The increasing loss of biodiversity is a global challenge that impacts our company as well. After all, we depend on ecosystems for natural resources such as raw materials. A prime example from our Healthcare business sector is comfrey root extract, which is used in our Kytta® pain relief cream. We therefore have a vested interest in preserving and promoting biodiversity.
Holistic approach to conserving biodiversity
Our wide array of environmental sustainability efforts, such as water management and climate impact mitigation, directly contribute to the conservation of biodiversity. Representing part of our commitment to environmental stewardship, our measures to protect biodiversity are overseen by our Group function Environment, Health, Safety, Security, Quality (EQ).
Across all our sites, we take into consideration the unique features of the ecosystems in our immediate vicinity with the goal of minimizing our direct impacts as far as possible.
Designing with biodiversity in mind
Substances that could compromise biodiversity should not be discharged into the environment, which is why we design and operate our plants in accordance with our Group-wide safety and environmental requirements. For instance, our Corporate Environment, Health, and Safety (EHS) standards define the manner in which we manage waste and wastewater treatment as well as improve plant safety.
In designing new sites and plants, we always include our EHS unit to ensure that ecological aspects are also taken into consideration.
Minimizing surface sealing
Unsealed surfaces represent an important habitat for plants and animals. At our facilities, however, we are required to seal certain surfaces to minimize the risk of chemicals ending up in the ecosystem. Our goal is to increase the percentage of unsealed surfaces insofar as safety requirements permit.
Environmental risk assessment for acquisitions
Our production sites are located in established industrial and commercial zones.
Before acquiring a company, we first investigate ecological risks, taking into consideration information from public sources such as neighbors and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The results of the investigation influence whether we decide in favor of the acquisition. Most recently, we conducted such risk assessments for the acquisitions of AZ Electronic Materials and Sigma-Aldrich.
Implementing the Nagoya Protocol
The Nagoya Protocol is an international supplementary agreement to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Its aim is to implement one of the three objectives of the CBD, namely the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from genetic resources, with the other two convention objectives being the conservation of biological diversity (or biodiversity) and the sustainable use of its components. In October 2015, the Nagoya Protocol was transposed into German law. We are currently reviewing our processes in preparation to implement the new legislation within our Life Science business sector.
Biodiversity conservation at our sites
Our Darmstadt site is a prime example of our commitment to preserving biodiversity. Since 2016, we've been conducting an assessment of our facilities in both Darmstadt and Gernsheim to evaluate their nature conservation efforts. The results will help us develop an action plan for improving the surrounding ecosystem for plants and animals. 30% of the premises (0.4 square kilometers) have already been greened. In 1995, we developed a green open space concept for our Darmstadt site, while a 2008 agreement with the city of Darmstadt stipulates how nature conservation is to be integrated into the land use of our site.