Press Conference "Bayer Climate Program"
CEO Wenning: “We are not resting on our laurels with the successes we have achieved so far. We want to set new standards.” / Innovative Bayer solutions for buildings, crop-growing, biofuels and production / Ambitious new emission targets / EUR 1 billion for climate protection in the next three years / Establishment of the "Bayer Climate Award“ and student scholarships
Chairman of the Board of Management Werner Wenning (r.) and Board member Dr. Wolfgang Plischke at the Bayer AG Climate Press Conference in Leverkusen on November 19, 2007
Leverkusen, November 19, 2007 – Bayer has launched an integrated, Group-wide “Bayer Climate Program”, with which it wants to further reduce CO2 emissions from its production facilities and develop new solutions for increasing climate protection and dealing with climate change. It encompasses different measures that have been initiated by the Group Management Board and should cover a period of several years. In the new climate protection program, which is based on the newly formulated “Bayer Policy on Climate Change”, Bayer will bundle its specific expertise as an inventor company. It has, in fact, already begun working on the first lighthouse projects: a global concept for zero-emission buildings for offices and other industrial buildings known as the “EcoCommercial Building”, the development of stress-tolerant plants and systems to encourage the effective use of crops for biofuels, and the “Bayer Climate Check” for optimizing production processes. Bayer will invest EUR 1 billion in climate-related research and development and other projects in the next three years.
“We are well aware that we are an emitter of greenhouse gases,” said Chairman of the Board of Management of Bayer AG, Werner Wenning, during the presentation of the new climate program at an international press conference in front of more than 100 journalists in Leverkusen. “That was why in the past we focused our attention on lowering CO2 emissions”. Between 1990 and 2006 the company considerably reduced its absolute global greenhouse gas emissions – by 36 percent in fact. In addition, specific emissions per product unit had also been lowered as a result of consistent improvements in energy efficiency.
Wenning added: "We want to continue growing, not least because we manufacture innovative products for efficient climate protection and for dealing with climate change.” Bayer products, he said, were making a direct contribution in many different ways to saving energy and conserving resources in our everyday life. For example, polyurethane insulating materials in buildings and refrigerators help save an enormous amount of energy.
For these achievements, independent institutions like the Carbon Disclosure Project have on several occasions awarded Bayer the distinction “Best in Class”. Only recently, the company was included for the third time in a row in the Climate Disclosure Leadership Index – the world’s first climate protection index. It is the only European company in the chemical industry to receive this honor.
Bayer supports the development of effective policies for climate protection at global level, and has been very much involved in initiatives such as 3C: Combat Climate Change. For this reason, Wenning appealed to politicians to include major greenhouse gas emitters like the United States, China and India in a new international climate agreement. “We need a turnaround with CO2 emissions. The global problem can only be addressed through joint action worldwide, at least by all the major parties responsible for emissions,” said Wenning. „Europe and particularly Germany cannot stop the climate change by adopting an isolated pioneering role. In addition, this could seriously endanger industry’s competitiveness”.
“We at Bayer take climate change very seriously and regard it as an ecological and economic challenge,” continued Wenning. In its Mission Statement, “Bayer: Science For A Better Life”, the company acknowledges and accepts its role as a socially and ethically responsible corporate citizen. “We are not resting on our laurels with the successes we have achieved so far. We want to set new standards”.
For the period between 2005 and 2020, Bayer has set new and ambitious emission targets, particularly in view of the achievements it has already made in cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
The Bayer MaterialScience subgroup wants to reduce its specific greenhouse gas emissions per ton of sales product by 25 percent globally. Bayer CropScience is targeting a reduction of 15 percent in its absolute global emissions, and Bayer HealthCare of 5 percent. “These targets are demanding because we want to bring climate protection and economic growth into harmony through greater energy efficiency,” explained Wenning.
“The Bayer Climate Program thus fully exploits the potential we have identified for protecting the climate, and implements a variety of individual measures in an integrated Group-wide approach,” said Dr. Wolfgang Plischke, the Member of the Bayer Board of Management responsible for Innovation, Technology and Environment. “We will work consistently on implementing this program over the next few years.”
Making production processes more climate-friendly
Bayer has also developed a new control instrument for increasing energy efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions from its production plants called the Bayer Climate Check. The innovative aspect of it is that it also includes the upstream stages of production in the assessment, namely raw materials, energy and logistics. The Bayer Climate Check thus provides decision-makers for the first time with a further ecological criterion for designing production processes in addition to the conventional profitability calculation.
The Bayer Group will use the Climate Check around the world to examine the “climate footprint” of its production processes, in other words, the effect on the climate of its production plants. In the first step, 100 production facilities throughout the world will be scrutinized, covering some 85 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. After this, action will be taken to introduce the improvements identified in the check in order to reduce greenhouse gases and enhance energy efficiency.
Furthermore, Bayer will use the Climate Check to extend its present ecological assessment of major new investment projects by also considering the climate protection angle.
The Bayer Climate Check will be certified at the beginning of 2008 by the technical inspection agency TÜV. So that other companies can also benefit from this innovative tool for reducing CO2 emissions, Bayer will also offer it on the open market.
The EcoCommercial Building: A global concept for zero-emission buildings
Energy consumption in buildings is responsible for nearly 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Bayer has launched an initiative devoted to what has until now been a rather neglected segment, namely commercial buildings. Working together with a number of partners, the company has developed the “EcoCommercial Building”, a globally adaptable concept for zero-emission buildings. Based on insulation with high-quality Bayer products and the building’s own resources for generating renewable energy, the EcoCommercial Building can meet its entire energy needs itself.
Bayer will launch the project with a building of its own. In spring 2008, it will begin the construction of a new company office building near New Delhi, India, thereby realizing the EcoCommercial Building concept for the first time. Through the integration of other aspects such as the glazing of the facades and special ventilation systems, the building will be adapted to the climatic conditions of the subtropics with their extreme heat and humidity. The result is that this zero-emission building will consume 70 percent less electricity than the average building in India.
The concept of the EcoCommercial Building can be adapted to the Earth’s various climate zones. Whether it is a matter of keeping heat out, as in India, or keeping heat in, as in the northern hemisphere, the polyurethane insulating materials display an exceedingly positive energy balance. In fact, they save more than 70 times as much energy as is needed for their production.
Secure harvests, and crops as energy suppliers
Climate change is also a multiple challenge for agriculture. The global population continues to grow and, with it, the need to feed the world’s people and animals. As things stand at the moment, the area under cultivation cannot be increased. In fact, the amount of agricultural land is declining due to erosion and desertification. In addition, heat, drought or salty soil can reduce the attainable optimal yield of crops by up to 80 percent.
The consequences of climate change threaten to further exacerbate these cultivation conditions. This means that, under more difficult conditions, agricultural productivity must be raised. In short, the yield per hectare under cultivation must be improved significantly.
In addition, the shortage of fossil fuels and the damage they cause to the world climate are leading to plants becoming more important as renewable energy raw materials for biofuels. As a result, there is also growing competition for acreages between energy crops and food crops.
Against this background, safeguarding harvests and raising yields is of major importance. This is where Bayer comes in. The company wants to make use of the possibilities offered by biotechnology to make plants more resistant to climatic conditions such as drought and heat. The intention is to enhance their so-called “stress tolerance”. Initial field trials with canola have already shown a significant increase in yields. Furthermore, Bayer can also offer solutions in conventional crop protection for making plants more resistant to stress and thereby safeguarding harvests.
One possibility for eliminating the competition for land under cultivation is provided by the jatropha plant. It can be cultivated in dry regions that are not suitable for growing food crops. In addition, it is unsuitable for producing food anyway. The jatropha seed consists of 30 percent oil, which can be used for the production of biodiesel. Bayer intends to pursue this approach in a research project with cooperation partners.
The company is already making an important contribution to providing crops as raw materials for biofuels with its seeds for high-yield canola. InVigor®, a high-yield canola variety developed by Bayer researchers and grown in Canada, makes it possible, by improving harvests, to achieve a 20 percent higher yield of biodiesel than with comparable seeds. The company is also currently examining options with bioethanol.
New policy for vehicle fleets and reduction in business air travel
Bayer will also involve its employees around the world in its integrated program. Initially in Germany and then gradually in other countries, incentive systems will be introduced for using low-emission vehicles and gas-fueled company cars. From 2007 to 2012, the Group wants to cut the emissions caused by company vehicles by 20 percent. In addition, the greater use of new telecommunications technologies is aimed at reducing business air travel.
Encouragement for outstanding climate scientists and dedicated school students
In addition, Bayer intends to introduce two initiatives to encourage scientific innovations in the field of climate protection and to motivate young people to become interested in this subject. Firstly, the recently established Bayer Science and Education Foundation will bestow, every two years, the Bayer Climate Award with a prize of EUR 50,000 on representatives of the natural sciences and technical disciplines who develop groundbreaking solutions for climate protection. The award will be granted for the first time in 2008. The candidates will be nominated by a renowned group of experts.
The Foundation will also enable dedicated school students, in a scholarship program established under the title “Bayer Climate Fellows”, to attend seminars abroad on the subject of climate protection by offering financial support of up to EUR 5,000.
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