Volkswagen To Receive Bridge Builders Award

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Partners for Livable Communities will present the Volkswagen Group of America, Chattanooga Operations with the Bridge Builders Award at its annual awards ceremony, A Celebration of Vision & Community Spirit, on Thursday, at the Fairfax at Embassy Row in downtown Washington.

Volkswagen Chattanooga is recognized for their pioneering commitment to sustainability in the automobile and manufacturing industries as well as their cooperative public-private partnership with the City of Chattanooga towards sustainable action and economic revitalization.

“The Volkswagen Group of America is truly a beacon in the sustainable manufacturing movement,” said Partners President Bob McNulty. “Their hard work in making the Chattanooga assembly plant eco-friendly, in addition to the public-private partnership with the city of Chattanooga, is what defines a bridge builder: overcoming differences to make the greater Chattanooga community a better place to live.” 

In 2008, the same year that Volkswagen became a corporate citizen of Chattanooga, construction began on a new automotive plant that currently employs over 3,200 regional residents. Three years later, this plant became the first automotive assembly plant in the world to receive the LEED Platinum Certification from the U.S. Green Buildings Council – the highest such certification. Volkswagen has further demonstrated their commitment to sustainability with the addition of a solar farm to the Chattanooga plant. As the largest solar park of any U.S. auto plant, the farm provides 9.5 megawatts, or 12.5% of the plant’s energy. With these remarkable steps, Volkswagen is surely on the way to realizing their goal of becoming the world’s most sustainable automaker in the next five years.

“To us, sustainability is doing business in a way that is good for the people, the planet, and profits. And Volkswagen of America is doing just that,” said Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers, 2008 recipient of the Bridge Builders Award. “Volkswagen of America is a leading model for public-private partnerships investing and creating sustainable action in the United States.”

Volkswagen’s commitment to sustainability is just one facet of their views on corporate social responsibility. As an organizational contribution to sustainability, Volkswagen strives to go above and beyond traditional compliance – seeking to prevent risks, ensuring timely identification of growth opportunities, and facing economic, ecological, and social challenges at all levels of development. Their corporate social responsibility is also highlighted in the remarkable public-private partnership between Volkswagen and the City of Chattanooga. This partnership is a leading model for collaboration to invest in sustainable action and economic growth. The joint effort has played a central role in Chattanooga’s vision for revitalization, with an emphasis on a clean and healthy environment.

The 2013 awards ceremony will also honor and celebrate other people and organizations and their significant contributions to improving livability in America and abroad, including:

· Susan Rodgerson for her dedication to exposing art education and community service to children in the city of Boston.

· ROMA Design Group for their efforts to revitalize urban areas. The San Francisco-based firm won an international design competition, out of 1,000 total entries, to design the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the National Mall.

· Former Saint Paul, Mn., Mayor George Latimer for his expansive work in the affordable housing realm.

· Louisville, Ky.’s “55,000 Degrees” Campaign for their dedication to make the city of Louisville more attractive to world class business by encouraging more people to obtain college degrees.

· John “Jeff” Cook for his commitment to involving talented and diverse young people in the environmental field.

· Jonathan Barnett for his work in urban design education and planning.

Partners for Livable Communities is a non-profit leadership organization working to improve the livability of communities by promoting quality of life, economic development, and social equity. Since its founding in 1977, Partners has helped communities set a common vision for the future, discover and use new resources for community and economic development, and build public/private coalitions to further their goals.

Partners promotes livable communities through technical assistance, leadership training, workshops, charettes, research and publications. More than 1,200 individuals and groups from local, state, national, international, public and private and media organizations make up Partners’ resource network and share innovative ideas on livability and community improvement.

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