In this position, all subgroups commit themselves to the Convention on Biological Diversity. Under this Convention, the industrialized nations entered into an undertaking to provide developing countries with greater support in implementing international biodiversity goals.
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. CropScience supports a wide variety of activities to promote biodiversity in agriculture. A key part of this is the optimal use of high-yield areas to cultivate food, feed and renewable raw materials. This must be harmonized with the preservation and protection of natural resources by transforming less high-yield areas into habitats for animals and plants. The company’s experience shows that cutting-edge agriculture and the promotion of biodiversity are not mutually exclusive. For example, Bayer has for many years been working successfully with farmers and experts from nature conservation associations, business and academia. Together, the experts at Bayer develop and test measures for promoting biodiversity in agriculture, collect data and assess the changes in species diversity. The goal is to integrate the measures expediently into the operational procedures used by the farmers.
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), CropScience also supports municipalities in Germany and Austria in turning unused strips of grass into feeding areas for bees. In 2014 a total of 30 sites with a total area of 96,000 square meters were supported with special “bee meadow” seeds, and an expansion of the initiative is planned for 2015.
HealthCare also attaches great importance to maintaining biological diversity. As a member of the Association of Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies, we support the association’s position on the u.n. Convention on Biological Diversity. The HealthCare policy on biodiversity is implemented at the subgroup’s sites. Among other factors, it 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 into natural substances is not a focal point of our work, accounting for less than 5% of research activities. If such substances are used during research into new pharmaceuticals, they are first checked with respect to the Convention on Biological Diversity.
At HealthCare, some hormones are synthesized by way of certain sterols or phytosterols generated as by-products of the manufacture of vegetable oils from soybeans, oilseed rape or sunflowers. Palm oil or palm kernel oil is not used due to its low sterol content. We also purchase various steroids that are manufactured from diosgenin. Today, this substance is usually obtained from yam grown in countries such as China. In the fermentation process, we also use raw materials such as water, glucose, yeast, soybean starch, castor oil and corn steep water. Extracts of plant leaves (Centella asiatica) are used in some Consumer Care products. This plant is widely found in Asia and is not an endangered species. We also take great care with the cultivation and harvesting of the raw materials for manufacturing plant-based pharmaceuticals for holistic treatments. They are collected and cultivated in line with the requirements of the gacp (Good Agricultural and Collection Practice) guidelines of the European Medicines Agency.
On the European market, CropScience offers a mild weed control product based on fatty acids derived from palm oil. As the production of palm oil is often associated with social and ecological problems, Bayer has joined the Round Table for Sustainable Palm Oil (rspo). This underscores our commitment to responsible materials procurement. Bayer purchases GreenPalm certificates, which support the production of sustainable palm oil.
MaterialScience is experimenting with the replacement of crude oil-based raw materials as part of its innovation and cooperation projects. For example, the subgroup is testing a biotechnological process that is based on the conversion of biomass by microorganisms and can supply material for the production of plastics.
A Group-wide directive on process and plant safety 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.
In 2013 Bayer Real Estate, the Bayer Group’s real estate service provider, used its global site register to compare the geographical coordinates of relevant production sites that currently apply 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. As part of the comparison, we checked water usage and discharge at the company’s water-intensive sites so as to prevent significant extractions of water and wastewater discharges that could adversely affect the protected areas.