Bayer strengthens sustainability commitment
Focus on the fields of health care, nutrition and climate protection / Eight lighthouse projects: More than 15 million people benefit directly / New technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by five million metric tons per year / Management Board Chairman Wenning: "We are making specific contributions to balance commercial success with the protection of the environment and the needs of society"
Presented Bayer's sustainability strategy: Werner Wenning, Chairman of the Board of Management of Bayer AG (right), and Dr. Wolfgang Plischke, member of the Board of Management of Bayer AG.
Leverkusen, November 11, 2009 - Bayer is increasing its commitment to sustainability. To this end the Group is launching an extensive program with eight so-called lighthouse projects focusing on the fields of health care, nutrition and climate protection. The objective of this is to integrate the company's products and its employees' know-how into international projects to further promote sustainable development right across the globe. At a dedicated press conference in Leverkusen on November 11, 2009, Chairman of the Bayer Board of Management Werner Wenning and Management Board member Dr. Wolfgang Plischke presented the Bayer Sustainability Program to approximately 120 journalists from 35 countries. "We are making specific contributions to balance commercial success with the protection of the environment and the needs of society," said Wenning.
More than 15 million people worldwide will benefit directly from the lighthouse projects because these improve both the provision of health care and economic and social conditions. In ecological terms too, Bayer's commitment to sustainability is having measurable effects: The Group is to increase energy efficiency in production by 10 percent through 2013 compared to 2008, corresponding to specific reductions in greenhouse gases of 350,000 metric tons annually. In addition, through a new technology for chlorine production, it will be possible to reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by a further 250,000 metric tons through 2020. The marketing of this technology will even generate additional potential for cutting greenhouse gas emissions overall by five million metric tons per year.
Innovations and values as the driver of sustainability
Wenning stressed the importance of aligning corporate management to ethical values and the principles of the Corporate Governance Code and of a responsible human resources policy. Considering the experience gained from the global financial and economic crisis, he remarked: "The first order of business from our viewpoint is for companies to be led with far-sightedness and the requisite commercial prudence so that they are crisis-proof, competitive and successful in the long term."
The Chairman of the Bayer Board of Management also highlighted the relevance of innovations and investment in the future. "Only through innovation can our company generate the growth that is essential to safeguard its sustained success," he said, adding: "For us, innovations are the driver of sustainability." In 2009, Bayer's R&D budget is around EUR 2.9 billion - this is a new record for the company and the highest research budget in the German chemical and pharmaceutical industry.
Looking forward to the global climate conference in Copenhagen, Wenning said: "Our goal is to support the politicians in creating an effective and efficient global framework for emissions reduction." He continued: "We hope these efforts are successful - yet our own activities are not dependent on this success. For as a socially responsible company, we have always felt we have an obligation to contribute to climate protection and to mastering climate change."
In addition to climate protection, with its global lighthouse projects Bayer is also developing approaches to global megatrends such as health care provision and nutrition for the continuously growing world population. "As a research-based enterprise we are confronting the challenges. We want to take responsibility for the future and for a world that will undergo dramatic change," stated Dr. Plischke. The Bayer Sustainability Program therefore makes tangible contributions to the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations, particularly in terms of improving maternal health, reducing child mortality, empowering women, combating diseases and eradicating poverty and hunger.
Facilitating self-determined family planning and tackling neglected diseases
As world market leader in the field of oral contraception, within the context of health care Bayer is particularly committed to family planning and reproductive health. Over one in three of the total annual number of pregnancies of 210 million is unplanned. 20 percent of pregnancies end in abortion, and more than half a million women die every year of avoidable pregnancy- or delivery-related complications.
Against this background, Bayer HealthCare is taking a two-pronged approach: On the one hand, the company is working with partners such as the German Foundation for World Population (DSW) to improve knowledge of sexuality, health and contraception in developing countries, and on the other it is collaborating with organizations such as the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to make available hormonal contraceptives free of charge or at a reduced price. In this way, women become empowered to determine their own family planning. Bayer will further strengthen its commitment and double it by 2012 compared to 2008. Consequently, in 2012 more than 110 million cycles of oral contraceptives will be made available, thereby ensuring that eight million women in developing countries have access to a safe method of birth control.
In addition, as part of another lighthouse project, the company maintains similar efforts in the fight against so-called neglected diseases. More than 3.3 billion people - mainly the poorest of the poor - are affected by these. In cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO) Bayer provides medicines free of charge to treat African sleeping sickness and Chagas disease. Bayer is also working together with the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development, or TB Alliance for short, on the clinical development of a new tuberculosis therapy that should reduce the present duration of treatment of six months by a third. Should the studies prove successful, the new drug will be made available at reduced prices, particularly in developing countries where the disease is more prevalent.
High-quality food in emerging countries: Indonesia and India as examples
Alongside improved health care provision, a fundamental focus of the Bayer Sustainability Program is nutrition. Bayer is looking to develop approaches to the increasing demand for high-quality and, at the same time, affordable food in the emerging Asian nations in particular. Consequently, as part of the Sustainability Program, the company has launched two further lighthouse projects to help raise agricultural yields, improve food quality and boost the income situation of farmers.
For example, in Indonesia, Bayer CropScience is implementing an integrated program for sustainable rice cultivation. This combines the new method of direct seeding of pregerminated rice with the efficient use of crop protection agents and fertilizers and also includes training for farmers. This should enable yields to be increased by around 10 percent. In addition, compared to the traditional means of cultivation with transplanted seedlings, the new method reduces emissions of methane gas, which is harmful for the climate, by around 30 percent, at the same time significantly cutting water consumption. Bayer has been involved in developing the requisite sowing machinery, which is being made available to farmers free of charge.
In India, one of the main focuses is on vegetables. Consumers, the processing industry and the export trade are making increasingly high demands on food in terms of its quality. To enable farmers to meet these requirements, Bayer brings them together with the other key players in the food chain as part of its Food Chain Partnership program so that all together can develop joint solutions. By 2011, in 125 Food Chain Partnership projects, company experts will help a total of 65,000 farmers grow a range of vegetables - including tomatoes, chilies, okra, eggplant and potatoes - using methods that are profitable and sustainable.
Energy efficiency as a lever for greenhouse gas reduction: Approaches for construction and chemical production
Another cornerstone of the Bayer Sustainability Program is climate protection. Energy consumption in buildings is responsible for almost 20 percent of greenhouse emissions worldwide. Bayer MaterialScience has further developed the "EcoCommercial Building" initiative originally launched two years ago as part of the Bayer Climate Program into a comprehensive program in itself. A central element of this sustainability lighthouse project is the partnership network that the company has built up with suppliers, construction companies, architects and property developers. Bayer contributes its expertise and high-tech products and arranges for the involvement of suitable partners to facilitate tailored solutions for the construction of energy-optimized commercial and public buildings ranging from low-energy and passive constructions to zero-emission buildings.
The first zero-emission building of this kind is the company child care center Bayer has recently built and inaugurated at its site in Monheim, Germany. A company office building that will also have an emission-neutral energy balance over the course of one year is being currently constructed near New Delhi in India. This EcoCommercial Building is being adapted to the climatic conditions of the subtropics. The company also opened a new office building in Diegem, Belgium, in May 2009. Consuming just half the energy of comparable structures built using conventional methods, this building won the Belgian award for architecture and energy in 2009. Bayer also plans to increasingly market the EcoCommercial Building program within the new partnership network.
Another area in which larger-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are possible is the electricity-intensive production of chlorine, a basic chemical in the manufacture of plastics and drugs. Bayer devotes itself to this issue with a further lighthouse project. Thanks to the use of oxygen depolarized cathode technology developed by Bayer and its partners, which functions according to the fuel cell principle, electricity consumption and thus CO2 emissions in chlorine production can be cut by 30 percent. Bayer has already introduced the technology for acid-based chlorine production on an industrial scale at its sites in Caojing near Shanghai in China and in Brunsbüttel in Germany.
Bayer research scientists have now developed an application of the technology for salt-based chlorine production. A first industrial-scale facility is scheduled to go on stream in Germany by 2011. Were 15 percent of chlorine manufacturing facilities owned by all market players to be converted to this technology, it would be theoretically possible to cut global CO2 emissions in chlorine production by five million metric tons per year. This is three times the volume of carbon dioxide saved each year in Germany by newly registered cars that fulfill the EU standard for CO2 emissions. Bayer is to offer this innovative technology to other companies in the chemical industry all over the world.
Optimization of energy and resource efficiency
Alongside these two projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Bayer is driving forward the use of the Bayer Climate Check developed by Bayer Technology Services as part of its Sustainability Program and introducing the new STRUCTese® management system from Bayer MaterialScience to systematically optimize energy efficiency. In addition, with a resource efficiency check similar to the Climate Check, Bayer is increasingly subjecting the use of all relevant resources - including water and raw materials - to a comprehensive examination and assessment. The goal is to make production processes as resource-efficient as possible. These two lighthouse projects concentrating on energy and resource efficiency round off the Bayer Sustainability Program.
EUR 45 million per year for worldwide social commitment
As part of its extensive social commitment, Bayer is investing in the future sustainability of society: The company makes available approximately EUR 45 million in funding for 300 or so social projects every year. These focus mainly on the promotion of scientific education and environmental expertise among young people. For example, the Bayer Science & Education Foundation invests around EUR 500,000 annually in innovative school projects in the areas surrounding Bayer's sites in Germany. In addition, the Group's own school laboratories known as "Baylabs" offer first-class conditions for experiment-based tuition, and, as a partner to the "Jugend forscht" competition for schoolchildren, Bayer also supports talented young scientists.
Through the international Making Science Make Sense program, Bayer volunteers regularly help to shape science tuition at elementary schools in 11 participating countries. Together with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Bayer organizes around a dozen environmental projects for children and young people on all continents every year. In 2009, some 2.5 million young people participated in these projects in the fields of education and the environment alone.
Bayer: Science For A Better Life
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the fields of health care, nutrition and high-tech materials. The company's products and services are designed to benefit people and improve their quality of life. At the same time Bayer creates value through innovation, growth and high earning power. The Group is committed to the principles of sustainable development and to its role as a socially and ethically responsible corporate citizen. Economy, ecology and social responsibility are corporate policy objectives of equal rank. In fiscal 2008, Bayer employed 108,600 people and had sales of EUR 32.9 billion. Capital expenditures amounted to EUR 2.0 billion, R&D expenses to EUR 2.7 billion. For more information, go to www.bayer.com.
This release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Bayer Group or subgroup management. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Bayer's public reports which are available on the Bayer website at www.bayer.com. The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.