German sportscar maker Porsche aims to boost its green credentials by giving a home to 25 bee colonies in a grazing pasture at its factory in the city of Leipzig.
The move is an unusual one for Porsche, whose luxury sportscars and sports utilities are not renowned for their sustainability or frugal fuel consumption.
“Introducing the honey bee colonies is our way of contributing to the protection of domestic animals and plants,” said Siegfried Buelow, who chairs the board at Porsche Leipzig.
Porsche said it was prompted to act after learning from the German beekeeper’s association that bee colony numbers have fallen from 2.5 million in 1952 to fewer than one million today. Half of the 560 species of bee that live in Germany are said to be threatened with extinction.
According to experts, bees are thought to be the most important production animal in Germany next to cows and pigs. By carrying pollen from flower to flower, they pollinate a large proportion of agricultural crops.
A total of 1.5 million honey bees will get a new home on the 40 hectares of untouched natural land, said Porsche. The estimated 55 kilos of honey they produce yearly will be used in the staff canteen at the Leipzig plant, which has been operational since 2000. Porsche is based in Stuttgart in southern Germany.
There are also plans to sell the honey at the Porsche Leipzig customer center in late 2017.
The green paddock area was set up as a conservation site when the Leipzig plant was built. Along with various types of flora and the newly introduced bees, the 99 hectares of grazing paddocks is home to numerous species of birds, insects, frogs, hares and bats, as well as wild horses and aurochs cattle.