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. Protecting 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 been committed to protecting biodiversity since 2007 and is a founder member of the Biodiversity in Good Company e.V. initiative. In our mission statement, we have committed to supporting the protection of species at all locations. For this, we are collaborating with local suppliers. As a consequence of the diesel issue, our membership in the Biodiversity in Good Company e.V. initiative is on hold until this issue has been clarified.

Protecting biodiversity is a component of our environmental management. We have, among other things, appointed Volkswagen AG’s environmental management officer as the Biodiversity Officer. We contribute to achieving the targets of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and utilizing resources as efficiently as possible. 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.

The thirteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 13) on the Convention on Biological Diversity was held in Cancún in December. A representative of Volkswagen de México was invited to speak at the 2016 CBD Business and Biodiversity Forum in the run-up to the event. A statement in which the participating companies reaffirm their commitment to protecting biodiversity was also published for the first time. Volkswagen de México is one of the signatories of this Business and Biodiversity Pledge.

Our long-standing cooperation agreement with the Naturschutzbund Deutschland e.V. (NABU – German Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union) expired on December 31, 2015. Nevertheless, the collaboration between Volkswagen Financial Services AG and NABU continued in 2016 under an agreement on a moorland conservation project and another agreement on environmentally friendly fleet management. Rewetting of moorland is an efficient measure for climate protection and nature conservation and serves to protect biotopes with highly specialized species.

At our international sites, we support the protection of nature with various partners. Volkswagen de México, for example, has been sponsoring reforestation in the Iztaccíhuatl-Popocatépetl National Park since 2008. Volkswagen has made around €1.4 million available for planting a total of 490,000 conifers. 39 suppliers have provided funding for the project. One of the aims of this project is to channel rainwater and meltwater into Puebla’s aquifers.

In Xinjiang, Volkswagen supports the SuMaRiO (Sustainable Management of River Oases along the Tarim River) project, making – also from the perspective of the United Nations – an important contribution to environmental protection, to biodiversity and to combating desertification.