Normally, when companies say they’re carbon neutral, what they really mean is that they’re planting trees to offset their carbon emissions. Polestar, however, is looking to do something different – the company announced it is planning to build a true zero-emissions vehicle (not just one that is electric) by 2030, through its new Polestar 0 project.

The electric offshoot of Volvo says that offsetting isn’t a sustainable long-term practice, citing environmental experts. The long-term carbon storage capacity of forests and soils remains uncertain, as forests may be logged, destroyed in a fire or altered by climate change.

“Offsetting is a cop-out,” said CEO Thomas Ingenlath. “By pushing ourselves to create a completely climate-neutral car, we are forced to reach beyond what is possible today. We will have to question everything, innovate and look to exponential technologies as we design towards zero.”

Head of sustainability Fredrika Klarén added, “We’re electric, so we don’t have to worry about combustion engines producing toxic emissions – but that doesn’t mean our job is done. We will now work to eradicate all emissions stemming from production of our vehicles. Now is a historic and exciting time for car manufacturers, an opportunity to seize the moment, do better and dare to build the dream of climate-neutral, circular and beautiful cars.”

Polestar has already implemented measures throughout its business to reduce its burden on the environment, such as using climate targets as a formal corporate performance metric. The company is also adding sustainability declarations, already common in the food and fashion industries, to all its future models.

Carbon footprint and traced risk materials will be disclosed starting with the Polestar 2, which produces 26.2 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) during the manufacturing process and uses cobalt in its batteries – the mining of cobalt has been associated with human rights issues. This labelling will appear on the company website and at its retail Polestar Spaces to set a standard for transparency for the industry, with additional details and information to be added over time.

“Consumers are a huge driving force in the shift to a sustainable economy,” Ingenlath added. “They need to be given the right tools to make informed and ethical decisions. This makes things very clear. Today, Polestar 2 leaves the factory gates with a carbon footprint. In 2030, we want to present a car that does not.”