Boost biodiversity with your business this winter

As we all prepare for the big freeze to hit us, it is pretty easy to both minimise the effect your business has on the environment and demonstrate the ethos of your company to your employees and the local community.

As the colder weather approaches, biodiversity experts have warned that in isn’t just residents and homeowners who should be helping our wildlife to survive the drop in temperatures, factories and offices should also be playing a major part in maintaining the biodiversity in their local area.

A team of sustainability experts from AB Sustain have issued some top tips for factory and office sites to help ensure that they help small animals and bird to get through the long, cold winter months that are almost upon us.

Put out bird food in harsh weather on the land around your site. A selection of shelled peanuts, sunflower hearts, fat balls and niger seeds will feed many species
Do not forget ground-feeding species that will be unwilling to use feeders (blackbirds, dunnocks, etc). Sprinkle some sunflower hearts on the ground for them
Old fruit left over from meetings or lunchtimes will be ideal for several members of the thrush family, such as blackbirds, redwings and fieldfares
Keep any ponds, fountains or other bodies of water on your site from freezing by floating a rubber ball in the water. This will reduce ice formation, as the wind blows it around
Shallow containers of water can provide baths but need regular replacement, as they freeze
Do not tidy up your grounds too well. Piles of leaves, plant stems and compost heaps all play host to wildlife. Consider setting aside an area of land on your site to encourage greater biodiversity
If you find hibernating animals (e.g. hedgehogs in piles of leaves) anywhere on your site, leave them undisturbed.

Johanna Buitelaar Warden, head of business development at AB Sustain, says: “There are lots of reasons why very cold or even freezing weather can be a big problem for the wildlife around your business. For example, freezing weather reduces availability of water – a problem for birds, which need water to drink and to bathe in, to maintain feather condition. Snow cover can also cause problems for birds that hunt small mammals, which continue to be active under the snow and out of sight. Barn owls were hit badly by snow over the past two winters and many starved.

“The right approach and a bit of thought can really minimise your business’s impact on the natural environment and enhance the positives. It can also demonstrate both internally and externally your company ethos, contribute to employee wellbeing and help position your brand and develop relationships with the local community.”

AB Sustain specialises in working with clients to design, develop and deliver programmes that protect the environment, without compromising key business goals. The company works with retailers and brand owners, delivering brand differentiation by designing innovative sustainability projects and programmes. A skilled team of experienced specialists can help maximise the environmental value of a business site, ranging from an office or factory to a hotel, a golf course or even hospitals and care homes.