As one of the key leaders in the auto industry Porsche has always led the pack in quality and innovation. So once COVID-19 hit, it’s no surprise that they successfully pivoted and adjusted to the current conditions. I spoke with the President & CEO of Porsche Cars Canada Ltd., Marc Ouayoun to get more insight. Marc is an exemplary leader who spoke to me on Porsche’s current position, their efforts to include equality in the workplace and their innovations to help combat climate change.

What adjustments have Porsche made to accommodate employees during COVID-19?

At the end of February, we immediately formed a TaskForce with proactive measures to react to several scenarios should they come into effect. On March 16, all PCL staff began teleworking from their homes and our counterparts in other Global Porsche offices did the same. Safety and wellness of our employees, our Porsche Centre staff and our customers is our top priority.

PCL already had a work-from-home policy in effect now for several years but we still had staff who did not have the means of comfortably working from their home space. We offered support with keyboards, monitors and mice should any employee require them, and we were able to get these to them in a contactless way.

We worked diligently with our IT department for the roll-out of Microsoft Teams, enabling video capability and virtual Town Hall meetings twice a month. Our Management Team shifted to weekly meetings with their departments and their staff.

What steps does Porsche take to include diversity and equal representation and opportunity in the workplace?

At PCL, we have a strong culture of diversity, inclusion and equality. This culture has been built through the principles that each of us brings to work daily, even when that work is taking place remotely. While management has and will continue to support initiatives to reinforce these principles, we are most proud that this culture exists because of our team’s commitment which is continually demonstrated in our words and actions. The leadership team members are committed to continuing these initiatives, continuing the conversation and continuing to put these principles into action.

Porsche pursuing any initiatives to help educate people about equality and Black Lives Matter?

We implemented the “PCL Inclusion and Diversity Understanding Initiative” which is an on-going set of resources for everyone to educate themselves on the topic of equality through books, films, websites and on-line forums. PCL’s Inclusion and Diversity plan includes awareness training for all staff and we continue to encourage open and honest dialogue regarding equality.

What does “Chief Empathy Officer” mean to you?

We have to be adaptable and receptive to everyone’s individual needs. The reality we are facing today is unprecedented and everyone is coping in different ways. Some people are now responsible for looking after children and being available for a full time job. Some are taking care of their parents. Being open and flexible is important and taking care of employees is of the upmost importance.

Can you tell me a little more about the “ Porsche Impact Program” ?

Porsche Impact is a global CO2 emissions offsetting program that was originally piloted in Germany, the USA and Poland in 2018. It is now rolled out in 15 countries, and Canada most recently was the sixth country to take part in the initiative.

Porsche owners and subsidiaries, such as Porsche Canada, can offset the annual emissions of their vehicles by visiting the website, inputting their annual mileage, and selecting a project of their choice. There is an automated calculator that equates the CO2 offset based on the fuel consumption and the project that is chosen.

Globally combined, the Porsche Impact project has offset more than 46,394 tonnes of CO2 emissions

What projects is Porsche partnering with to offset carbon emissions?

There are several projects to choose from: forest conservation in B.C., Canada, biodiversity in Zimbabwe, Africa, wind power in Hebei, China, or forest protection in Alaska, USA.

In Canada, we chose the Darkwoods Forestry project, located in British Columbia. This protects an area of over 100,000 hectares of conservation area and endangered wildlife, from bears to elk to caribou and is part of the National Conservatory of Canada. Customers can choose from any of the four projects listed. In other areas of the world, there are project selections available within their region. China for example, has two offerings for wind projects in the country.

Outside of the Taycan, are there future plans to expand Porsche’s eco-friendly options?

Yes. We have already announced that our next Macan with be an electric model. The Taycan Cross Turismo, which follows Taycan, will also be fully electric. Our mission and global strategy is to have 50% of our model line electric or partially electric drive systems by 2025.

The Taycan factory in Zuffenhausen, Germany is also a zero emissions facility. We consider the entire value supply chain when manufacturing this vehicle and also our other models.

How has Porsche been impacted by COVID-19 and what are the recovery plans for the remainder of the year?

The company paused production in its two factories on March 21, 2020 for a period of two weeks and announced it would continuously reassess the situation. Due to bottlenecks in the global supply chain, the factories remained closed for a total of six weeks because orderly production was not possible.

PCL, with the TaskForce Management Team, has appropriate recovery measures in place.