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 the seeds of the common poppy (Papaver rhoeas), whose extracts can be found in our cosmetic active RonaCare® Poppy SE. We therefore have a vested interest in preserving and promoting biodiversity.
Our holistic approach to preserving biodiversity
Across all our sites, we consider the ecosystems in our immediate vicinity with the goal of minimizing our direct impacts. With these considerations in mind, our wide array of environmental sustainability efforts such as water management and climate action help conserve 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).
How we preserve biodiversity at our sites
Our efforts to protect biodiversity are organized by our Group function Environment, Health, Safety, Security, Quality (EQ) (Environmental stewardship). In designing new sites and plants, we always include our Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) unit, which is responsible for reviewing the ecological aspects of a project. EHS is on hand to assist all sites with support and advice, and furthermore performs detailed environmental impact assessments for large-scale projects.
Our commitment: Standards and agreements
Substances that compromise biodiversity should not end up in 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 ensure plant safety. To minimize our impact on the environment, we furthermore adhere to internal standards governing air emissions, water protection 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. Within our company, for instance, the Nagoya Protocol plays a key role in our product development efforts, and we always apply the agreement’s requirements when using genetic resources originating in countries covered by the protocol.
Nagoya Protocol and access and benefit sharing
We are highly vested in implementing the Nagoya Protocol. A key part of this agreement is access and benefit sharing, which ensures that countries providing genetic resources – generally developing nations – also benefit from their use. In 2018, we developed processes aimed at systematically assessing instances of access and benefit sharing and dealing with them according to common standards. In addition to these efforts, we implemented further requirements of the Nagoya Protocol, establishing a Group-wide standard that details our approach to genetic resources originating in countries covered by this agreement.
Biodiversity 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. We are working 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. We conduct regular assessments of our facilities there to evaluate the site’s nature conservation efforts, using the results to help develop an action plan for improving the surrounding ecosystem for plants and animals. For instance, we have created places of refuge for insects and reptiles, and around 30% of the premises (0.4 square kilometers) have now been greened. Ecologically friendly spaces are not a new idea for us, having developed a green open space concept for our Darmstadt site as early as 1995. Moreover, we have worked with the City of Darmstadt to draft a planning guideline that stipulates the ecological optimization of our site’s green areas. In addition, we survey the environment around potential construction sites to assess the respective flora and fauna situation there.