We have been busy bees looking at ways to further support biodiversity as part of our sustainability strategy from green roofs, wild flower meadow at our Newbridge Distribution centre, an ever-expanding pollinator friendly plant range to new native woodlands (pictured). With one third of our bee species threatened with extinction from Ireland, we have signed up to the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan to work collaboratively to change this trend. Declining pollinators such as bees and butterflies are considered an essential part of the team at Lidl Ireland in producing food, as they transfer pollen, aiding in the fertilization of plants and flowers, producing seeds, ensuring a new generation of greenery is produced every day.
We have also committed to a native tree planting partnership with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. The ‘Woodland Environmental Fund’ (WEF) initiative sees Lidl plant over 82,000 trees across Ireland in 2020. This comes as we seek solutions to meet expanding climate and biodiversity challenges. The first and largest of the native woodland sites (pictured) has completed planting in Burnellstown, Co. Westmeath. This site sees almost 33,000 native trees comprising of Oak, Rowan, Alder, Birch and others native to Ireland.
This initiative aimed at supporting biodiversity in Ireland is expanding upon our ‘A Better Tomorrow’ Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy which is already working to reduce carbon emissions with all stores across the country certified to the ISO 50001 Energy Management Standard. This project is intended to establish new native woodlands throughout Ireland in 2020 and absorb approximately 12,500 tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere across the next 100 years. We have also undergone a comprehensive carbon footprint mapping since 2016 to understand environmental impacts, develop solutions and work with our value chain in supporting the overall sustainability strategy.
The Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine, Andrew Doyle said at the launch of the WEF initiative “I would like to congratulate Lidl for joining my Department’s ‘Woodland Environmental Fund’. Creating new forests is by far the best land use activity for taking carbon from the atmosphere and today Lidl has given their support to creating a new 10-hectare woodland. This forest will help to recreate the type of ancient woodland that once covered the Irish landscape thousands of years ago and will also make a huge contribution to improving Irish biodiversity. We need leaders in climate action like Lidl, businesses that are willing to get behind new innovative schemes like the WEF and I would encourage others to consider joining also”.
Commenting on the initiative, J.P. Scally, Managing Director at Lidl Ireland and Northern Ireland said: “Our CSR strategy is at the core of our business and we’re always looking for ways we can expand it. As we’re fully committed to ensuring we drive positive change not only for our customers but the environment as well, we’re pleased to be involved in the Woodland Environmental Fund initiative and to be working closely with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine by helping to restore a richer biodiversity in Ireland through our contribution to reforesting our countryside.”
Across our store network nationwide, sustainability is front of mind incorporating a range of environmentally friendly features including an ISO 50001 certified Energy Management System. Where possible, stores also feature a solar panel system and two electric vehicle charger spaces, enabling customers to charge their electric vehicles free of charge whilst they shop.
We are continuing to build green roofs for selected new store builds which don’t have solar panels. Partially covered in vegetation, green roofs absorb rainwater and provide insulation, reducing the need for in store drainage systems. Green roofs also help to cool urban environments, improve air quality, sequester carbon and increase urban biodiversity by providing habitats for wildlife.
We have a strict policy concerning pesticides, which indicates that our fruit and vegetables may contain no more than one third of the maximum level permitted by EU law. Also, all our wood products are certified FSC or PFC or coming from recycled wood sources. Our suppliers work hard to meet these requirements, which ensures we are supporting biodiversity on a daily basis.
If you’re looking for ways to support Irelands local pollinators, providing food (flowers) in your community and gardens is a great step. Keep an eye on our garden range which has everything from plants to insect hotels and bird houses.