A renewable heating system makes this one green factory.

Volvo has revealed that its engine factory in Skövde, Sweden, has become its first carbon neutral factory and one of just a handful across Europe. The manufacturing plant switched to a renewable heating system at the turn of the year, making Volvo less blue and more green.

The move is a big step for the carmaker – which also has manufacturing locations in Belgium, China, and Malaysia – as it aims to have completely carbon-neutral manufacturing operations as soon as 2025.

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'Improving energy efficiency is our first priority and then, for the energy we need to use, we aim for supplies generated from renewable sources,' said Javier Varela, manufacturing and logistics boss at Volvo Cars. 'The Skövde plant achievement is an important addition to our broader efforts in minimising our environmental footprint. We are pleased to be a leader within the automotive industry in the move towards climate-neutral manufacturing.'

The heating for the factory comes from waste incineration, biomass and recycled bio-fuels. The move comes after a new agreement between Volvo Cars and a local provider. For the last decade, electricity supplie to the plant has also come from entirely renewable sources.

'This is a proud moment both for the Skövde plant and for Volvo Cars,' said Stuart Templar, Volvo's director for sustainability. 'Environmental care is one of our core values. Along with our plan to electrify all new Volvo cars launched from 2019, climate-neutral manufacturing operations will significantly reduce our overall carbon footprint, supporting global efforts to tackle climate change.'

Volvo is one of the greenest car manufacturers today. As well as as the renwable heating and electricity systems at the Skövde plant, in 2016 the production plant in Ghent, Belgium, introduced a district heating system that reduced carbon emissions by 40 percent, saving 15,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.

'We will continue to work actively with our energy suppliers in all regions to secure further access to renewable energy for our manufacturing plants,' said Varela.