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Puebla / Wolfsburg, 2014-04-08

Volkswagen launches “Think Blue. Nature.” nature conservation and biodiversity project in Mexico

• Long-term commitment to state-supported biodiversity corridor in the Sierra
  Madre supplements previous environmental sustainability projects
• Young environmental ambassadors help plant trees and clean watercourses
• Cooperation with Mexican Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources
  and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit
• "Por Amor al Planeta" nature conservation prize awarded for the eighth time

The Volkswagen plant in Puebla - in the background Izta-Popo volcanoes national preserve.Volkswagen de México is significantly expanding its long-standing commitment to nature conservation and biodiversity in Mexico and today presented its comprehensive "Think Blue. Nature." program to the public at the Volkswagen plant in Puebla. A new project is the initiative “Eco Chavos” (young people for the environment), which will encourage 10,000 young people to participate in practical environmental protection and the conservation of biodiversity over a period of three years.

Volkswagen de México is the largest private sponsor of environmental protection measures in Mexico and will in future be pooling its activities under the umbrella of the program "Think Blue. Nature." In the presence of the Mexican Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources Juan José Guerra, Andreas Hinrichs, the CEO of Volkswagen de México, together with Richard Modley representing Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit and Luis Fueyo MacDonald, the National Commissioner of Natural Protected Areas, signed the framework agreement for "Eco Chavos". A further partner is the global-woods International project management organization.

At the event, the Volkswagen Group Officer for the Environment, Energy and New Business Areas, Wolfram Thomas, said: "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." Volkswagen will initially be investing €260,000 and will be the first private sponsor of the biodiversity corridor CESMO (Corredor Ecologico Sierra Madre Oriental) in the Eastern Sierra Madre, which has a total area of four million hectares in five Mexican states including Puebla and provides a habitat for about 650 endangered species.

In the "Eco Chavos" project, 300 young people will be trained as environmental ambassadors who are then to inspire 10,000 young people in their communities to take part in nature conservation activities in one of seven nature conservation areas within the CESMO corridor and to raise awareness for environmental and biodiversity issues. CESMO is Mexico's contribution to compliance with the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and is being supported by the German and Mexican governments as well as Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit. The objective of the new nature conservation and biodiversity project is to plant 100,000 trees and to clean 100 kilometers of watercourses.

Volcano near Puebla - in the region around the Mexican city water is a scarce resource."Think Blue. Nature." also includes the major reforestation and youth education program in the national park between the two volcanoes of Iztaccíhuatl and Popocatépetl. In the national park, 490,000 mountain spruce trees have been planted since 2008 in cooperation with 40 partners from the component supply industry in order to stabilize the water table in the Puebla region. 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.

The project "Por Amor al Planeta" (for the love of the planet) launched in 2007 is devoted to research into biodiversity in Mexico and projects for the protection of biological diversity in nature conservation areas. At the event in Puebla, the "Por Amor al Planeta" award was presented for the eighth time. This year the award, which includes a cash prize of about €30,000, went to Prof. Dr. Enrique Jardel Peláez of the University of Guadalajara. Professor Jardel's achievements are in the area of the preservation of forests and research into innovative methods for fighting forest fires.

"Think Blue." Is the holistic environmental sustainability strategy of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand. That not only means producing more efficient vehicles but also working hard on more efficient production. Volkswagen has committed itself to making the production of each vehicle and each component 25 percent more environmentally compatible by 2018, compared with 2010 – in terms of energy and water consumption, carbon dioxide and solvent emissions, and waste for disposal. The "Think Blue. Factory." program is being implemented at the Puebla and Guanajuato plants in Mexico as well as 26 other Volkswagen plants worldwide.


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