Who is Volvo Cars’ new Head of Global Sustainability?

In 2024, Volvo Cars will welcome a new global sustainability leader and focus of EV sales to grow in line with climate targets and evolving technologies

Towards the end of 2023, Volvo Cars announced a new appointment that will bring further traction of its sustainability plans.

Until now, the company took great strides towards a decarbonised future, mainly focusing on developing zero-emission vehicles for the consumer market. Likewise, its sister organisation in the commercial sector is making waves building battery-electric fleet options for trucking and trades. 

Furthering this progress requires a seasoned sustainability professional with an adaptable, forward-thinking approach for the automotive sector. Cue the appointment of Vanessa Butani who will succeed as the Head of Global Sustainability.

Credit: Volvo Cars | Vanessa Butani, appointee for the Head of Sustainability at Volvo Cars

Why was Butani appointed to the sustainability role? 

This is an inevitable step for the company as its previous holder of the title Anders Kärrberg steps down to retire, leaving the position to Butani in April 2024. Kärrberg is to be commemorated for his great work establishing a global sustainability team in 2019 and will pass the baton to Butani to lead its efforts moving forward. 

“We’re excited to have Vanessa joining our company,” says Volvo Cars’ CEO Jim Rowan. 

“Her leadership and experience in this field will play a critical role in the continued execution of our ambitious sustainability strategy across our entire organisation, and ensuring that we maintain a leading voice in sustainable mobility. I’d also like to thank Anders for his great contribution to Volvo Cars’ success and wish him well in his retirement.”  

Butani joins with sustainability expertise 

With extensive experience in strategy and sustainability, Butani’s career history dates back to her time with Accenture as a Strategy Consultant. Since then she’s climbed up the organisational chart at Electrolux, a Swedish multinational white goods and electronics business. 

In between tenures, Butani worked with Scandic Hotels, where she was responsible for sustainability efforts and the development of a new platform to deliver on its strategy. 

Beyond her day-to-day commitments, she supports further growth in sustainable markets and the empowerment of women leaders as a board member of the Mistra Center for Sustainability Markets (Misum) and the Co-Designer of Women for Leaders. 

As Butani begins the transition to her new role in 2024, she will take on some key responsibilities aligned with the business’ goals, namely the shift to new all-electric vehicles by the 2030 deadline. With a major challenge ahead, it seems as though she’s excited to take on the job and is already well versed in the ongoings at Volvo Cars. 

“I have been watching Volvo Cars’ approach to sustainability with admiration,” Butani says. 

“Now I have a fantastic opportunity to join the team and drive the company towards its sustainability ambitions, integrating sustainability as a competitive edge in every aspect of the value chain. Volvo Cars is transforming fast to answer the call for sustainable actions and I look forward to being part of making a positive change for people and society.” 

Sustainable progress at Volvo Cars

The electric vehicle (EV) revolution is at the core of Volvo, not to mention its innovations in autonomous driving systems alongside various technology experts. The 2023 global sales report suggests positive uptake of its entire vehicle range throughout the year with a 15% increase in sales to 708,716. 

Of this EV sales increased by 70% alongside 10% growth in plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) sales. 

For a full data set, Volvo Cars released its report to the public on the 5th January 2024. 

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