Dealing with nature and the environment responsibly
The protection of nature is important to K+S. However, there can be no potash production without affecting the environment. We make every effort to keep these impacts as little as possible. If they cannot be avoided at all, we ensure compensation - and go beyond what is required by law.
Creating added value for the environment
We compensate unavoidable interventions in nature and environment with compensatory and replacement measures. In order to be able to tailor these measures as best as possible to the respective natural environment, we use a broad spectrum of methods. These range from the planting of woody plants to the upgrading of biotopes and the enlargement of arable land. However, we also create tomes - i.e. quarters - for the endangered dormouse or move dozens of anthills by hand to protect the useful insects from the consequences of expanding the tailings pile. We are legally obliged to take such measures. However, K+S attaches importance to creating added value for the environment beyond what is prescribed. A 19-hectare biotope network has been created as part of the compensatory measures for the expansion of the tailings pile in Hattorf - a "green belt" that provides wildcats with a network corridor and gives animals and plants a new habitat.
Nature conservation concerns everyone. Beyond compensatory and replacement measures, with which we fulfil our responsibility under nature conservation law in concrete interventions, K+S repeatedly launches voluntary nature conservation initiatives at its sites. Whether the creation of nesting sites for rare birds of prey on factory facades, the settlement of colonies of bees on the roofs of buildings, the participation with own program items on "Sustainability Day": K+S is active in a variety of ways - not least in order to sensitize its employees to questions of nature conservation. For example, we use the honey that bees produce at K+S to draw attention to insect mortality. We actively involve our employees in order to give them an incentive for their own sustainability activities, whether on the farm or at home. A competition gave employees the opportunity to present their personal commitment to a future worth living, from the operation of a family beekeeping business to the cultivation of their own vegetables.
A clear plan for nature conservation
The bees on the roof of the K+S headquarters are an example of our commitment and one of many measures of our biodiversity management. It supports the experts at the sites in coordinating compensation and replacement measures, in developing projects for species and nature conservation and in cooperation with nature conservation associations. Biodiversity management is an integral part of the operational sustainability management and is regionally oriented. After all, nature conservation is a task which must be tackled locally. We therefore participate in action platforms at state and regional level not only as donors, but also actively and with our own know-how.
In our biodiversity management we proceed with the following 5 steps:
- Analysing impacts on biotopes and biodiversity
- Identifying risks and potentials
- Setting goals
- Planning and implementing measures
- Checking effectiveness
These 5 steps are inevitable, especially for construction measures, plant extensions or tailing pile extensions. They complement our basic approach to dealing with environmental interventions: to avoid, reduce, replace and ultimately compensate.
Within our framework of the Europe-wide biodiversity management, a new thematic focus is set annually. In 2019, the topic of a decline in insects was worked out centrally and potentials for the sites were identified.