Why General Motors and Other Companies Protect Pollinators
(3Bl Media/Justmeans) — Why would a car company like General Motors help pollinators? The answer is simple. Along with other companies, the iconic car maker is participating in the Corporate Pollinator Ecosystem Project, an initiative of the U.S. Business Council for Sustainable Development and Pollinator Partnership.
GM and other companies know that pollinators are key for our food supply. One out of every three bites we take is estimated to exist because of pollinators. They are needed for about three-quarters of major food crops. Most of the flowering plant species found globally need pollinators to make the seeds that ensure there are more plants. About 40 percent of invertebrate pollinator species are facing extinction; bees and butterflies are particularly in danger.
The Corporate Pollinator Ecosystem Project have dentified 3,400 acres used as pollinator habits on the 20 participating companies’ 74 properties. The good news is that 41 percent of those companies include pollinator protection as one of their sustainability goals and manage pollinator habitats at 61 percent of their sites. The work that the companies are doing to protect pollinators will be used by the National Pollinator Health Taskforce to encourage other companies to develop pollinator habitat goals.
GM has several initiatives that are part of its goal to have Wildlife Habitat Council-certified programs at all of its manufacturing sites by 2020. Two of the initiatives are a 27,000 square-foot pollinator garden and wetland at its Guangde Proving Ground in China, and a garden at its Saginaw Metal Casting Operations that received the 2013 Pollinator Advocate Award from the Wildlife Habitat Council and the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign.
GM added beehives to its rooftop garden project at its Detroit headquarters. Every summer, a rooftop garden at the parking garage next to its world headquarters is started. Adding honeybee hives helps pollinate the gardens. The garden produced 187 pounds of vegetables this year. The bees are prepared for winter so they will not be affected by the harsh Michigan weather. Shipping trays from GM’s Kokomo Operations facility in Indiana were used as shelves the bees can cling to inside insulated boxes where they will stay for the winter. About 65 pounds of honey was harvested and made available in jars for GM employees in exchange for a suggested donation of $10 which goes to help keep the bees warm in the winter. In addition to a rooftop garden, an underground pipeline is attached to the building that delivers steam made from solid city waste from Detroit Renewable Energy to heat and cool it.
Companies who want to join GM in helping protect pollinators can begin by planting a variety of flowers, focusing on native plant species. Planting the flowers on marginalized lands without chemical fertilizers is best.