Our production plants cover a total area of around 5,200 hectares, 65 percent of which are occupied by buildings and transport areas. Because land is a limited public good, we use these areas as efficiently as possible through dense, multi-level building development. We also design outdoor areas within our plants to serve as a habitat for indigenous plants and animals. In this way, we can facilitate biodiversity even amidst the industrial architecture. For example, peregrine falcons have found a new home on chimneys of our plants in Wörth and Sindelfingen. In the Tuscaloosa plant, natural vegetation and beavers with their dams ensure the retention and preliminary sedimentation of rain water. Due to the way we use land and our plant locations in industrial zones, no significant negative effects on endangered species are to be expected.
Biodiversity index. To better measure the effect of our activities, we have developed a biodiversity indicator whose practical viability is currently being tested in several plants. The indicator categorizes our horizontal and vertical areas in accordance with their environmental value. In future, this indicator will enable us to set targets for our plant-specific environmental protection program, and to clearly evaluate the progress that has been made.
More on the biodiversity indicator
Biodiversity index shows the ecological value of semi-natural areas
For years we have been keeping undeveloped areas at our locations in a semi-natural state to the greatest possible extent so that they can provide refuge to endangered plant and animal species. In 2013, in order to manage our activities in this field better and enhance their effect through competition between the locations, we developed the biodiversity index (BIX).
The BIX is based on a five-point scale which is used to assess every unsealed surface at a plant and weight these areas according to their ecological significance. By now, we have already tested the process at six differently major locations, including the Bremen plant, where a BIX was created in 2014. The result is an initial ecological area assessment of our plants. In future, it will be possible to determine changes and trends on this basis.
In the illustration, the different widths of the bars provide an indication of the proportions. The respective index values are shown at the very bottom.
Ecological values of green areas Enlarge
Soil and groundwater. We eliminate any soil and groundwater contamination in advance as far as possible. An internal guideline provides minimum standards for the handling of soil and groundwater contamination for all locations. The requirements frequently extend beyond the local legal regulations. Compliance with these requirements is reviewed in the framework of our worldwide audits. In 2014 there were no significant accidents associated with soil or groundwater damage.