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Newsletter September 2011
News from the Initiative
Members in Focus
KfW promotes the conservation of nature - locally and globally
Business & Biodiversity around the Globe
The UN Decade on Biodiversity 2011-2020 has only just started – we are facing enormous challenges in better protecting biological diversity worldwide. There is no doubt that the private sector has to contribute much more than today to meeting these challenges. The ‘Biodiversity in Good Company’ Initiative as a company network has declared its renewed commitment to the significance of this topic. During the summer we set the course for our future work by founding a new registered association sustained by member companies. Thus, a successful project initiated by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety in 2008 has been transformed into a platform with long-term future prospects.
Federal Environment Minister Dr. Norbert Röttgen encouraged the companies’ commitment: "Nature is our foundation of life. Protecting nature is the joint task of government and society. The German business community has made a vital contribution to this by founding the international network ‘Biodiversity in Good Company’. German companies support the federal government in implementing the National Biodiversity Strategy and internationally agreed targets." Please read the “News form the initiative” section to learn more about recent developments.
Your new contact person in the Initiative’s Berlin offices is Mrs Carolin Boßmeyer who joined the platform as Managing Director at the beginning of August.
In this newsletter we will provide you, as usual, with new best practice examples from our member companies as well as background reports on current topics of business and biodiversity and announcements of the upcoming events in the field.
Strong signal from business: ‘Biodiversity in Good Company’ Initiative realigned
Members carry on the ‘Biodiversity in Good Company’ Initiative as an independent registered association.
The ‘Biodiversity in Good Company’ Initiative, which was established in 2008 as a project under the auspices of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), has been transformed into a business-run and company-driven independent association. By this realignment, the project, which had proven to be a great success, ensures its long-term future prospects.
The business network will continue to expand its activities from its German base. The BMU welcomes the companies’ commitment. Federal Environment Minister Dr. Norbert Röttgen complimented the Initiative: "Nature is our foundation of life. Protecting nature is the joint task of government and society. The German business community has made a vital contribution to this by founding the international network ‘Biodiversity in Good Company’. German companies support the federal government in implementing the National Biodiversity Strategy and internationally agreed targets." Germany had held the presidency over the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) between 2008 and 2010 and hosted the 9th Conference of the Parties 2008 in Bonn, Germany. On this occasion, the BMU and several private companies had initiated the business initiative and commissioned the GIZ with implementing the project until spring 2011.
Richard Schneider, CEO Werner & Mertz GmbH, explains the company’s motivation to become one of the founding members of the association: “Protecting biodiversity and advocating sustainability reflects our conviction that only integrated environmental management makes sense. From an economical perspective it is also a good sign when smaller companies and brands, for example ‘Frosch’, can sustain their position in the market. Ecologically and economically the same applies: diversity increases the quality of life!”
The new registered association will take up its work with companies who have already been participating in the project before and seeks to quickly gain more members. A board comprised of seven members assumes strategic leadership of the Initiative. Board members are: Alexander Bartelt, Department Manager Climate Protection and Sustainable Products, Otto Group (Chairman of the Board); Gisbert Braun, Head of Corporate Quality & Sustainability, Faber-Castell Aktiengesellschaft (Deputy Chairman of the Board); Dr.-Ing. Detlef Matz, Head of Sustainability Management, Werner & Mertz GmbH (Treasurer); Edgar Endrukaitis, Head of Environmental Policy Programme, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH; Michael Garvs, Head of Sustainability Management, Bionade GmbH; Heini Lehti, Senior Specialist, Environmental Market Support CE, UPM GmbH; Michael Scholing-Darby, Head of Political Communications, Group External Relations, Volkswagen AG. Mrs Carolin Boßmeyer has been appointed as Managing Director.
The ministry will continue its close cooperation with the ‘Biodiversity in Good Company’ Initiative, including joint hosting of events such as for example this year’s dialogue event “Biodiversity and Business” on October 20th in Fulda, Germany. GIZ will continue its partnership as well, hosting the Initiative’s offices in the GIZ branch Berlin. „We will conduct an international project with several member companies of the initiative, which aims at improving the protection of biological diversity along the supply chains“, said Edgar Endrukaitis, Head of Environmental Policy Programme at GIZ, who until recently coordinated the Initiative and now is a member of the board.
Save the date: 2nd dialogue event “Biodiversity and Business”
The German Federal Ministry for the Environment, the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation and the ’Biodiversity in Good Company‘ Initiative are hosting the 2nd dialogue event “Biodiversity and Business” on October 20th 2011 in Fulda, Germany (German language).
The loss of biodiversity continues at unreduced speed all over the globe. Businesses utilize and deplete ecosystem services, which they will nonetheless continue to depend on in the future. The loss of biological diversity destabilizes the ecological equilibrium and entails major entrepreneurial risks. However, enterprises taking biodiversity management on at this stage will find great potential in conserving biological diversity.
The dialogue event will focus on biodiversity as an element of environmental management as well as biodiversity in business public relations and sales approach. The event addresses stakeholders from private companies, business organizations, non-governmental organizations and public administration advocating responsible business stewardship for biodiversity. The program will encompass presentations, lectures and room for discussion with strong practical relevance. Language of the event is German.
The conference is part of the implementation process for Germany’s ‘National Strategy on Biological Diversity’. For more information (in German only) please visit http://www.biologischevielfalt.de.
KfW promotes the conservation of nature - locally and globally
Since 2010, KfW has realigned its social commitment. The bank has singled out biodiversity as a top priority of its corporate responsibility and is investing in biodiversity conservation at home and abroad.
UPM publishes UPM Paper’s water footprint and applies for certification for its own forests
UPM celebrates the World Water Week 2011 in Stockholm by publishing the pilot study results for UPM Paper’s water footprint in cooperation with the Water Footprint Network. The company furthermore applies for FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification for its forests in Finland.
On the occasion of World Water Week from August 21st to August 27th in Stockholm, Finnish enterprise UPM published the results of a pilot study on water consumption in paper production. A Water Footprint Assessment was conducted in cooperation with the Water Footprint Network (WFN), mapping the amount of freshwater consumed throughout the production chain of paper at its Nordland Papier plant in Germany. The results show that water for growing trees represents the primary contribution to the total water footprint of paper.
Water footprint divides the water into three different types: Green water represents the natural water cycle – the water evaporated by trees. Blue water refers to water withdrawn from rivers, lakes and aquifers. Grey water presents the amount of water needed to assimilate the remaining pollutants after cleaning process wastewater.
“According to our pilot study, 60% of paper’s water footprint is green water, 1% is blue water and 39% grey water. Around 99% of the water footprint comes from the supply chain and the remaining 1% from the actual paper mill production processes,” explains Sami Lundgren, Director, Environmental Services at UPM.
“By working with the Water Footprint Network, UPM has taken a leading role in reviewing sustainable water use in the paper industry. The Water Footprint Network applauds this initiative. UPM’s pilot study shows that when forests are managed sustainably, paper products will have little contribution to the growing concerns of water scarcity,” explains Ruth Mathews, WFN Executive Director.
Sustainable forest management is a key to UPM‘s success. The company decided to have its Finnish forests certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). “The FSC certification of company forests increases UPM’s possibilities to supply products produced from wood that is certified according to customers’ requests. This way we can better match our offering with customers’ needs,” says Kari Ylönen, Director for Marketing, UPM.
At the same time UPM also extends its forest service portfolio to cover FSC-certification services to Finnish forest owners. UPM’s forests and most of the privately owned forests in Finland are already certified under PEFC (Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes).
UPM aims to maximize the share of certified fiber and promotes forest certification globally. UPM tracks the origin of all wood fiber sourced by the company. The share of certified fiber in UPM products was 79% in 2010. Preparations for the certification process are currently underway.
“We study the environmental impacts of our products through the whole lifecycle. Sustainable forest management and wood sourcing is one part of this life-cycle approach. Forest certification, like FSC and PEFC, tells about the sustainability of a product’s raw material to the customer,” says Timo Lehesvirta, Director, Environment, UPM.
For further information on sustainable water consumption at UPM, please visit http://www.upm.com/EN/RESPONSIBILITY/Water/Pages/default.aspx.
More information on biodiversity management at UPM is available on http://www.upm.com/EN/RESPONSIBILITY/Pages/default.aspx. You may also contact Timo Lehesvirta (Director for Environment, Phone +358 400 752 212) or Kari Ylönen (Director for Marketing, Phone +358 204 150 430).
Volkswagen: ‘Think Blue’ and ‘Green Fleet’ for Biodiversity
Car manufacturer Volkswagen develops its sustainability strategy in continuous dialogue with customers and environmental organizations.
Volkswagen considers sustainability the foundation of its corporate policy. The motto ‘Think Blue’ embodies the company’s goal of creating environmentally friendly products and solutions, encouraging more eco-conscious behavior and contributing to a sustainable future. This goal is sought to be pursued with more than just CO2-efficient cars. In continuous dialogue with its customers, VW seeks to make use of all potentials for increasing efficiency and lowering the fuel consumption of its vehicles. “Our vision is, in a joint approach with our customers, to pave the way for making driving more efficient and hence more environmentally friendly jointly with our customers”, says Matthias Becker, Head of Marketing Germany at Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand.
This year, Volkswagen arranged a national ‘Think Blue’ fuel-saving competition. About 2.800 people participated in the “Spritsparathon 2011”. In order to qualify for the finals, they had to, among other things, submit their recommendations for reducing CO2 emissions, pass a sustainability quiz and prove driving skills in a tour with one of VW’s Golf BlueMotion. Hans and Felix Stadler from Bavaria won the finals on August 20th 2011.
Volkswagen conducted this project using the expertise of the Naturschutzbund Deutschland (NABU), a non-governmental organization with whom Volkswagen has been successfully cooperating for several years. In June 2011 VW-Leasing announced yet another joint project, the renaturation of the ‘Great Moor’ in northern Germany. For each CO2-optimized (≤129 g/km) VW car leased, VW-Leasing and the respective customer pay a contribution to the NABU, who is overseeing the renaturation process.
The project is part of the eco-conscious fleet management at VW-Leasing. VW’s ‘Green Fleet’ of fuel-saving and emission-reduced vehicles is beneficial for the environment and for business: Operating costs are significantly lowered and businesses profit from a positive image.
VW’s support for the moor is also an investment in climate protection. “There is some very impressive data on how important moors are for our climate”, says Olaf Tschimpke, President of NABU. “Moors absorb 450 gigatons of carbon worldwide. That represents 30% of all carbon absorbed in the ground and double the amount absorbed in all the Earth’s forests. Because 95% of moors in Germany are heavily impacted, our cooperation with VW is exemplary. It shows that professional, eco-conscious fleet management and the protection of our environment are not mutually exclusive, but actually very beneficial for everyone involved.”
For more information regarding ‘Think Blue’, please visit
Weleda: Great progress in sustainability management
In its sustainability report 2010 Weleda publishes consolidated data on environmental and social indicators in the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) format. The company is now member of the Union for Ethical Biotrade.
Its recently released sustainability report shows: Weleda continues to successfully pursue its ambitious sustainability strategy. Among the key issues for the producer of organic cosmetics and medicine are organic farming, carbon-neutral production, saving water, fair trade and personnel development. As in previous years, Weleda published its data according to GRI standards. A novelty in this year’s report: Weleda also measured indicators on its social activities.
Weleda proved to be particularly successful in restructuring production towards exclusive use of organic produce: Organic raw materials represent 74% of total primary goods used. In addition, water consumption was significantly reduced in the production of organic cosmetics owing to new cooling plants. In Weleda’s Swiss production plant Arlesheim natural gas and electricity are now provided through entirely carbon-neutral processes. With respect to adequate CO2 compensation schemes, Weleda closely cooperates with myclimate, a non-governmental organization active in climate protection.
Since recently, Weleda has been able to count on the support of a strong network when it comes to using sustainable produce: On May 5th 2011, the company joined the Union for Ethical Biotrade (UEBT), a not-for-profit organization founded in Paris 2007. UEBT advocates a global standard for the sustainable production and utilization of raw materials respecting biodiversity as well as access and benefit sharing. Weleda has committed itself to implementing the standard in the course of five years for all of its contractors and partners. Drawing from 90 years of experience in biodiversity conservation, Weleda has been elected to the UEBT’s board.
Further information on biodiversity management and organic produce at Weleda can be found on its redesigned website www.weleda.com.
Milestone in protecting biodiversity: Germany has ratified the ABS Agreement
The international agreement on access to genetic resources and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from their utilization (ABS) represents a major step in international efforts for sustainable development. Germany and the EU have now ratified the ABS Agreement.
On June 23rd, representatives of Germany, the EU and another eleven member states signed the so-called ‘Nagoya Protocol’ to the international Convention on Biological Diversity. The Protocol concerning access and benefit sharing (ABS) aims at sharing the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources in a fair and equitable way, by regulating appropriate access and knowledge transfer. Once entered into force, the Protocol will be legally binding to its signatories.
The ABS Protocol is considered a milestone in international efforts for protecting biodiversity. It was adopted by the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity at its tenth meeting on October 29th 2010 in Nagoya, Japan, after several years of careful preparation. Already more than 40 states have ratified the agreement. It will enter into force 50 days after the signature of a 50th state.
The Nagoya Protocol determines rights and duties of users and providers of genetic resources. States are granted full sovereignty over their genetic resources and are in turn obliged to take measures that guarantee access to these resources under mutually agreed, transparent terms. Users, for example pharmaceutical companies depending on vegetable raw materials, are in turn obliged to share benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources in a fair and equitable manner with those who grant access to them.
Users, in large parts companies from developed countries, benefit from increased legal certainty and predictable proceedings. Providers in turn can finally expect their fair share of profits. The agreement thereby represents an important step towards ecological and social sustainability and especially targets development in hotspots of biodiversity which often suffer from pronounced poverty.
Moreover, the Nagoya Protocol lists a number of practical instruments for successfully implementing its ABS goals. It is recommended that states establish national focal points (NFPs) and competent national authorities (CNAs) to serve as contact points for information, grant access or cooperate on issues of compliance. An ABS Clearing-House is foreseen to watch over transfer payments and capacity-building measures in accordance with national needs and priorities shall support key aspects of implementation.
For further information on the ABS-Protocol, please visit http://www.cbd.int/abs/about/.
Rio+20: The International Conference on Sustainable Development 2012
20 years after the United Nations held their first Earth-Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, the second such conference on sustainable development will be held between June 4th and 6th 2012, again in Rio. ‘Green Economy’ and the institutional framework for sustainability will be the key issues.
Only ten months left until the 2nd United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, held between June 4th and 6th 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 20 years after the first such conference was held it is now time for securing renewed political commitment for sustainable development, assessing the progress to date and remaining gaps, and addressing new and emerging challenges. There is much at stake, including the question of what can be expected now and in the future from these kinds of summits.
The Rio+20 Conference focuses on two key issues: Firstly, the ‘Green Economy’ in the context of sustainable development, and secondly, the design of an institutional framework for sustainable development on an international level. Biodiversity is a cornerstone of the Green Economy concept. The conference is envisaged as a meeting on the highest possible level with heads of state and governments.
Stakeholders from business and civil society have been actively involved in the negotiations on sustainable development since the preparations for the first Rio-Conference. Nine ‘Major Groups’ represent the interests of different sectors of society, one of them speaking for business and industry. The interest groups are represented by major international associations in the respective field.
Business and industry are represented by the UN Global Compact, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the International Chamber of Commerce. They have united under the slogan „Business Active for Sustainable Development 2012“ (BASD) and won Indian businessman S. Gopalakrishnan as their Chairman. BASD emphasizes the commitment of business and industry to the concept of sustainable development as a means of eradicating poverty and creating prosperity, jobs, innovation, environmental stewardship and social empowerment. While acknowledging that prosperity potentially increases pressure on the environment, BASD reaffirms its belief that prosperity is indispensible for meeting the needs and aspirations of a growing world population.
The business representatives furthermore advocate a more active and formalized mode of involving private actors in the negotiations concerning sustainable development. Only an effective public-private partnership could allow for thorough progress.
For more information on the positions and activities of BASD, please visit http://basd2012.org/.
The Rio+20 Secretariat has compiled several briefings on the various topics of the Conference for different stakeholders. Representatives of business and industry can find more information on http://www.uncsd2012.org/rio20/index.php?menu=97.
Furthermore, Rio+20 General Secretary Mr. Sha Zukang is publishing interesting insights about the Conference on his blog http://www.uncsd2012.org/rio20/index.php?page=view&nr=176&type=8&menu=41&template=356.
Handbook on environmental liability for businesses
Researchers at the University of Bingen, Germany, develop guidelines for business environmental liability.
Researchers of the IESAR-Institute of the University of Applied Science in Bingen, Germany, analyze how companies can avoid disturbing natural habitats and reduce the risk of being held liable in such matters. The research project concentrates on the practical implementation of the European Union Environmental Liability Directive ELD (2004/35/CE) and its impact on companies. Germany transposed the ELD at a federal level, under the Environmental Damage Act (Umweltschadensgesetz) in 2007.
The researchers work towards compiling a handbook that will help companies across sectors in assessing the risk of being held liable in matters concerning the environment. A workshop was held as a kick-off event in May 2011. The handbook is expected to be published in 2012.
For further information (in German only) please visit http://www.fh-bingen.de/forschung/institute/institute-for-environmental-studies-and-applied-research-iesar/projekte/umweltrecht-in-europa.html.
Ramping up investor attention towards mining and biodiversity
Conservation organization Fauna & Flora International works to demonstrate the case for mining companies to manage their biodiversity risks via the organization’s partnership with Anglo American and an upcoming report from the Natural Value Initiative.
On May 25th 2011, the mining company Anglo American hosted an event to present its 2010 safety and sustainable development performance to the socially responsible investment (SRI) analyst community. The meeting was a demonstration of the leading best practice for the mining sector, in terms of highlighting the business case for biodiversity programs to the investor community.
Over the past three and a half years, Fauna & Flora International (FFI) has run a partnership with Anglo American to integrate biodiversity into its policies and practices. The FFI-Anglo partnership has helped the company become a leader in addressing their dependencies and impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services. FFI has been a longstanding believer in the power of the investor community to leverage change towards businesses' biodiversity management.
The SRI audience, which included experts from Aviva, HSBC and other top companies, agreed that biodiversity was the hot topic now in the investor world. One noted that "there was more focus on these issues than anything else, and that this should be listened to.” Another highlighted two main business impacts of the increased attention towards biodiversity: higher metal costs and project delays from more lengthy environmental approval process, due to greater scrutiny from environmental pressure groups, cultural bodies and other interested parties.
Investment banks, fund and asset managers, pension funds and development agencies are placing increasing emphasis on the need to account for best practice performance when it comes to managing impacts and dependencies on biodiversity. This is reflected through global reporting initiatives, assurance schemes and lender requirements.
The International Finance Corporation (IFC), European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Equator Principle banks require compliance with their various performance standards as part of their lending requirements. The IFC PS6/PR6 focuses specifically on biodiversity. The new standard demands the highest levels of performance – requiring thorough attention to baseline information, measurement and valuation, and requiring evidence of no net loss to biodiversity and ecosystem services, as well as offsetting of biodiversity where possible and applicable. This level of management is going to have to become the norm, so those companies that raise the bar now will be more competitive in the future.
FFI is helping to further strengthen the business case via the Natural Value Initiative (NVI) that is currently assessing 30 extractive sector companies by determining the risk presented to investors by these companies' dependencies on biodiversity and ecosystem services. The results will be available in October at a formal launch in London. Anglo American is part of this benchmarking process.
Learn more about FFI's Business & Biodiversity Program on http://www.fauna-flora.org/initiative/business-and-biodiversity/
Watch the video webcast of the Anglo American SRI event http://streamstudio.world-television.com/CCUIv3/frameset.aspx?ticket=614-634-9780&target=en-default-&status=ondemand&browser=ie-12-0-0-10-0&stream=wm-video-300
Read more about the Natural Value Initiative at http://www.naturalvalueinitiative.org/
Sustainable energy supplies for the future: biodiversity workshop for the energy sector
On November 3rd and 4th 2011, our partner the European Business and Biodiversity Campaign is hosting a biodiversity workshop for the energy sector in Madrid, Spain.
Strengthening renewable energies has been a hot topic for the energy sector not only since the accident in Fukushima. The European Union has committed itself to raising the share of renewable energies to 20% until 2020. In order to reach this target it will be necessary to heavily invest in electricity grids all over Europe. Only such investment will secure supplies from sun and wind energy for Europe’s economic powerhouses.
What this strategy on renewable energy provision means for the environment remains disputed. Laws and regulations are often criticized from an eco-conscious perspective for hindering the development of a sustainable energy system. Whether this is really the case and how potential obstacles can be overcome through anticipatory environment-management will be the key issue of the workshop on biodiversity and the energy sector.
The workshop targets small, medium-sized and large companies. Energy-producers and grid-providers will present their experiences, pinpoint obstacles and suggest solutions. Company best practices will be presented in order to stimulate a discussion on a sustainable remodeling of the energy system. The workshop includes an excursion to the La Mancha Swamps, a natural reserve close to Madrid.
If you are interested in more information about the event, please contact Tobias Hartmann (Phone: + 49 - (0) 228 - 184 86 94 - 13, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Save the date - 4th National Forum on Biological Diversity
On November 8th 2011, the German Federal Ministry for the Environment and the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) are hosting the 4th National Forum on Biological Diversity in Berlin.
With this conference, Federal Environment Minister Dr. Norbert Röttgen will open the UN Decade on Biological Diversity 2011-2020 in Germany.
For more information on the German National Strategy on Biological Diversity, please visit http://www.bfn.de/0304_biodivstrategie-nationale+M5054de7a952.html. You may register for the event starting from September 5th 2011 on www.nationalesforum-biologischevielfalt.de.
This newsletter is published bi-monthly with editorial responsibility alternating between the 'Biodiversity in Good Company' Initiative and the European Business & Biodiversity Campaign.