SOURCE: Volkswagen of America, Inc.

Volkswagen of America, Inc.

August 30, 2012 10:36 ET

Volkswagen de Mexico Improves Water Supplies Around Popocatepetl

WOLFSBURG, GERMANY and PUEBLA, MEXICO--(Marketwire - Aug 30, 2012) -

  • More than $750,000 for reforestation
  • 420,000 conifers planted mean 2.6 million cubic meters more ground water per year

Automaker Volkswagen de México continues its impressive commitment to sustainability and can report positive interim results from its project to improve water supplies in the region around the volcano Popocatépetl. The reforestation project is a key component in the Volkswagen Group's nature conservation project in Mexico "Por Amor al planeta. For the love of the planet."

The CEO of Volkswagen de México, Andreas Hinrichs, underlines: "The protection of water, an essential resource, is one of our key objectives. This project helps the entire region."

Since 2008, the company has supported the reforestation of a total of 750 hectares between Popocatépetl (5,452 meters) and Iztaccíhuatl (5,286 meters) in the Sierra Volcánica mountain range in the central Mexican state of Puebla.

These volcanoes dominate the high valley of the city of Puebla (2.5 million inhabitants), where the Volkswagen plant is also located. Water supplies for Puebla depend largely on precipitation in the mountains to continuously replenish the falling water table.

To date, some 420,000 trees have been planted, all of which are mountain conifers indigenous to Mexico that flourish at elevations up to 4,000 meters. Volkswagen de México has already invested more than US$ 750,000 in extensive reforestation in the Iztaccíhuatl-Popocatépetl National Park.

Last November, 39 suppliers located in the region joined the Volkswagen project. As a result, the annual budget of US$ 170,000 required for forest maintenance in the future has also been secured.

The reforestation project is being implemented jointly with the "Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas" (National Commission of Natural Protected Areas). Together with the National University of Mexico (UNAM), Volkswagen had carried out detailed studies of the groundwater situation in the area of the Puebla plant before embarking on the project.

The trees capture precipitation, facilitating the seepage of water to deeper layers in the soil. To support the project, some 47,000 soakaways have been excavated and 350 larger dams constructed.

The project is already contributing about 2.5 million cubic meters to groundwater replenishment each year. This figure is significantly in excess of the water consumption of the Volkswagen plant in Puebla, partner companies' plants and the households of all employees of the program partners.

The trees also stabilize the ecosystem because new biomass binds carbon dioxide and improves the habitat of indigenous animal species. Furthermore, the project offers additional employment opportunities for people in the region.

Volkswagen de México is also active in other nature conservation fields under the motto of "For the love of the planet." Since 2006, the company has supported scientific studies of biodiversity in Mexico as well as projects to protect biodiversity. With its financial contribution of US$ 100,000 per year, the company is the largest private sponsor in this area.

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