Biodiversity means the variety of life on our planet, and covers the variety of species, the genetic differences within species and the diversity of ecosystems. We rely on it as the basis for our continued existence: healthy food, clean water, fertile soils and a balanced climate. Maintaining biological diversity is one of the greatest challenges of our time. The United Nations has therefore declared the current decade to be the "UN Decade on Biodiversity".
Volkswagen has pursued the goal of protecting biodiversity since 2007. In a mission statement, Volkswagen has committed to support the protection of species at all of its locations. The Group makes its contribution to protecting biological diversity above all through its commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing the efficiency of materials and resources.
As a founding member of the Biodiversity in Good Company e.V. initiative, Volkswagen has also committed to setting up a biodiversity management system and to helping achieve the targets established by the Convention on Biological Diversity. To ensure that this responsibility is met, Volkswagen has appointed a biodiversity officer and defined the protection of biological diversity within its environmental management system. At a total of 32 sites for the Volkswagen Passenger Cars, Porsche and MAN brands, we worked with an insurance company to prepare studies outlining production-related risks to biological diversity. Volkswagen supports networking between the various players in the fields of business, politics, society and academia, with a view to increasing public awareness of biodiversity conservation and to increase knowledge about the issue. Volkswagen was again represented on the management board of the Biodiversity in Good Company e.V. in 2014 and was involved in managing the wide variety of activities undertaken at national and international level.
We are continuing our cooperation with the Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU), the main environmental organization with the largest membership in Germany. One of the projects we established jointly was the German Moor Conservation Fund, funded by Volkswagen Financial Services to the tune of €1.6 million, which has already sponsored 13 moor rewatering projects. As carbon sinks, moors play an important role in climate protection. This commitment was designated as an official project in the "United Nations Decade on Biodiversity" in 2014. As a partner in nature conservation, Volkswagen also supported NABU’s renaturation of the Lower Havel river. More than 1,000 animal and plant species are threatened with extinction in this, inland Central Europe’s largest and most important wetland area. Volkswagen and NABU also worked together on their joint “Willkommen Wolf!” wolf conservation initiative in 2014. This project aims to increase acceptance of this wild animal and support its return to Germany, where it was once hunted to extinction.
The Volkswagen Group supports nature conservation and the protection of species diversity at its international locations – and further afield. One new addition to the list of projects already up and running is the initiative launched in 2014 at our Urumqi location in the Chinese province of Xinjiang. Volkswagen is sponsoring research into biodiversity in the area around the Tarim River. The “Think Blue.Nature.” conservation and species protection project in Mexico was also launched in April 2014. This project is located in a biodiversity corridor in the eastern Sierra Madre that extends over four million hectares and is home to around 650 endangered species. Volkswagen de México is also the country’s largest private sponsor of biodiversity research (“Por amor al planeta”).