As before, the protection of biological diversity is a high priority for the Volkswagen Group. In dialog with qualified partners, we are methodically expanding our expertise in nature and species conservation.
The Group’s largest and most significant conservation project is the reforestation of the Izta-Popo mountain region in Mexico, which should help recover groundwater and stop soil erosion. With the support of numerous suppliers, we were able to add even more to the 300,000 trees already planted. At the same time, Volkswagen organized programs in the national park for teachers and students on responsibility for the environment and natural resources. Plans have also been developed for implementing a similar project in the Sierra de Lobos national park near Silao. An additional commitment made by Volkswagen is to establish a long-term basis for the future for the international initiative “Biodiversity in Good Company”. Following the end of support from the German environmental ministry, new structures had to be created that allow the companies to continue the initiative under their own direction. We also strengthened our involvement in the “Business and Biodiversity Initiative” by assuming a position of responsibility on the new association board. Volkswagen has been the only DAX company to actively contribute to this initiative since it was established by the German Environment Ministry.
Volkswagen Leasing GmbH was able to provide even stronger financial support for protection of the moors in Lower Saxony through the environmental program created in partnership with the German Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU). After the restoration of the Theikenmeer moorlands, wetlands restoration in the Großes Moor (Great Moor) nature reserve near Gifhorn in Lower Saxony began in 2011. This will help protect 150 endangered animal species and 40 endangered vascular plant species.
Also in cooperation with NABU, we continued our “Welcome, Wolf” initiative to alleviate concerns about the return of wolves to Germany. In fall 2011, the multimedia presentation “Tour de Wolf” was initiated, which travels though German zoos and animal parks to shed light on wolves living in the wild.
We have also been involved in the protection of biological diversity in the area directly surrounding our main production facility in Wolfsburg. In the Aller glacial valley region, measures have been planned and already implemented in part for connecting habitats and restoring a large number of rivers and streams. Existing projects, actors and institutions in the region were also networked. In cooperation with “Aktion Fischotterschutz” (an otter conservation project), a larger overall project that will span several years has been planned as part of a German federal program for biological diversity.