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.
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.
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."
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.”
All images credit Volkswagen AG
An experienced, independent journalist, editor and researcher, Andrew has crisscrossed the globe while reporting on sustainability, corporate social responsibility, social and environmental entrepreneurship, renewable energy, energy efficiency and clean technology. He studied geology at CU, Boulder, has an MBA in finance from Pace University, and completed a certificate program in international governance for biodiversity at UN University in Japan.