The Ecological Civilization Forum under the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) kicked off in Kunming, Yunnan Province, China. As a representative of business enterprises, Yili was invited to the sub-forum of“Ecological Civilization and Biodiversity Mainstreaming”. During the session, Yili showcased the progress of the “Yili Homeland Initiative” and discussed future plans for biodiversity conservation along with experts from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) , the World Bank, and other international organizations.
Yili “Smart Grasslands” Project
Yili Satine Milk joined hands with the Chinese National Committee for UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Programme to launch China’s first “Smart Grasslands” monitoring and protection project, according to Zhao Xin, Vice President of Yili Group.
Protecting grassland ecosystems requires better understanding of grasslands, and the key is to acquire more accurate and detailed information. The project aims to extensively monitor and collect data on grasslands in a more intelligent manner. To be more specific, the latest infrared monitoring technology and automatic camera systems will be applied to collect data and support related research efforts and future conservation projects.
As a grassland-based enterprise in Inner Mongolia, Yili has long been committed to grassland protection. By promoting integrated farming on the pastures in Ar Horqin Banner, the annual output of superior alfalfa and oats there has amounted to over 40,000 tons, while 46,000 mu （≈ 30.7km²）of degraded grasslands have been improved. It ensures both high-quality coarse fodder supply for cows and desertification prevention and control. The vegetation coverage of the core area has grown from less than 10% in 2008 to over 90% today.
“Yili Homeland Initiative”
On the eve of COP15, Yili Group officially launched the “Yili Homeland Initiative” and unveiled the “Save the Endangered Asian Elephant” project. Yili plans to work together with China Green Foundation over the next five years with an investment of no less than five million yuan. In addition, Yili’s Plant Selected oat milk now has a new package design featuring the theme of “sending elephants back home”. Three percent of the product sales will be dedicated to supporting the elephant protection initiative.
Under the initiative, Yili has dedicated itself to biodiversity protection through multiple actions in cooperation with WWF and China Green Foundation, covering smart grasslands protection, wetland protection in Northeast China, and habitat protection for Asian elephants. The “Save Endangered Asian Elephants” project will unfold across five aspects, namely restoring habitats, rescuing wild elephants, strengthening protection, engaging the communities, and educating the public on natural sciences. On top of restoring the natural habitats, Yili will also endeavor to ensure harmonious coexistence between the elephants and local communities by establishing a complete monitoring system and promoting safety awareness education.
Green Production and Operations
Beyond biodiversity conservation, Yili also pursues green development throughout its production and operations. In 2020 alone, 114 of Yili’s suppliers were encouraged to transition to green packages, degradable and recyclable materials, and standard processing techniques. Additionally, Yili adheres to green factory principles and takes into consideration environmental protection across multiple stages, ranging from architectural design to the selection of building materials, and to energy and resource efficiency.
Yili has also embraced environment-friendly packaging materials. All Yili Satine Milk products are packaged with FSC-certified materials, and plant-based bottle caps made of sustainable and recyclable sugarcane are put into use in China for the first time. This will help reduce carbon footprints and the reliance on fossil fuels. In commemoration of the first COP held in China, Yili Satine Milk launched a limited-edition packaging under the theme of biodiversity conservation. Featuring exquisite hand-painted patterns. The package design showcases China’s commitment to the protection of wetlands, grasslands, forests, and oceans. The plant-based bottle cap and the FSC-certified package materials represent a call for consumers to join the endeavor to safeguard the environment. Consumers may also watch a live streaming themed on grassland ecological protection by scanning the QR code on the bottle.