Every year, the Board adopts work procedures for the Board’s work.
The work procedures outline how the Board’s duties should be distributed, including the specific role and duties of the Chairman, instructions for the division of duties between the Board and the President and for the reporting of financial information to the Board. The Board has also adopted specific instructions for the Board’s committees, which are linked to the work procedures.
The Board’s work is mainly performed within the framework of formal Board meetings and through meetings in the respective committees of the Board. In addition, regular contact is maintained between the Chairman of the Board and the CEO in order to discuss ongoing business and to ensure that the Board’s decisions are executed.
In 2020, the extraordinary situation due to the Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the Board’s work. In 2020, there were nine regular Board meetings and one statutory Board meeting, all included in the Board’s initial meeting plan. In addition, the Board has met on a frequent basis during 2020, resulting in a total of 14 extraordinary Board meetings. Most of the Board meetings have been held as video conferences. The attendance of Board members at these meetings is presented here. The company’s auditor attended one Board meeting during the year.
An important part of the Board’s focus during 2020 has been on managing the immediate challenges and consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic including a focus on the Volvo Group colleagues, customers and business partners and to maintain a tight cost control and focus on cash flow. In addition, the Board has continued its focus on new technologies and the Group’s positioning in the transformation of the industry. Product development to meet the Group’s own as well as regulators’ climate related and other goals is one important part of this work.
Other important parts of the focus on new technologies and industry transformation include the Group’s strategic partnerships and other larger transactions. Here, the Volvo Group and Isuzu Motors signed an agreement in October 2020 to form a strategic alliance within commercial vehicles. Further, the Volvo Group and Daimler Truck AG signed an agreement to establish a new joint venture to develop, produce and commercialize fuel-cell systems for use in heavy-duty trucks as the primary focus, as well as other applications.
The Board is continuously updated about climate and sustainability related issues, for instance as part of the health and safety related issues, product plans, investment plans and talent review. During 2020, the Board has been continuously updated and involved in the development of the Group’s sustainability work, including the Group’s commitment to the Science Based Targets initiative (for further information, see page 29).
Climate related issues are considered mainly in relation to product plans and R&D investments, both of which are critical to meet changing customer demands, new business models, environmental impact and regulatory demands. Climate related and environmental regulations as well as technology shift and convergence are two of the Group’s top strategic risks and therefore also opportunities and critical topics to be dealt with at Board level.
During 2020, the Board decided on an overall financial plan and investment framework for the Group’s operations, including investments in R&D for both electrification and combustion engines to reduce CO2 emissions. In addition, the Board regularly monitors the Group’s earnings and financial position and maintains continuous focus on risk related issues such as overall risk management and ongoing legal disputes and investigations. Further, throughout the year, the Board has devoted time to talent review and succession planning and on the review and follow-up of the Company’s quality work.
By allocating time to business reviews of the Group’s various truck divisions and business areas the Board remains continuously up-to-date on the status and development of the Group’s operations. As part of this work, the Board usually makes a yearly visit to the Company’s operations throughout the world. In 2020, the Board had to cancel its trip due to the global situation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Finally, during 2020, the Board decided to discontinue its Technology and Business Transformation Committee since the technology change and business transformation of the Volvo Group require the full Board’s involvement.