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Bayer global environmental youth partnership

24 June 2004

Bayer global environmental youth partnership will benefit New Zealand

New Zealand youth to benefit from world-wide access to education and resources for a sustainable future

The world’s first environmental youth partnership between a private-sector company and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is set to have direct benefits for environmental youth education in New Zealand.

German company The Bayer Group, which in New Zealand trades as Bayer New Zealand Ltd, has signed a three-year partnership agreement with UNEP. Under the agreement, Bayer will provide annual funding of around EUR 1 million ($NZ 2 million) and additional non-financial support to promote environmental projects for young people across the globe – particularly those in the Asia Pacific - in collaboration with UNEP.

Bayer’s Managing Director Australia and New Zealand, Sam Howard, believes the initial three year commitment will help realise real benefits in environmental education for young New Zealanders.

“Bayer has been actively involved in youth environmental programmes for some time,” said Mr Howard. “Now, through our international cooperation with UNEP, we will continue to support specific projects geared to strengthening young people’s environmental awareness and improving their knowledge of the environment.”

Bayer and UNEP have worked together on specific projects in the Asia Pacific region for many years. According to Prof. Klaus Töpfer, the cooperation agreement will serve as a basis to step up current projects, transfer successful initiatives to other countries and develop ideas for new projects in this field.

“I am delighted that Bayer has joined us in the vital task of reaching out to young people,” said Prof. Töpfer. “Bayer is a particularly good partner because its activities in this area are an outstanding example of how we can involve young people in environmental projects in partnership with the private sector.”

With the agreement to focus on the Asia Pacific region, Latin America and Central Eastern Europe, activities will be expanded in coming years to include a range of other initiatives for students. “We are pleased that the partnership complements Bayer’s existing commitment to New Zealand youth and provides an opportunity for continued enhancement and support,” said Mr Howard.

“UNEP and Bayer have collaborated on projects in the Asia and Pacific region for nearly a decade, organising competitions for World Environment Day, and providing opportunities for young people to participate in environmental study tours and international learning forums, such as last year’s Eco-Innovate 03, held in Sydney at the University of New South Wales.

Mr Howard said Bayer New Zealand Ltd has traditionally placed great emphasis on promoting science and environmental education for young people.

In recent years the company has sponsored a New Zealand-wide school science sponsorship programme and currently sponsors the Bayer kiwi incubation unit in Whangarei.

Bayer supports more than 300 social projects around the world. The 2004 Sustainable Development Report, released simultaneously to the signing with UNEP, shows the company is achieving its global social and environmental targets.

ENDS

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