International day for biodiversity

May 22, 2006, 14:00 CEST

Loss of biological diversity is regarded as one of the most serious environmental problems of our time. Hydro recognizes this as an important topic and has formulated its own policy for biodiversity, publishing it for the first time on the International Day for Biological Diversity, May 22nd.

In 2003, the United Nations inaugurated a special day, May 22, to mark the protection of the earth's biodiversity. Each year, on this day, there are events promoting knowledge, interest and involvement in the world's diversity of plants, animals and landscapes.

The world's diverse species provide many of the products that we as human beings are dependent upon in our daily lives. Examples of this are food, medicines, raw materials for houses, clothes and fuel. Biodiversity also contributes to giving us pure drinking water, recycles nature's nutrients and hinders erosion. Varied natural environments also have an aesthetic value that it is important to preserve.

Dedicated expert group

Hydro's ambition is to be aware of the danger of depleting biodiversity through the company's operations, and will contribute to protecting the biological diversity of species. Hydro's research centre in Porsgrunn, Norway is the company's expert group in this field. There are also dedicated experts within each of the business areas.

Hydro's petroleum operations are operated both on land and offshore, and have ramifications in many parts of the world. "A high level of awareness and sound knowledge of the natural environment are extremely important," says Jon Rytter Hasle, who works on the subject in Hydro's Oil & Energy Business area.

"Charting the diversity of species is one of the key activities, and is performed as part of consequence analyses prepared prior to carrying out seismic surveys. Public hearings, gathering of information from affected professions and the local population are of central importance," he says.

Cooperation with umbrella organisation

Early in 2005, Hydro entered into a cooperation with the Norwegian Cooperation Council for Biodiversity (SABIMA), and is providing financial support to an information project promoting the value of biodiversity.

SABIMA is an umbrella organisation whose goal is to promote the protection of threatened plant and animal species and landscapes in Norway, and consists of 12 associations with a total of over 18,000 members including the majority of biological professionals and competent amateurs in Norway. The associations cover the whole spectre of plant and animal life and conduct extensive survey work to raise the level of knowledge about biodiversity.

SABIMA marked the Biodiversity Day on May 22 with an event in Oslo. This year's topic was marine biodiverity. Using the University of Oslo's research vessels "Trygve Braarud" and "Bjørn Foyn", a class from Berg Sixth form college gathered various samples with nets and sea bed scrapers.

At the Town Hall quayside in Oslo, the population of Oslo and marine biologists had the opportunity to study some of the rich life that the Oslo fjord can offer.