Together – and in connection with – climate change, the dramatic loss in species, ecosystems and genetic diversity is one of the greatest challenges of our time. The United Nations has therefore declared the current decade as the UN Decade on Biodiversity.
Every company’s value added depends – directly or indirectly – on nature’s achievements. And every company has an impact on nature and ecosystems, to their benefit or detriment. The loss of biodiversity means that the quality of the “services” provided to us for free by natural ecosystems also suffers. An economy that acts to maintain and use biodiversity sustainably does so in its own long-term interests.
Protecting natural resources has been a corporate goal at Volkswagen since 2007, consistent with the UN’s Convention on Biological Diversity. We continued to drive forward integration of this topic with our processes and systems in the reporting period. As an industrial enterprise, we contribute to protecting biodiversity primarily by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental impacts caused by production. Initiatives in nature and species conservation and in promoting and integrating biotopes – together with expert project partners – supplement our biodiversity management activities.
Volkswagen again actively used the “Biodiversity in Good Company” corporate initiative we co-founded as a platform for learning and dialog and supported its further national and international integration. For example, we participated in the kick-off event for “Enterprise Biological Diversity”, a platform of associations initiated by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment in 2013, the management of which was entrusted to the “Biodiversity in Good Company” initiative. Our cooperation in the research project studying the impact of product systems on biodiversity, led by the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics with the cooperation of the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, the Federal Ministry for the Environment and the German Federal Environmental Agency, served to operationalize the goal of protecting biodiversity from a corporate perspective.
As part of a long-term strategic stakeholder dialog, Volkswagen also receives expert advice from the largest and most important environmental organization in Germany, the Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union e.V. (NABU), whose core concerns are nature and species conservation. The common objective of Volkswagen and NABU is to translate pure dialog into concrete projects that contribute to protecting biological diversity.
The following examples from the reporting period illustrate this:
Thanks to the German Moor Conservation Fund established by Volkswagen Leasing GmbH and NABU in 2011, the rewatering program for moors in Germany was extended.
Support for Europe’s largest river restoration project on the Lower Havel river took on a new level of quality when we made a donation to reconnect the Schliepenlanke oxbow lake in Rathenow.
The “Willkommen Wolf!” wolf conservation initiative continued with a roadshow through zoological gardens and animal parks, with 40 stops overall.
We provide continual updates about these and other projects at www.mobil-fuer-mensch-und-natur.de, which presents the development of the alliances. For example, Volkswagen is protecting water habitats in and around the entire Allertal valley in Lower Saxony in collaboration with the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation and the Otter Center in Hankensbüttel.
Volkswagen promotes the conservation of nature and species diversity not only in Germany, but also in other international Volkswagen Group locations and all around the world. This includes Volkswagen de México’s “Por amor al planeta” program, for example, which conducts scientific research into biodiversity in nature reserves among other things, and also the public-private partnership project between Volkswagen do Brasil and the São Carlos Ecological Park to protect the habitats of endangered species such as the Cerrado wolf, the Andean condor and the Andean bear.