Since the signing of the , the concept of biodiversity has included diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems. This convention, signed in 1992 at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development () in Rio de Janeiro, has the following three main goals: conservation of biological diversity, sustainable use of its components, and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources.
The loss of biodiversity is one of the greatest challenges of our time. Ecosystems provide us with services and resources such as sufficient quantities of good-quality water that are absolutely essential to our business operations worldwide. We therefore consider it extremely important to protect biodiversity.
Our production sites are located in established industrial and commercial zones, and the corresponding operating permits are reviewed via audits. In order to prevent substances that could negatively impact biodiversity from being released into the environment, we plan and operate our facilities according to strict Group-wide safety requirements. In our Group-wide standards, we have defined measures for processing waste and production wastewater. We have furthermore implemented a Group-wide program called EDISON to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
We improve the habitats for animals and plants at our sites, for instance by increasing the amount of unsealed surface area. This is, however, not always possible since we seal certain surfaces to protect them from any leakage that may occur.
In 1995, we developed a green open space concept for our Darmstadt site in Germany. Around 30% of the premises have now been greened. The green areas are designed to improve the functionality of the production areas as well as enhance the ecological value of the open areas. In 2008, we signed an agreement with the city of Darmstadt that established the framework for increasingly taking nature conservation into account. This agreement applies to the industrial use of the site and its better integration into the urban surroundings. The stipulated planning guidelines require, for example, an increase in the percentage of native plants.
When planning new sites and facilities, we consider environmental aspects such as aeration, land use structures that contribute to a favorable microclimate, and energy-efficient building concepts. For example, when planning the expansion of our site in Corsier-sur-Vevey, Switzerland, we conducted a biodiversity study. To protect the bordering alpine meadows, we developed a landscape plan in which the meadows are tended to by a local farmer.
When we acquire new sites and investigate their environmental situation, we also take into consideration information from public sources such as neighbors or NGOs. We assume responsibility for the pollution we have caused and investigate our sites before selling them.