Volvo to Go Vegan by 2030

The Swedish automaker pledges for all its vehicles to be leather-free.

C40 Recharge Interior
C40 Recharge Interior.


Volvo is going vegan. Yes, you read that correctly. Volvo announced that all of its vehicles will be leather-free by 2030, which is the same time that it plans to only sell electric cars. That means its seats and other areas in its interiors will no longer be wrapped in leather and instead its interiors will feature sustainable materials made from bio-based and recycled materials.

“Being a progressive car maker means we need to address all areas of sustainability, not just CO2 emissions,” said Stuart Templar, director of global sustainability at Volvo Cars, in a statement. “Responsible sourcing is an important part of that work, including respect for animal welfare. Going leather-free inside our pure electric cars is a good next step towards addressing this issue.”

The move is smart due to the environmental impacts of cattle farming. According to Volvo, it’s estimated that livestock is responsible for approximately 14% of global greenhouse gas emissions from human activity and the majority of those emissions come from cattle farming. Since Volvo wants to make an interior that is totally vegan, it also wants to reduce its use of residual products from livestock production, which are often used for plastics, rubber, and lubricants during the production process.

One of the new materials is called Nordico, which is made from recycled PET bottles, used wine corks, and a bio-attributed material from sustainable forests in Finland and Sweden. We should see this new material debut in 2022 with the next-generation XC90.

The switch to leather-free interiors won’t happen overnight, since by 2025 Volvo wants at least 25% of the materials in its vehicles to be made from recycled or bio-based content. This is part of the automaker’s plan to become a fully circular business by 2040. Volvo also wants its suppliers to use 100% renewable energy by 2025.

The first Volvo vehicle to arrive with a leather-free interior will be the 2022 C40 Recharge electric crossover coupe. Volvo isn’t the first automaker to switch to leather-free interiors since Tesla also made the switch to vegan interiors in mid-2017. 

Volvo’s sister company, Polestar is also taking a similar approach with interiors that are made from sustainable materials. Last year Polestar unveiled the Precept concept. Its interior featured recycled and bio-materials like Bcomp’s flax-based composites for the seats and interior panels. The composites are 50% lighter than conventional materials and reduce plastic waste by 80%. Polestar also recently announced that the Precept concept will enter production before 2025.

“Finding products and materials that support animal welfare will be challenging, but that is no reason to avoid this important issue,” said Templar. “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.”