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Greening And Environment

Enhancing biodiversity is in Volkswagen’s nature

Achieving a Zero Impact Factory involves more than just transitioning to renewable energy and conserving water; it also requires enhancing biodiversity.

In celebration of Biodiversity Day on May 22, Volkswagen Group Africa (VWGA) employees planted Plumbago Auriculata (also known as Cape Plumbago) at its main production plant in Kariega. This beautiful blue indigenous flower is rich in nectar and plays a vital ecological role by attracting pollinators such as butterflies, bees, and birds. VWGA employees rolled up their sleeves to help plant almost a thousand flowers.

VWGA is committed to biodiversity initiatives, raising awareness among employees and within the communities where it operates throughout the year. Two years ago, employees planted nearly 5 000 spekboom cuttings on the grounds of its Kariega facilities, and hundreds more were planted at local schools through the Volkswagen Community Trust.

This remarkable succulent plant is known for its carbon-absorbing properties, making it an essential player in combating climate change. A single hectare of spekboom can absorb up to 4.2 tons of carbon dioxide per year.

Additionally, the company actively removes invasive trees, shrubs, and grasses from its sites while the premises is home to about 40 spayed cats.  As natural hunters, cats help control the rodent and pest population.

Ulrich Schwabe, Production Director, emphasised that biodiversity is essential for healthy ecosystems. “Without a wide variety of animals, plants, and micro-organisms, we wouldn’t have the balanced ecosystems that provide us with clean air, nutrient-rich soil, and food,” said Schwabe. “We cannot have a Zero Impact Factory and not invest time in promoting biodiversity.”

In addition, Kariega-based employees and their loved-ones are regularly invited to join the in-house hiking club on nature hikes. As part of the recent biodiversity awareness campaign, employees made their way to 3Rivers Forest Hike outside Gqeberha. Meanwhile, VWGA supports nature conservation efforts through its long-standing partnership with the Wilderness Foundation Africa, providing the organisation with a vehicle which enables them to carry out critical conservation work. The company also hosts an annual Show of Hands employee volunteer event aimed at supporting an environmental cause in the Nelson Mandela Bay community.

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