A new, Group-wide biodiversity position has applied at Bayer since the beginning of 2013. This incorporates the existing CropScience subgroup position. It takes into account influences on biodiversity along the whole value chain and the sustainable use of raw materials. Particular attention is paid to product innovations that are of specific benefit to biodiversity.
In this position, all subgroups commit themselves to the Convention on Biological Diversity. Under this Convention, the industrialized nations entered into an undertaking in October 2012 to provide developing countries with greater support in implementing international biodiversity goals.
CropScience’s research and development activities include improving plant health, providing assistance in tackling invasive species, and supporting and implementing measures to promote integrated crop management. Farmers and breeders can use CropScience products to improve their production efficiency with the goal of reducing the area needed for agricultural use, which in turn leaves room for the preservation of valuable ecosystems with a large diversity of species.
Great importance is also attached to the protection of biodiversity as part of the European Union’s reform of its Common Agricultural Policy in line with the Convention on Biological Diversity.
Building on the measures initiated as part of the International Year of Biodiversity in 2010, CropScience started a raft of other projects in 2011 and continued them in 2013. The subgroup thus also supports the European Union’s Action Plan for Biodiversity in the key areas that we can influence. To protect and encourage pollinating insects, several strips of flowers have been planted in front of and on the grounds of the CropScience site in Monheim, Germany. Under the motto “Blühende Wege” (Areas in bloom), the subgroup is appealing to municipalities, beekeepers and individuals to turn unused strips of grass into feeding areas for bees. The goal is to trigger a dynamic process that will create a network of thriving biotopes throughout Germany. A total of nine sites were supported with special seeds in 2013 and an expansion of the initiative is planned for 2014.
In the Upper Rhine Plain, Germany, a project examining the influence of strips of flowers, beetle banks and other measures on the populations of wild bees and butterflies is already in its fourth year.
The Bayer Forward Farming project earmarked for roll-out throughout Europe was started in 2011 with the goal of demonstrating that it is possible to strike a successful balance between productive agriculture on the one hand and the maintenance and promotion of biodiversity on farmland on the other. Farms in Germany, Belgium, the United Kingdom and France are currently involved, and further activities are planned in the Netherlands and Poland.
HealthCare also attaches great importance to maintaining biological diversity. As a member of the Association of Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies, it supports the association’s position on the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity. A new biodiversity policy has been in place at HealthCare’s sites since June 1, 2013. Among other things, this takes into account that the subgroup concentrates on the chemical synthesis of substances using state-of-the-art technologies in medicinal, combinatorial and computational chemistry. Research on natural substances is not a focal point of its work, accounting for less than 5% of its research activities. If such substances are used during research into new pharmaceuticals, they are first checked with respect to the Convention on Biological Diversity.
A Group-wide directive stipulates that new production sites must not be set up in areas that are protected by statutory requirements of the countries concerned relating to natural characteristics, biodiversity or other factors.
Using our global site register, we compared the geographical coordinates of relevant production sites against those of internationally recognized protected areas (ASEAN Heritage, Barcelona Convention, UNESCO-MAB Biosphere Reserve, Wetlands and World Heritage Convention and Ramsar Convention). This analysis showed that three of our sites lie less than three kilometers from protected areas. These are Schorren van de Benenden Schelde, Belgium; the Wadden Sea of Lower Saxony, Germany; and Blesbokspruit, South Africa. For example, we regularly check water usage and discharge at water-intensive sites so as to prevent significant extractions of water and wastewater discharges that could adversely affect the protected areas.