The Economics of Green

Gary S. Vasilash

When you think of Greenpeace in association with a giant, international auto concern, you probably think “controversy,” to put it mildly. Images of those ships shooting water cannons at the plucky Greenpeace people from the Rainbow Warrior in the Zodiac boats may come to mind.

So it comes as more than moderate surprise to learn that last Thursday Brigitte Behrens, Greenpeace chief executive director, and Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, chairman of the executive board of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft, had a meeting in Hanover, after which Ms. Behrens said of Volkswagen’s goal to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions across its fleet to an average of 95 grams by 2020, “This is a decision in favor of climate protection and a key signal for committing to the protection of the environment and society and the series production of climate-friendly technical solutions.”

VW up

Dr. Winterkorn said, “I guarantee that we will do everything in our power to reach carbon dioxide emissions of 95 grams without reservation.”

He added, “However, this will only be possible if customers accept our advanced alternative powertrains. This is of course our objective.”

No OEM wants to build cars that no one wants to buy. That’s nothing but a form of slow economic suicide.

Too often, it is the corporation that gets criticism for being insufficiently green when it is actually the consumer who ought to get cracked for not playing his or her role in the environmental solution.