HANDS-ON ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION: COMPLETION OF THE COMPREHENSIVE BIRKENSTOCK RENATURATION PROJECT
BIRKENSTOCK demonstrates its commitment to the protection of nature and species: the comprehensive renaturation measures surrounding the biggest production site of the German shoe manufacturer which were started at the beginning of the year are now coming to an end. In close cooperation with the city of Görlitz, an industrial wasteland measuring 2,500 m2 which is located along Hussitenstraße in the district of Königshufen was transformed into an environmentally valuable green space in May 2021. The former beverage store which had been vacant for decades was torn down and the contaminated waste was properly disposed of, the fences were removed and the ground was unsealed and covered with topsoil. Following a reseeding for a flower meadow typical of the landscape of the area, which is also an ideal habitat for butterflies, the natural function of the soil was restored. The publicly accessible area is now an undisturbed habitat for local plants and species. The renaturated area will remain an unspoiled and uncontrolled area where the local plants, herbs and also weeds will be able to grow and spread freely. In the following two years, BIRKENSTOCK will assume the responsibility for the maintenance measures, such as mowing, checking on the development of the meadow and removing any excessive vegetation.
The renaturation measures serve as a balance for the construction of the new social building on the BIRKENSTOCK premises in the industrial park. The overall investment sum amounts to approximately EUR 150,000.
“Görlitz is the home of our production. That’s why we are delighted to be able to make such an important contribution to the conservation of nature and its biodiversity around our production site”, says Hilmar Knoll, Managing Director of BIRKENSTOCK Productions Sachsen. “I would especially like to thank the municipality of Görlitz, the landscape conservation association of Upper Lusatia and all companies involved – all of whom supported this project passionately from the very beginning.”
In cooperation with the landscape conservation association of Upper Lusatia, some additional environmental projects were implemented on the premises. In March, for example, twenty species-appropriate nesting aids for kestrels, jackdaws and house martins were installed at the social building and the production halls. These measures improve the living conditions of birds nesting on buildings and provide them with long-term breeding sites, as natural nesting sites for these species have decreased continually. Ornithologists from the landscape conservation association built special nesting boxes with natural materials and will be responsible for the follow-up supervision of this project in the next years.
To protect the local sand lizard, habitats in the form of piles of stones and sand and deadwood habitats were established on the premises on an area of more than 500 m2 in August 2021. There are also plans to set up several bee colonies on the green areas of the factory grounds. BIRKENSTOCK is currently on the lookout for a beekeeper from the area who will look after the beehives in the long term.
As the final step of the BIRKENSTOCK renaturation project, new shrubs (blackthorn, hornbeam, dog rose) were planted on 400 m2 of the premises on 16 November 2021.