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Encouraging Biodiversity

Action on both a global and local level

Chilean Flamingo. Credit: Fundacion Somuncura


The earth depends upon a network of complex interactions between plants, animals, and micro-organisms to properly function. This biodiversity is essential to support all life on our planet.

Biodiversity is our ally in the battle to limit the effects of climate change too. Healthy ecosystems might provide 37% of the mitigation needed to limit global temperature rises, and 25% of the globe's greenhouse gas emissions come from land clearance, crop production, and fertilisation (source: UN).

Whilst we are becoming more and more aware of the impact of climate change on our environment and its inhabitants, we're also conscious of the effects our business activities have too.

That's why the second initiative in our One Planet Strategy focuses on biodiversity and our commitments to ensuring a healthy ecosystem for the future.

We've pledged to:

  • Protect a biodiversity rich area equivalent to five times the size of our physical global operational area by 2025
  • Deliver biodiversity net gain of +10% for all new manufacturing sites and facilities
  • Deliver at least one biodiversity improvement per Operating Company, on site or in the local community by 2025
  • Manage our manufacturing operations to minimise risks to biodiversity, ensuring necessary controls are in place to mitigate risk

The first of these takes us to the plains of Patagonia, an area which Darwin described as if "there appears no limit to their duration through future time."

Unfortunately, that's not the case. A combination of unsustainable land use, affecting the local water courses, and the introduction of invasive species has placed the unique flora and fauna on the brink of extinction.

We've partnered with World Land Trust (WLT) and their 'Buy an Acre' scheme. This groundbreaking programme allows individuals, and companies, to fund the purchase and protection of threatened habitat in various locations around the world. WLT’s local conservation partners are the custodians of the land, doing everything possible to protect the habitat for indigenous wildlife.

At the end of 2020, Spirax Sarco Engineering safeguarded 517 acres of land in the Somuncurá Plateau, Argentina. We’re committed to doing the same for the next five years. It might be global action on our part, but we also have 200 people working for us in Argentina too.

On the Somuncurá, WLT is working with their local conservation partner Fundación Hábitat y Desarrollo (FH&D), supporting them to create a reserve that will eventually safeguard 11,675 acres of this precious natural resource, to protect its native population for prosperity.

One of the main targets for conservation is the El Rincon Stream Frog (Pleurodema somuncurense). This is the only place you'll find it on Earth. Amphibians like this wouldn't normally be able to survive in an area where temperatures can dip below freezing.

But, thanks to thermal springs, and the impact of steam in warming them, the network of streams has a constant temperature of around 19°C.

Only found in a tiny 5km² area, issues like livestock grazing, the introduction of aggressive non-native fish, and damming have placed it in danger of extinction.

Thankfully, organisations like the World Land Trust and FH&D are beginning to turn the tide, and their future is looking more promising.

And, the Somuncurá has many more species needing protection, as you'll see from the images here.

As deserving of our attention as this is, we also can't escape the need to ensure that each and every one of our sites around the globe can do its bit for biodiversity.

All our staff are entitled to three days of paid volunteering each year, and many have banded together to help their local sites or environment.

Sometimes you'll find biodiversity encouraged at the simplest levels. At our UK Cheltenham manufacturing facility, you'll find grasses and pollinator-friendly flowers like Echinops and Echinacea rather than manicured grass alongside the walkways and car parks.

In Denmark, colleagues decided to go into the hospitality business, opening three 'bug hotels' on their grounds. They've been monitoring their success and are boosting attractiveness for pollinators by seeding a wildlife garden this year.

In Poland, we saw our co-workers come up with an ingenious way of reusing the wood used to package our components in transit to them. They created a feeder (and donated the food to fill it for months) for wildlife in the woods near Warsaw.

And, in France, 40 employees and their families came together with the National Forest Organisation to plant a willow hedge in the Rambouillet Forest. On top of the 300 cuttings for the hedge, the team managed to plant 50 oak trees and 40 fruit trees to add to the wood's diversity too.

New initiatives are coming forward all the time, from tree planting in East Africa to roof gardens in China. Over 40 new projects are underway across the globe this year already.

From our flagship project in Argentina, to every country we're present in, Spirax Sarco's people are acting to make sure tomorrow's world is as biodiverse as possible.

World CLimate Summit