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Biodiversity and Natural Resource Management

The degradation of ecosystems and loss of biodiversity throughout the world is linked to human activity. At the same time, biodiversity and ecosystem services are crucial for economic and social development, human welfare, and sustainability. In this sense, we believe that biodiversity and the wise use of natural resources are two of the most important components of sustainable development. Life Below Water (Goal 14) and Life On Land (Goal 15) two of the UN Sustainable Development Goals adopted in 2015 describe the international framework in this field.

Koç Holding companies monitor their environmental impact in a multidimensional way by identifying and preventing risks and develops preservation and improvement plans. In this context, in 2016 and 2017 Koç Holding Environment Committee worked together with the Nature Conservation Centre, an NGO specialized in biodiversity, in order to establish a biodiversity approach and develop an action plan. The relationship between biodiversity and the industries and regions in which Koç Group operates, was examined and a biodiversity action plan was prepared after a prioritization study.

Accordingly, Koç Holding companies strive to sustainably manage their impact on biodiversity in order to preserve the capacity of natural resources for renewal.

In the process of achieving this objective, Koç Holding also focuses on ecosystems and the components helping their development, the ecosystem services from qualitative and quantitative standpoints, all species and particularly those whose existences are under threat as well as endemic species while avoiding soil degradation, and the preservation and improvement of the adaptation capacity of natural ecosystems to climate change.

Koç Holding manages biodiversity under four main pillars: Policy and Strategy, Planning, Operations and Implementation, and Capacity Development.

Policy and Strategy
• Ensure the use of natural resources are in accordance with the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity,
• Integrate components related to biodiversity with business strategies,
• Where possible, comply with industry-specific international certification and labeling standards,
• Participate in national and international industry platforms to keep current with the latest industry developments and technologies,
• Comply with all applicable national laws and regulations and provide input in relevant national strategy and action plans.

Planning
• Protect biodiversity and consider it at all stages, starting from sustainable natural resource management planning,
• Choose sites for planned facilities by taking into account the components of biodiversity,
• Mitigate the impact of planned facilities by identifying the components of biodiversity in the area and preservation approaches, with participation of relevant stakeholders,
• Take a local, regional, national and global approach to the benefits of preservation efforts,
• Ensure the protection and preservation of natural resources, in the medium and long-term.

Operation/Implementation
• Include the protection of biodiversity in all of Koç Holding's Environmental Management Systems,
• Pre-plan and implement prevention and reduction activities to prevent loss of biodiversity,
• Promote regular biodiversity monitoring activities in Koç Holding's areas of operation.

Capacity Development
• Share information with all relevant stakeholders, including universities, NGOs, and local communities with an eye for capacity growth to achieve a higher understanding of biodiversity risks and better management of these risks,
• Foster a social culture to increase awareness among all employees, stakeholders, and end users on preserving biodiversity,
• Instill in suppliers the importance of measures and approaches to preserving biodiversity,
• Include Koç Holding employees in relevant training and volunteer activities to create awareness of the importance of biodiversity.

A group-wide action plan has been prepared in connection with Koç Holding biodiversity efforts. The action plan was prepared giving consideration to the industries and geography in which the companies operate. A pilot study has been started at Ford Otosan in connection with the prioritization study.

Ford Otosan Biodiversity Efforts
Ford Otosan made important progress in terms of biodiversity as a result of the efforts undertaken at its Kocaeli Plant grounds. The 1999 Izmit earthquake created a wetland covering 22,000 squaremeters on the plant grounds. Meanwhile a depression basin was rehabilitated into a 34,780-square-meter park in collaboration with the Turkish Foundation for Combating Soil Erosion, for Reforestation and the Protection of Natural Habitats (TEMA). This area has become the only stopover spot around Izmit for migrating birds in a region dense with industrial plants. In consideration of the importance of preserving biodiversity on this site, the area was isolated from production areas. Cooperating with the Nature Conservation Centre, we created a biodiversity tracking map in 2016. In this context a flora and bird inventory work was launched on the plant grounds. After the initial research on the birds was conducted, it was established that there were 45 species of birds on the plant grounds. Compared with the seven bird species specified in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report, it was discovered that after converting the wetland a conservation area the number of bird species has been on the rise. The importance of the conservation activity increased as it became known that one of the migrant birds, the Common Pochard (Aythya ferina) was on the Red List of International Union for the Conservation of Nature, meaning that it was an endangered species.

The forestation activities that Koç Holding companies engage in under their environmental development practices are being conducted under the sustainability performance rating system and environment management program. As the Holding companies conduct the annual forestation activities with the participation of their employees, Holding-wide awareness is kept alive by regular campaigns. The Holding- and company-wide forestation activities are conducted in collaboration with the TEMA as the project partner. Every year thousands of saplings are planted, creating new forests or rehabilitating deforested or degraded lands. The forestation practices depend on physical means and are subject to permits granted by relevant authorities. Thus, the number of new trees planted may vary between years. However, Holding companies are expected to maintain their awareness and make good use of forestation opportunities.

"For My Country" Forests
Forests play a crucial role in eliminating the harmful effects of greenhouse gas emissions and the preservation of biodiversity by providing a home for plant and animal species. The senseless destruction of forested areas by human population growth, rising demand for raw materials and land for production is felt even more today. Koç Holding conducts forestation activities with the belief that it is crucial to protect and expand forests in order to maintain the balance of ecosystems and to reduce risks related to climate change. The forestation activities performed by Koç Holding and Holding companies gained great momentum in 2008 as a result of the collaboration with TEMA, one of Turkey's most influential nongovernmental organizations. Under the "For My Country Forests" campaign, more than a million trees have been planted since 2007.