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Bug hotel at the Audi site of Münchsmünster


Audi’s New “Mission:Zero” — Protecting Natural Habitats & Biodiversity

Audi has been a member of the “Biodiversity in Good Company” initiative for a solid 5 years. In honor of that, Volkswagen Group has shared numerous projects to preserve biodiversity that have been implemented at Audi sites.

Audi has been a member of the “Biodiversity in Good Company” initiative for a solid 5 years. In honor of that, Volkswagen Group has shared numerous projects to preserve biodiversity that have been implemented at Audi sites. Further, the Audi Environmental Foundation is consolidating environmental management across the company, with plans to expand in all directions for the benefit of biodiversity. As far back as 2008 Audi slid into its responsibility towards biodiversity, with the Oak Forest Research Lab.

Bug hotel at the Audi site of Münchsmünster.

Audi captured me at “Bug Hotel.” I am the grandmother who encourages a bee to light on my arm, and they walks it to a safe flower from a table outside a store. I know first hand that you can live with the small critters safety with a gentle approach.

“The United Nations has declared this decade the UN Decade of Biodiversity to raise awareness of the global extinction of species and to promote measures to halt it,” Volkswagen Group writes. “Audi is contributing to this effort and is implementing biodiversity projects at all sites. As a member of the Biodiversity in Good Company initiative, the company is committed to preserving biological diversity and has consolidated all activities that contribute to this effort in its Mission:Zero environmental program.”

Audi is addressing 4 action areas in its Mission:Zero program: decarbonization with a clear focus on sustainable production, economical water use, resource efficiency, and the preservation of biodiversity.

“The company combines numerous measures in each action area with the aim of making its production as environmentally friendly and carbon-neutral as possible. The natural design of the open spaces at the Audi production facility in Münchsmünster are a lighthouse project for the biodiversity action area.”

The complex near Ingolstadt offers an especially valuable habitat for many animal and plant species. Audi converted 17 hectares of its production site in Münchsmünster into natural habitats for plants and animals. “More than 110 plant species have developed there so far and around 90 wild bee species have established colonies.”

This is a big departure from the “norm,” not what you expect when you think of auto manufacturing. Audi has gone far beyond implementing a green roof or solar panels. Audi has gone deep green in Münchsmünster.

“The project in Münchsmünster received Bavaria’s “Blühender Betrieb” award in 2019. This award is part of the “Blühpakt Bayern” initiative, with which the Bavarian State Ministry for the Environment and Consumer Protection wants to encourage companies to make their spaces flower- and insect-friendly. This award requires strict criteria to be met for fostering flora and fauna on company sites: at least 20 percent of open spaces must be naturalistic flowering areas, for example. Chemical pesticides and substrates containing peat may not be used. Projects like this are a benchmark for similar efforts at all other Audi locations worldwide. These include green roof areas at the Ingolstadt site, flowering meadows at the Neckarsulm plant, facade greening and bee colonies at the Brussels site, a green belt around the plant in San Jose Chiapa (Mexico) with a nearby reforestation of 100,000 trees, modules such as heaps of sand, insect hotels, a wet biotope and deadwood area at the Neuburg site, and a Pannonian Steppe typical for the region at the site in Győr (Hungary).”

The biodiversity project in Münchsmünster is a central project for Audi. It’s part of the nationwide Biodiversity in Good Company initiative, which the company joined in 2015. The initiative brings together companies from a wide array of industries to work together to protect and sustainably deploy worldwide biodiversity.

“We are celebrating five years of membership in the Biodiversity in Good Company initiative in 2020 and we want to show that we take nature conservation seriously with the projects at our locations,” said Rüdiger Recknagel, Head of Environmental Protection. “The natural areas are a successful example of sustainable corporate management: They are especially valuable ecologically and usually also cheaper to maintain than standard green spaces with high maintenance requirements. What’s more, employees experience a special quality of rest and relaxation during breaks.”

If you think that’s the extent of Audi’s biodiversity leadership, put your seatbelt back on. There’s more to say about the company’s broad approach to promoting more biodiversity in the world. “Audi is also committed to preserving biological diversity beyond the confines of the company. The Oak Forest research project was launched in 2008 in the Köschinger Forest near Ingolstadt with around 36,000 English oak trees. The project now comprises more than 100,000 trees in various areas around the Audi sites in Ingolstadt, Neckarsulm, Győr, Brussels and San José Chiapa. The Audi Environmental Foundation was established in 2009 and has taken on the long-term scientific support for this project. The interactions between stand density, biological diversity and CO2-binding potential are being studied under the direction of the Chair of Forest Growth Science at the Technical University of Munich. The Oak Forest project is one of many environmental projects by the Audi Environmental Foundation that aim to preserve biodiversity.”

Didn’t know this automaker was so engaged in promoting and supporting biodiversity and natural habitats? Neither did I. We seldom see any corporations go above and beyond when it comes to protecting nature. It is certainly not something you would expect to find an automaker focused so greatly on. Both congratulations and thank you to Audi for taking a leadership role in this field. It will probably not pull in many more buyers, but it should make Audi e-tron and other electrified Audi buyers feel good about their choices.

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Written By

Cynthia Shahan started writing after previously doing research and publishing work on natural birth practices. (Several unrelated publications) She is a licensed health care provider. She studied and practiced both Waldorf education, and Montessori education, mother of four unconditionally loving spirits, teachers, and environmentally conscious beings born with spiritual insights and ethics beyond this world. (She was able to advance more in this way led by her children.)


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