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 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 2021, there were ten regular Board meetings, two extraordinary Board meetings and one statutory Board meeting. Due to the covid-19 pandemic, several of the Board meetings during 2021 were held as video conferences. In light thereof, the Board has decided that, from both a sustainability and efficiency perspective, some of the ordinary Board meetings should continue to be held as video conferences also after the pandemic.
The attendance of the Board members at the Board meetings in 2021 is presented here. The company’s auditor attended one Board meeting during the year. During 2021, the Board has continued to monitor the measures taken to address the challenges and consequences of the covid-19 pandemic, with continuous focus on the health and safety of Volvo Group colleagues, customers and business partners as well as to maintain a tight cost control and focus on cash flow. The global shortage of semiconductors and other components has been a challenge throughout the year as well as the ramp-up of production to meet the strong demand, both of which have been closely monitored by the Board.
The focus on sustainability has increased further during 2021 and the Volvo Group’s sustainability work and objectives are an integrated part of the Volvo Group’s business and are regularly reported to the Board by the Volvo Group management. In addition, work is on-going to strengthen the reporting and enable consolidated follow-ups within the area of sustainability. In 2021 the Volvo Group’s climate targets were validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (for further information, see pages 158-160 in the Annual and Sustainability Report for 2021) and the Board adopted the Volvo Group Human Rights Policy as well as the Volvo Group Tax Policy.
The speed of transformation of the industry is accelerating and, in light thereof, the Board has devoted most of its time to strategic topics, with particular focus on disruptive technologies related to digitalization, connectivity, automation and electromobility. These technologies play an essential part in the Group’s positioning in the transformation of the industry towards climate-neutral and sustainable transportation and infrastructure solutions. During 2021, the Volvo Group has entered into several partnerships with focus on autonomous solutions, electrification and charging infrastructure. These include, among others, partnering with Aurora to jointly develop autonomous transport solutions, the completion of the transaction to form a fuel-cell joint venture with Daimler Truck AG and the signing of a binding agreement with Daimler Truck and the Traton Group to create a joint venture to install and operate a high-performance public charging network for battery electric, heavy-duty long-haul trucks and coaches across Europe. In addition, the strategic alliance with Isuzu became operational in 2021. Furthermore, the Board has taken the decision to invest in a truck plant in China in order to strengthen Volvo Trucks’ position in the Chinese market in this period of transformation. 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 transformation work and strategies in relation thereto. Furthermore, the Board has dev ted time to talent review and succession planning and on the review and follow-up of the company’s quality work. Related to this work, the Board usually makes a yearly visit to the company’s operations throughout the world. In October 2021, the Board travelled in Sweden and visited the Volvo Group’s truck plant in Tuve (Goteborg) and the Volvo Group’s construction equipment operations in Eskilstuna and Braas.
During 2021, the Board decided on an overall financial plan and investment framework for the Group’s operations. 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. Furthermore, the Board regularly reviews the management’s short and long-term incentive programs to ensure that they fulfill their purpose and drive the right behaviour in the current business environment.
Finally, during 2021, the Board resolved, in light of the Volvo Group's improved profitability, resilience in downturns and strong financial position and following the sale of UD Trucks, to propose that the proceeds from the sale of UD Trucks was to be distributed to the shareholders as an extraordinary dividend.