What is biodiversity all about and why is it important?
Biodiversity refers to:
The World Economic Forum's latest Global Risk Report identifies the failure of climate action, extreme weather events and biodiversity loss as the three biggest global risks over the next decade. The dramatic loss of biodiversity is just as big a threat to humanity as climate change. Why?
Whether fertile soils, clean water or fresh air, human survival depends on an intact nature. Planet Earth is still providing these "services" for us at the moment – not to mention the special "services" of a high diversity of species:
Corona has shown that human health is dependent on healthy ecosystems. Destruction of natural habitats, for example by converting forests to cropland and pasture, brings wild populations into closer contact with livestock and humans. This increases the risk of disease transmission. More than 60 percent of emerging infectious diseases are transmitted from animals to humans, most of them from wild animals.
The Federal Republic of Germany even has an official "National Strategy on Biological Diversity". Have you ever heard of it? Probably not – biodiversity has an image problem.
The United Nations Decade of Biological Diversity is now over, without any resounding successes having been achieved in the protection of biodiversity. At the 15th World Conference on Nature (COP 15) in December 2022, a new framework agreement on global biodiversity conservation, the "Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF)" (similar to the Paris Agreement on climate change), was adopted. The agreement refers specifically to combating the loss of biodiversity, restoring ecosystems and protecting the rights of indigenous peoples.
A key goal is to place at least 30 per cent of the world's land and marine area under effective protection by 2030. In total, the agreement contains four long-term goals to be achieved by 2050, as well as 23 medium-term goals to be achieved by 2030. Read more here.
Shortly before COP 15, the European Parliament and the European Council reached a provisional agreement on an EU regulation on deforestation-free supply chains. This means that certain goods placed on the EU market may no longer contribute to deforestation and forest degradation in the world. Among other things, this concerns raw materials used for textiles. Therefore, VAUDE is currently very intensively involved in the topic of a deforestation-free supply chain. Further information on this resolution can be found here. These resolutions are important and necessary, because the planetary boundaries clearly show that the scope with regard to biodiversity as well as land use change has long since been abandoned.
The loss of biodiversity requires rapid action, which is also what NABU (only in German) is calling for. After the GBF was announced, disillusionment set in, because the agreement is not enough to stop or reverse the loss of biodiversity and ecosystems. Therefore, at the European and national level, the goals must be re-sharpened and made measurable, and clear measures for implementation must be proposed.
Our cooperation partner, the WWF Germany, has identified the following primary causes for the loss of biological diversity:
VAUDE was one of the first companies to carry out a Biodiversity Check as part of the EU Business & Biodiversity Campaign. In a 2010 workshop, the entire executive committee and many of our managers came together under the guidance of the Bodenseestiftung to identify the impact of our business activities on biodiversity. We also wanted to know how we, as a company, benefit from biodiversity and what steps we should take to protect it.
We then commissioned an external consultancy agency to create a Biodiversity Concept for our Tettnang-Obereisenbach site. More about it here.
From the raw materials to finished products, many steps have a direct or indirect impact on nature. We are already working with environmental protection standards such as the GOTS for our natural fiber products to keep this impact as low as possible.
We are aware of our responsibility in this regard and will devote more attention to this issue in the future. A key point is the global threat of deforestation, as forests are home to 80% of all animal and plant species outside the oceans. They provide habitats and protect biodiversity. But forests are also critical in stabilizing our climate by regulating ecosystems and removing carbon dioxide from the earth’s atmosphere.
Forests are crucial for stabilizing our climate. They regulate ecosystems, protect biodiversity, provide habitats for diverse species of plants, animals and fungi, and play an important role in removing carbon dioxide from our atmosphere.
For this reason, we assess where in the supply chain there is a risk of deforestation and what measures we can take to minimize the risk. With certifications such as the GOTS standard for all organic cotton used at VAUDE, VAUDE is already well positioned when it comes to natural fibers. But this is just the beginning. Our goal is to achieve a complete overview of the impact of VAUDE's activities on biodiversity and land use changes.
A great challenge is to also gain more transparency into the production of precursors such as chemicals and their potential impact on nature. Here, we are currently lacking information.
We will report on our progress in upcoming sustainability reports.
You can make a contribution with your personal shopping behavior. Looking for ideas? Take a look at www.nachhaltiger-warenkorb.de.
Biodiversity can also be promoted in your own garden or on your balcony with minimal effort. The WWF has a few good tips for achieving this.