Our earth is currently experiencing the triple and concurrent planetary crises of biodiversity loss, climate change and environmental pollution. Their severity is such that nothing less than immediate from the global community will suffice. Given these urgent circumstances, the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) of the Convention on Biological Diversity reconvened in December 2022 in Montreal, Canada. At the top of their agenda was the settling of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.
Liu Chunxi, Executive President of Yili Group, shared the company’s wide-ranging biodiversity conservation efforts at the conference. As a result, Yili was the sole dairy enterprise included in the New Deal for People and Nature: Case Book on Business Actions in Biodiversity in China.
The “Yili model” of biodiversity conservation
As the first Chinese company to sign the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Business and Biodiversity Pledge, Yili has pioneered a comprehensive model of biodiversity conservation, featuring disclosure, management and popularization. The company has published the Annual Report on Biodiversity Conservation over the past five consecutive years, sharing its experiences and results with the public.
The Yili Sustainable Development Committee investigated all elements of production and operation processes in order to identify critical attributes that are closely related to biodiversity. The company has identified six focus areas for biodiversity conservation in whole life-cycle approaches: habitat preservation, climate change response, species diversity conservation, sustainable resource use, environmental management, and ecological conservation advocacy.
Furthermore, Yili has shared its expertise with its upstream and downstream partners. In one example, the Group promoted an integrated agricultural system in Ar Horqin Banner, Inner Mongolia. As a consequence, the plant covering of this core grassland region has expanded from less than 10% in 2008 to more than 95%, effectively converting what was once a desert into an oasis.
Our homeland: a world living in harmony with nature
Under the “Yili Homeland Initiative” aimed at safeguarding the future of life, Yili has collaborated with WWF and the China Green Foundation on grassland protection, wetland protection in Northeast China, and habitat preservation for Asian elephants. Through the initiative, Yili has planted 100,000 saxaul trees in the Alashan Desert in Inner Mongolia, recorded 50,123 waterbirds at the Xianghai Wetland covering an area of about 4,050 mu (c. 270 hectares) in western Jilin Province, restored 50,000 square meters in habitats for Asian elephants in Yunnan Province, and supported coral reef conservation in the Komodo National Park of Indonesia.
During the first session of COP15 in 2021, Yili brand Satine launched limited-edition products themed on biodiversity conservation, with designs featuring animals, plants, forests, oceans, wetlands, and grasslands to raise public awareness of biodiversity conservation.
Yili releases the first NFT-edition Biodiversity Conservation Report in China at the second COP15 session, uploading Yili’s actions and results in biodiversity conservation into the Metaverse. By leveraging cutting-edge technology, Yili aims to encourage the next generation to become involved in the effort to protect our homeland.
Renowned ecologist Dr. Thomas Lovejoy, the “godfather of biodiversity”, once said that “the biological diversity of this planet has been really hammered, and this is really our last chance to address all of that.” A global joint effort is absolutely necessary for the protection of biodiversity and Yili, as a leading company in the global dairy business, is dedicated to increasing its contribution to biodiversity conservation, hand-in-hand with partners all around the world.