Essay Sample about Strategies and Solutions for Volkswagen's Unsustainable Project

Published: 2022-02-18
Essay Sample about Strategies and Solutions for Volkswagen's Unsustainable Project
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories:  Volkswagen Air pollution Business strategy
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1759 words
15 min read

Strategies and Solutions for Unsustainable Project

Volkswagen Company had the project of producing cars engines that were emitting minimum carbon emissions to the environment. The public and the stakeholders took that idea positively, and the company's car brands become very solid in the market as compared to their competitors. In achieving government approval, the company cheated government emission testing. However, it was later realized that they lied to the government regarding the reliability and sustainability of their project, which created one of the biggest scandals (Zhang, 2016). Volkswagen's scandal is arguably one of the most scandals in the modern era. The revelation that Volkswagen had lied regarding the amount of carbon emission from the engines of their car brands affected the company negatively. Before the revelation, people had much confidence in a trustworthy brand. The magnitude of the scandal is comparable to the famous Enron spill in the Gulf of Mexico (Jung, 2019). Therefore, the paper will cover Volkswagen's scandal as an example of a project that missed used the term sustainability. The paper will also feature potential strategies that can help reverse the adverse effects and help Volkswagen Company achieve sustainability.

Volkswagen Emission Scandal

Volkswagen Company has always strived to sell the brand of its cars in the United States' market. Therefore, to suit the demand of the US market, they embarked on the project of producing cars with low emissions. However, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found out that more than 482,000 cars in the US had defeat device fitted in their engines to avoid detection of extra emissions. The Volkswagen model cars that were affected include Volkswagen manufactured Audi A3, Beetle, Passat, and Jetta. Sadly, Volkswagen Company revealed that there are over eleven million cars across the globe have defeat device fitted to them (Zhang, 2016).

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Moreover, out of the eleven million cars, eight million are in the Europe market. By the time of the big revelation, the detailed manner of operation of the defeat device was known. However, EPA purported that the engines contained computer software that performed the following roles. Monitoring the engine operation, indicating the position of the steering wheel, monitoring the air pressure, and speed (Jung, 2019). The EPA went ahead to claim that Volkswagen's cars were operating under a condition best described as laboratory condition. Therefore, the cars were operating on a stationary test ring where the device made the engine to run in a safe mode. However, ones the vehicle is on the road the engines automatically switch out the test mode and the engine emission released beyond the required level. Consequently, the company received a fine of $18 million and suffered a loss of over $25 billion resulting from a fall in the stock price (Zhang, 2016).

Potential Strategies for Achieving the Sustainability of the Volkswagen Project

The interest of companies in achieving sustainability in their operations is always one of the primary objectives. Benefits of a company attaining sustainability in its operation are diverse. It spun from limiting wasteful investment to maximize the profit from the margin of the company. A company that operates under sustainability are environmentally conscious. They are mindful of the environment, and they will continuously strive to protect the environment (Tam, 2017). One inescapable fact to note that an environmentally responsible organization will always appeal to the customers. Moreover, such an organization will continuously experience the reduced cost of production as well as lowered chances of suffering from regulatory penalties. Consequently, Volkswagen can adopt the following strategies to realize the sustainability of their project and reverse the harmful effects of their failed project (Kozarich, 2017).

Assessing the Current Project Sustainability

The first strategy that Volkswagen Company should embark on is to perform the sustainability analysis of their project. By performing the sustainability analysis, the company will be in a position of knowledge areas that require improvement. The sustainability analysis will also enable the Volkswagen Company to assess their progress as far as their road to attaining sustainability in operation is concerned. Based on the scandal, it is clear that the Volkswagen project of producing car engines that emit limited emission. The entire project was based on lies, and its sustainability was not to last for long (Jung, 2019).

Moreover, the analysis of the current project is not cost-effective because it exposes the company to losses of high magnitude. Based on the $18 million fine and over $25 billion loss from the sudden fall of the company's shares, the project is not operating cost-effectively. Moreover, the company is fast losing the customer base that they were initially enjoying. It means that the sustainability of the current project is questioning (Kozarich, 2017).

Moreover, during the project sustainability analysis, Volkswagen should also evaluate the cost and benefits of saving itself from the current scandal. Nevertheless, it will be a costly process because it will involve a massive sum of money. Despite the expensive nature of the exercise, it is worth undertaking because the long-term benefits will be enormous. The company will be able to win back the trust of its customers and improving the value of their shares. It is imperative to note that the benefits of saving the company should be based on the environment as well as the reputation of the company (Kozarich, 2017).

Coming Up With the Sustainability Strategy

After successfully conducting the sustainability analysis, the second step that Volkswagen should do is to develop a suitable and appropriate sustainability strategy. The sustainability strategy must be in line with the goals and objectives of the Volkswagen Company in their attempt of improvement in their sustainability. In this regard, the company must accept that they have made a mistake. The good news is that they have acknowledged publicly and even apologized publicly. Therefore, the company must reevaluate its sustainability goal and put measures in place towards achieving it (Kozarich, 2017).

The strategy should also feature how Volkswagen with achieving sustainability. The failure of the project was because of their dishonesty. They operated unethically without minding the environmental implications of their decision. The company only wanted to make a profit; the incorporation of the defeat device helped them to achieve their malpractice. Therefore, the first thing they need to do is to recall all their vehicles and remove the defeat device. Besides, the removal of the defeat device from the recalled cars is not enough. Volkswagen Company should also plan to reconfigure the engines to work optimally by minimizing carbon emissions to the standard levels. If possible, the company should also compensate the owners of the recalled cars as an attempt to boost their image in the corporate world (Kozarich, 2017).

As part of the sustainability strategy, it should also include the departments, people, and their roles. In this case, the sustainability strategy should involve all the departments. These departments include finance and cost control departments, manufacturing department, sales, and marketing department, human resource and administration department, IT department and industrial relation departments. All of these departments should be included in the strategic plan because conducting such an overhaul is multidepartment (Tam, 2017). All of these departments will perform specialized roles in making the company realize sustainability and minimizing the negative implications of the failed project. For example, the human resource department will serve the role of recruiting individuals with relevant skills needed for different tasks. Sales and marketing department will perform the task of conducting the market research and performing damage control measures aiming at improving the image of the company. The finance department will avail the finances necessary for the whole process. The industrial relation department will work together with the marketing department to improve the image of the company in the corporate world (Jung, 2019).

When it comes to the roles of the relevant people involved in the strategy to improve the sustainability of the Volkswagen project, the plan should include specific people and their roles. Examples of potential people that can be involved in the exercise include the executive officials of the company, the shareholders, and the departmental heads. The strategic plan should also indicate the specific roles of each of these people. The executives will perfume the role of making critical decisions and providing the framework for conducting the strategic plan (Tam, 2017). The shareholders will perform the role of providing the green light before embarking in this strategy. Moreover, the shareholders will also grant the goodwill and provide a positive environment that is necessary for the success of the overall process. Besides, different departmental heads will perform the noble duty of overseeing and providing directions for different activities that take place within their departments. Therefore, all relevant people must be involved in the company to realize the sustainability of the project (Kozarich, 2017).

Adoption of the Sustainability Standards

As Volkswagen continues to implement the strategic plan, it should also undertake the idea of adopting sustainability standards. The company can perform this by setting standards that can help those in the executive positions as well as the project managers to have the parameters that can help them to monitor the progress of their sustainability goals. Through this, the executive leaders and the organization, in general, will be able to know whether they are treading in the right direction as far as the realization of their objectives is concerned. The step is essential because Volkswagen will be in a position of knowing if they are conducting their sustainability strategy well and stop it before it is still early to avoid wastage of resources (Tam, 2017).


Every organization in one way or another experience failed projects. Failed projects always result from unsustainability nature of such projects. Just like the case of Volkswagen Company where they incorporated a defeat device in their cars as a way of cheating the EPA from detecting excess carbon emissions from their cars. It was a project worth undertaking because it made their cars perform well in the market and the company benefitted by the profit generated. However, it was not sustainable because the EPA eventually revealed their plot. However, such scandals do not mean an end of an organization. It is because, with important sustainability strategy, a company can bounce back and achieve much success.


Jung, J. C. (2019). The Volkswagen emissions scandal and its aftermath. Global Business and Organizational Excellence, 38(4), 6-15. doi:10.1002/joe.21930

Kozarich, J. (2017). Project manager sustainability competence. Managerial Strategies and Green Solutions for Project Sustainability Advances in Logistics, Operations, and Management Science, 71(89), 178-207.

Tam, G. C. (2017). Managerial Strategies and Green Solutions for Project Sustainability. Advances in Logistics, Operations, and Management Science, 1(2), 130-163.

Zhang, B. (2016). Volkswagen Emission Crisis - Managing Stakeholder Relations on the Web. Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Web Information Systems and Technologies, 2(1), 32...

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