On April 8 Volkswagen (VW), the owner-operator of the largest auto manufacturing plant in North America in Puebla, Mexico, launched an ambitious, pioneering biodiversity and ecological sustainability initiative to help establish a protected biological corridor that will assure local wildlife has the habitat and migratory paths required for their survival. The program also aims to instill a healthy environmental ethic in Mexico’s youth and communities.
With its “Think Blue” strategy, VW has sought to firmly ingrain and establish ecological, as well as economic and social, sustainability principles in its core organizational values, operating policies and procedures. The results of this effort are evident in the company’s “green” manufacturing facility outside Chattanooga, Tenn.
VW is taking that a step further with the “Think Blue. Nature.” program. The world’s third-largest auto manufacturer, VW, is allocating an initial €260,000 (~$358,800) as the first private sponsor of the Corredor Ecologico Sierra Madre Oriental (CESMO) (Eastern Sierra Madre Ecological Corridor), a 4 million-hectare area spanning five Mexican states that provides habitat for some 650 endangered species.
Auto manufacturing and ecological sustainability
Along with its commitment to help establish CESMO, VW is also pledging resources to launch “Eco Chavos,” a youth conservation project that aims to train 300 young people as environmental ambassadors. The 300 will carry on to recruit another 10,000 young people in their communities to raise ecological sustainability awareness and knowledge, and take part in nature conservation activities in one of seven nature conservation areas with the CESMO corridor.
The Eco Chavos project’s goal is to plant 100,000 trees and clean 100 kilometers (62.5 miles) of water courses, VW explains in a “Think Blue. Nature.” press release.
VW, through its Mexico subsidiary Volkswagen de Mexico, is the largest private sponsor of environmental protection measures in the country, activities that the company will be pooling under the “Think Blue. Nature.” umbrella in future.
VW & “Por Amor al Planeta”
Speaking amidst government officials, project partners, employees and public participants at the “Think Blue. Nature.” program launch event at the VW plant in Puebla, VW Group Officer for the Environment, Energy and New Business Areas Wolfram Thomas stated:
“Volkswagen has declared the conservation of nature to be a corporate objective and is committed to the conservation of resources, biodiversity and the linking of habitats for plants and animals throughout the world. The Group’s activities here in Mexico are a perfect example of this commitment.”
“Think Blue. Nature.” also includes support for “Por Amor al Planeta” (“For the Love of the Planet”), a reforestation and youth education program in a national park home to the Iztaccihuatl and Popocatepeti volcanoes. Through “Por Amor al Planeta,” VW of Mexico, in cooperation with 40 partners, has enabled the planting of some 490,000 spruce trees in the national park since 2008.
The reforestation effort yields real, substantial benefits to VW’s manufacturing operations, as well as to local communities and ecosystems across the area, not the least of which is helping stabilize the water table in the Puebla region. As VW states:
“Thanks to the improved seepage of rainwater, an additional water volume of up to four million cubic meters per year is available. 158,000 indigenous trees are being planted in a similar project in Sierra de Lobos, Guanajuato.”
Dedicated to research into and protection of biodiversity in Mexico, “Por Amor al Planeta” also made its eighth environmental conservation award at the “Think Blue. Nature.” launch in Puebla. The latest “Por Amor al Planeta” award, which includes a cash prize of some €30,000 (~$41,400), went to the University of Guadalajara Prof. Enrique Jardel Pelaez for recognition of his achievements “in the area of the preservation of forests and research into innovative methods for fighting forest fires.”
All images credit Volkswagen AG