There are several ways in which your business can enhance biodiversity and your reputation.
A few tips are given below:
Enhance and create habitats on your site with a wildlife garden
Transform unused land into a low-maintenance wildlife garden by having an area of long grasses and nectar-rich wildflowers. This will not only provide important habitat for bees, butterflies and other insects, but will provide a relaxing area for staff during breaks.
Including a dead wood pile will encourage hedgehogs and insects to hibernate, whereas creating a pond with different depths and aquatic plants will provide habitat for amphibians, aquatic insects and damsel and dragonflies.
Retaining existing, and or planting hedgerows and trees will provide habitats for nesting birds.
If you do no have areas on-site to enhance or develop, your company could always sponsor a biodiversity project, such as a wildlife garden in a local school.
Planting wildlife friendly trees, shrubs and plants will provide important habitat to support biodiversity and could also form part of a pollution reduction strategy. This could include the following:
– Berry or fruit-bearing trees such as crab apple, bird cherry or holly provide habitat and food for insects and birds;
– Climbers such as honeysuckle and ivy, are not only great for insects and birds as they provide nectar, berries and shelter, but can also improve the energy efficiency characteristics of a building as climbing plants can be used to help retain warmth;
– Lavender – the flowers attract bees, and the seeds finches;
– Early-flowering plants such as snowdrops, grape hyacinth, wild daffodil, primrose, lungwort, honesty, wallflower, forget-me-not and violet are good for bees;
– Late flowerers such as michaelmas daisy, phlox, autumn crocus, scabious, golden rod, sedum and winter aconite support butterflies and bees.
Provide essential shelter for bats and birds by installing bat and bird boxes onto buildings and in trees. Broken pallets can be re-used and recycled by making them into bird boxes.
Put up bird feeders around the site as these provide an invaluable source of food for a variety of birds, especially during winter.
Remember wildlife in new buildings
Incorporate spaces for bats and birds if new buildings are being designed and developed for your company. For example, installing a variety of specifically designed nest boxes for different bird species as well as purpose-built bat roosting boxes on the exterior of the building or incorporated directly into the structure of the walls.
Increase staff awareness and involvement
Encourage team work and involvement with a biodiversity plan or project on-site (e.g. creation of wildlife garden/pond) and promote participating in biodiversity conservation volunteer activities outside the office (e.g. tree planting within the community).
Awareness can be raised through notice boards, posters and newsletters about environmental issues such as biodiversity conservation, energy saving and recycling at work.
Become a species champion
The UK Biodiversity Group has established a list of 391 species and 45 habitat types which need conservation. An action plan has been developed for each of these, and a ‘lead partner’ appointed to oversee the implementation of the plan. Companies are able to sponsor (e.g. raise money, or volunteer, for a national conservation organisation) such plans through the lead partner and are doing so are known as ‘Species Champions’.
Biodiversity Action Plans
A company’s Biodiversity Action Plan outlines the steps a company will take to promote and enhance biodiversity and can include:
– A plan integrated into an Environmental Management System so that the impact of operations on biodiversity may be measured and improved;
– Cooperation with and support of local conservation groups or national non-governmental organisations in order to enhance biodiversity on a local or national scale.
Support local wildlife projects and charities
Sponsorship or contribution of materials, working in partnership with, and volunteering your own time, are all ways in which you could support local wildlife projects and charities.
Save energy and reduce waste
Increasing energy efficiency and reducing waste can help biodiversity, by minimising the environmental impacts associated with any emissions to air, land or water and the production of waste, as well as cutting costs.
Reducing the amount of materials used (e.g. in packaging), reusing materials (e.g. reusing paper that has only been printed on one side) and recycling waste (paper, cans, plastic, mobile phones, computers, printer cartridges and glass) reduces landfill. In addition, food and other organic waste could be composted on site – reducing waste and providing a new wildlife habitat for insects.
Responsible sourcing of products and managing your supply chain
Ensure that your raw materials and products are coming from sustainable sources that protect biodiversity such as purchasing recycled products or products that have an environmental certification. This will minimise impacts on biodiversity.
How We Can Help You
Acer Ecology can improve your biodiversity credentials by developing a company biodiversity strategy, habitat management plan or biodiversity action plan. We can also provide ecological training or Continuing Professional Development (CPD) support.
For more information on our business and biodiversity services, call us on 029 2065 0331.