Volkswagen and the dark side of sustainability

Two weeks ago, the $50 billion German auto giant Volkswagen AG was named best in class — yet again— for automotive industry sustainability by the prestigious Dow Jones Sustainability Indices.

The 2015 indices, following a pattern of high marks for Volkswagen over the years, noted, “Sustainability is the foundation of the group’s corporate policy.”

Rattling off a laundry list of fashionable green business priorities, index co-authors S&P Dow Jones and RobecoSAM commended Volkswagen’s work to integrate climate risks, resource scarcity, digitization and social equity into corporate strategy.

But all of that glosses over one not-so-small issue: a software program rigged to cheat emissions testing in 11 million diesel-powered cars owned by consumers around the world.

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