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Volvo's Swedish engine factory achieves climate-neutral status

It's the first plant in Volvo's vast network to reach this goal.

And you thought heating your house was a task.

Volvo might have won our Disruptor of the Year award at this year's Detroit Auto Show, but it earned an equally impressive achievement on the other side of the Atlantic at the same time.

Volvo announced this week that its engine factory in Skövde, Sweden, has achieved climate-neutral status as of Jan. 1. It's Volvo's first plant in its global network to hit this mark, and it's only one of a small handful of climate-neutral automotive facilities in Europe.

Reaching climate-neutral status means that a specific business has zero climate-related impact on the surrounding environment, and it usually relates to carbon dioxide emissions. In Volvo's case, the company hit this target by moving to a renewable heating source that is only generated through biomass, recycled bio-fuels and waste incineration.

Skövde's electricity already comes from renewable sources, a move that's shared by all of Volvo's other European plants. Some of those other plants also use alternative heating systems -- its plant in Belgium, for example, uses a heating system that cut carbon emissions by 40 percent. It's not 100 percent, but it's a move in the right direction.

"Environmental care is one of our core values," said Stuart Templar, Volvo's director of sustainability, in a statement. "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."