Biodiversity is the degree of life variety on Earth and the genetic differences within each species. It also includes the variety of ecosystems in which living creatures – including humans – form a community, interacting with one another.
Climate change and the loss of biodiversity are today's primary environmental challenges. While aviation contributes two per cent to man-made CO2 (carbon dioxide) levels, deforestation accounts for approximately 17 per cent of global greenhouse emissions – making it the second largest source after the energy sector.
Deforestation also is a key component of the global threat to biodiversity – which means when tackling climate change, deforestation must be addressed at the same time. More than half of Earth's original rainforests have been destroyed, while two-thirds of the ecosystem is in an advanced state of destruction and species extinction is running at 1,000 times the natural rate.
Additionally, safeguarding biodiversity also preserves Airbus’ future innovations. Since the days of Leonardo da Vinci, aeronautical engineers have been inspired by the natural world. From eagle-inspired winglets on the A380 to lotus-effect coatings on cabin fittings, ‘biomimicry” shows us that nature is a library from which industry can learn.
The Green Wave
Airbus has signed a memorandum of understanding with the United Nations Environment Programme’s Convention on Biological Diversity, and is working in partnership with the UN Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity to support The Green Wave campaign. This initiative’s goal is to engage and educate young people worldwide about how the rich variety of life on Earth impacts the planet. Airbus has been using its global reach to support the initiative, and is asking others in the industry and beyond to do the same.
In support of The Green Wave campaign, Airbus has mobilised its vast network of employees to help make a difference during the annual International Day of Biodiversity. In the past, staff members in China have worked with children in the Yunnan Province on a school garden and United Kingdom employees have given mini-orchards to nearby schools.
Airbus is also encouraging airlines from around the world to join the initiative, and has secured more than 30 partner airlines flying 200 million passengers to pledge their support for the initiative.
Bonn Challenge and Plant A Pledge
Airbus also is generating support for the Bonn Challenge, a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation global plan by governments, corporations and non-governmental organisations to restore 150 million identified hectares of forest by 2020.
In June 2012, Airbus partnered with the International Union for Conservation of Nature to launch www.plantapledge.com, a website devoted to educating the public on the Challenge and providing a petition in support of the restoration efforts. The petition will then be delivered to world leaders at the UN Climate Change Convention in Doha later in the year, and the resulted will be announced in May 2013.
For more information on the initiative, go to the Plant A Pledge website.
The Airbus biodiversity program
The Airbus Corporate Foundation has also launched a biodiversity program with the goal of raising awareness of biodiversity issues among young people.
Through the program, groups of Airbus employees have participated in a conservation project in India that consists of the installation of an environmentally-friendly and sustainable energy source in a rural village – reducing both deforestation and the need for liquefied petroleum gas. Airbus employees involved in the project then share their experiences with youth groups during a three-year educational biodiversity project with local schools.