“We must not underestimate the significance of new technology”

It is a fantastic feeling to be able to sit down with some of the world’s most skilled politicians and representatives of the business community and discuss how we are to resolve the future challenges in the area of transport. It makes me proud that, in this context, the Volvo Group is not only a credible discussion partner with respect to the sustainable society, but is also able to present new innovative solutions that make sustainable transport a practical reality already today.
If the world is to face up to the threat from climate change by reducing emissions of greenhouse gases, we cannot underestimate the significance of new technology.

If the world is to face up to the threat from climate change by reducing emissions of greenhouse gases, we cannot underestimate the significance of new technology.

Nearly one year ago, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon, decided to appoint a High-Level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport. The panel gathers politicians and representatives of the business community worldwide and the Volvo Group is included as an expert on road transport. The aim is for the panel to present a final report to the Secretary-General of the United Nations containing recommendations for sustainable transport that are feasible on global, national and local levels.

I represented the Volvo Group during the second meeting of the panel, which focused on city traffic and was held recently in Milan, Italy. Since the Volvo Group also launched its new electric bus at the major UITP World Congress and Exhibition in Milan, where representatives of public transport worldwide were gathered, I had the opportunity to show the other members of the UN panel what a sustainable transport solution for cities of the future would be like in reality. It is the same electric bus that is now operating in Gothenburg within the framework of the ElectriCity project.

Technology and the significance of the innovations were my focus during the meeting. If the world is to face up to the threat from climate change by reducing emissions of greenhouse gases, we must not underestimate the significance of new technology. Volvo’s new electric buses that operate on renewable energy are one example that demonstrates how we can reduce the environmental impact of transportation today.

But, it is important to remember that sustainability is not only about environmental impact. It is equally important for transport to be socially and economically sustainable. Here the ball is in the politicians’ court. Through legislation, they are the ones who can create the prerequisites for sustainable transport.

The business community and politicians must collaborate to resolve the major challenges facing us. This is why there was such a positive feeling during the meeting in Milan. It became clear that everyone on the panel was striving toward the same goal. Or, as Mr. Wu Hongdo, United Nations’ Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, stated: “already after two meetings the group has become intertwined as a family.”

Niklas Gustafsson
Chief Sustainability Officer