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Audi wins prestigious United Nations prize for its environmental efforts

By raccars Published

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Despite the Dieselgate emissions scandal, car giant Audi is praised for its environmental work.

It may seem surprising to some people in the wake of the Dieselgate scandal but car giant Audi has received praise from the United Nations in relation to the company’s environmental efforts. The manufacturer has been awarded a prize for a project to create natural habitats to attract and offer protection to wildlife, as part of a wider biodiversity initiative.

Ulrike Scharf, Bavaria’s Environment Minister, has presented the company with a biological diversity prize from the UN in recognition of its efforts to spread environmental awareness. A press release sent out from Audi AG said that the company’s project centring on the conversion of transformer towers in different states of Germany had gained ‘official’ project recognition as part of the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity. The Audi project is entitled ‘Columns’ or ‘Pillars of Diversity’.

Audi before Dieselgate

Before the furore over emissions, Audi had ploughed €5 million into a new Environmental Foundation. The aim was to focus solely on environmentally-beneficial ‘pursuits’ with ‘the common good’ as the goal.

The project that has just gained UN recognition was launched by the Environmental Foundation in 2014. It has involved the conversion of disused transformer stations in Germany with the objective of creating areas in which endangered fauna can live and breed.

The project has seen the former transformer stations being converted in order to offer places to live for endangered species including barn owls and bats. Dr Rüdiger Recknagel, the head of the Environmental Foundation said that the company was ‘very proud’ to receive the UN’s recognition in relation to the Decade on Biodiversity.

Dr Recknagel added that the prestigious award shows that Audi’s commitment to environmental issues is making what he believes is ‘a valuable contribution’ as part of efforts to implement a biodiversity strategy. At one former transformer station at Ittlingen, near Heilbronn, species finding a new home include little owls, barns owls and pipistrelles. Audi claims that in addition to specifically protecting wildlife, the project has been working to convey an educational message about the importance of biodiversity.

The work of the United Nations

The United Nations Decade of Biodiversity started in 2011 and is set to end in 2020. Its aim is to halt the global reduction in biological diversity. The UN is awarding a number of prizes to projects which are shown to be exemplary in terms of ecological values communication, sustainability or species protection.

The United Nations General Assembly launched the Decade in a bid to achieve objectives in relation to significantly lower biodiversity loss. The declaration by the UN was made at the end of 2010, which was the International Year of Biodiversity.

As part of the UN Decade on Biodiversity project, governments around the world are being encouraged to share, implement and develop national strategies in order to implement a Strategic Plan for Biodiversity.

The Audi Environment Foundation

Motoring giant Audi set up its Environmental Foundation with the aim of promoting research, science and the protection of the natural environment, according to the company’s official website. Its primary objectives are to support the protection of a natural habitat for all living animals and plants, including our own species, and to promote scientific studies which can help to ensure sustainability.

Audi also claims that the foundation enables it to focus on the development of technologies compatible with an ecological ethos and to support activities and campaigns aimed at widening environmental knowledge through education.

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