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Citizen Day 2021 Biodiversity

Citizen Day 2021: Solvay employees take action to protect biodiversity

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Citizen Day aims to give Solvay employees around the world the opportunity to engage in actions with local communities. This event was created in 2019 to reinforce our Purpose of bonding people, ideas and elements to reinvent progress, and to act as ONE team for ONE planet. Helping safeguard biodiversity is one of Solvay One Planet’s 10 objectives. Through research, innovation and key partnerships, we intend to reduce our pressure on biodiversity by 30% before 2030. 

Over 13,200 people across 115 Solvay sites have so far participated in 500 activities for this year’s edition, focused on biodiversity.

For Citizen Day 2021, we encouraged our colleagues worldwide to share their passion for biodiversity, to increase their awareness and to take action locally. Every gesture counts - planting, cleaning, building shelters - creating the conditions, wherever possible, to let biodiversity bloom again.

Take a look at some of the activities that took place at our sites around the world:

Protecting endangered species in the Yangtze River 

Raising awareness about the critically endangered finless porpoise

To raise awareness about the critically endangered finless porpoise, Solvay’s Zhenjiang factory partnered with the Environmental Protection Association of Jiangsu University of Science and Technology, organizing a week-long campaign. The porpoises are native to the Yangtze River, which runs very close to the factory. 

In addition to an online campaign featuring videos made by Solvay employees and their families, the plant organized an event and activities in nearby Beihu Park. More than 600 people took part, including Solvay employees, their children and people from the surrounding communities.

Working together to promote biodiversity

Gruppo Day one - Giuliana Bordino

At our Rosignano site, Solvay employees took part in multiple activities aimed at celebrating and promoting biodiversity. Employees at the site replanted trees destroyed in a tornado that hit the region in 2020 and took part in organized visits to find out more about biodiversity in the surrounding area. These included visits to an apiary, to learn more about the important contribution of bees to preserving biodiversity, and to a facility with which the plant is collaborating, to learn more about a breeding practice that helps reduce the pressure of fishing on biodiversity and increase the survival rates of fish species intended for human consumption.

The plant also reinforced its 30-year collaboration with Italian wildlife conservation association LIPU, setting an example of how industry and environmental organizations can work together to improve biodiversity.

Better understanding biodiversity

Seminar League for the Protection of Birds

To better understand biodiversity and how to support it in urban and suburban environments, employees from the Lab of the Future (LOF) in Pessac, France, took part in a seminar organized by the League for the Protection of Birds (LPO). The seminar included a tour of the Pessac site grounds, helping employees observe how the site's layout promotes or endangers biodiversity and how this can be addressed.



Protecting native Brazilian bees

Protecting native Brazilian bees

In Brazil, Solvay’s Paulínia site set up hives of native Brazilian bees for Citizen Day. Brazilian bees don’t sting, but this is not well known by the local population, who often kill them out of fear. 

To help raise awareness of this among Solvay employees, and educate them about the important role the bees play as pollinators, 12 hives, containing four different species of Brazilian bee, have been set up in four locations across the site.

Cleaning up the Millstone Aqueduct

Equipped with tools, gloves and bin bags, Solvay employees in Princeton, in the US, worked together to clean up a small section of a historic state park called the Millstone Aqueduct. The park is enjoyed by hundreds of people daily, but litter accumulates there, destroying the wildlife. The team picked up huge amounts of litter along the waterway and historic towpath, including styrofoam, glass and plastic bottles, and other, more unusual, consumer products.

Planting endangered trees

Citizen day 2021 foto di gruppo - Emanuela Fattore

Volunteers at our Spinetta Marengo site celebrated Citizen Day by planting black poplar trees in the local area. These trees have become a rare and endangered species, due primarily to the eradication of their natural habitats. 

Over the coming months, leading Italian agri-food supply chain research association, the CREA Institute, will support the site’s efforts by planting a total of 200 black poplar trees. 

Visiting a migratory nature reserve

Visiting a migratory nature reserve

Employees at the Solvay Shanghai Technology Park came together for a number of events aimed at increasing awareness about biodiversity and sharing a passion for nature. 1344901282.jpgThis included a visit to Chongming Dongtan National Nature Reserve, attended by over 60 Solvay colleagues, family and friends. 

The reserve sits at the mouth of the Yangtze River and serves as a unique supply area for migratory birds on the East Asia-Australasian flyway. It is also an important area for migratory fish, such as the endangered Chinese Sturgeon, which lives in the sea but breeds in freshwater. Although it was windy and the migration season had only just started, it was possible to see some flocks of birds hovering over the reedbed and diving for food. 

After learning about the importance of Dongtan for the one million birds that stop there each year, the group watched a movie charting a Great Knot’s journey around the globe and got a closer look at the animals of the natural reserve at the exhibition center. 

You can find more examples in this post 

Leading by example

Solvay CEO Ilham Kadri got involved too, participating in a number of the Citizen Day activities organized at our Brussels site. 

In addition to a biodiversity tour of the different vegetation and animal species present on the Brussels campus, she took part in a collaborative garden project, helping to plant herbs that will be used in meals served at the site’s canteen. She also participated in the biodiversity collage, a three-hour interactive and collaborative workshop aimed at better understanding the importance of biodiversity and how it can be included in business strategies.

Citizen Day activities organized at Brussels site