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. Prime examples include red algae (polysiphonia elongata), whose cytoplasm is used in our cosmetic active RonaCare® RenouMer, and comfrey root extract, which is used in our Kytta® pain relief cream. We therefore have a vested interest in preserving and promoting biodiversity.
Our holistic approach to conserving biodiversity
Across all our sites, we consider the unique features of the ecosystems in our immediate vicinity with the goal of minimizing our direct impacts. Our wide array of environmental sustainability efforts, such as water management and climate impact mitigation, directly contribute to the conservation of biodiversity.
Our own production sites are located in established industrial and commercial zones. Before acquiring a company – and thus its sites – we first conduct an ecological risk assessment, taking into consideration information from public sources such as neighbors and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The results of the assessment influence whether we decide in favor of the acquisition.
How we conserve biodiversity at our sites
Our measures to protect biodiversity are overseen by our Group function Environment, Health, Safety, Security, Quality (EQ) (see also Environmental stewardship). In designing new sites and plants, we always include our Environment Health and Safety (EHS) unit to ensure that the ecological aspects of a project are also taken into consideration. EHS is on hand to assist all sites with support and advice, and furthermore carries out evaluations in the case of large-scale projects.
Our commitment: Standards and agreements
Substances that 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 way we manage waste and wastewater treatment as well as how we improve plant safety. To minimize our impact on the environment, we furthermore adhere to internal standards governing air emissions and energy management.
The Nagoya Protocol is an international supplementary agreement to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which was transposed into German law in 2015. The aims of the CBD include the conservation of biodiversity and the sustainable use of its components. An important instrument in achieving these aims is access and benefit sharing. We are currently developing processes that will create a consistent framework for systematically handling resources that fall under access and benefit sharing. We hope to conclude these processes in the course of 2018. In developing products, for instance, we always apply the requirements of the Nagoya Protocol when using genetic resources originating in countries covered by the protocol.
Biodiversity conservation at our sites
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.
Our Darmstadt site is a prime example of our commitment to preserving biodiversity. Since 2016, we’ve been conducting an assessment of our facilities there to evaluate the site’s nature conservation efforts. Based on the results, we have developed an action plan for improving the surrounding ecosystem for plants and animals and have implemented measures to create places of refuge for insects and reptiles. In addition to these efforts, we also assess the flora and fauna of new project sites before commencing activities there. Around 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 the ecological, economic and design optimization of our site’s green areas.