is no reason to avoid this important issue,” says Stuart Templar, Director of Global Sustainability at Volvo Cars. “This is a journey worth taking. Having a truly progressive and sustainable mindset means we need to ask ourselves difficult questions and actively try to find answers.”

Volvo is not alone in its ambitions to vastly improve its sustainability. Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Honda, and Porsche have similar plans for electrification. 

Governments are cracking down on diesel-powered vehicles as well. President Joe Biden announced earlier this year that he seeks to make half of the new cars sold in the U.S. electric by 2030. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a ban on new diesel cars in the U.K., also starting in 2030.