When employees at the Janssen Supply Chain (JSC) site at Cork take a walk at the Ringaskiddy facility, they see more than trees and flowers. They also see bee hives buzzing with the winged pollinators.
The apiary at Ringaskiddy is the latest initiative in Janssen Sciences Ireland’s Biodiversity Management Program. For the past two years, the program has focused on landscaping the site and lawns for the benefit of the Irish Hare, a protected species of the Arctic Hare. During the recent site expansion, a priority was to minimize the impact of the construction on the hares and their habitat. The site is now planting trees, shrubs, and flowers to restore the landscaping
As the construction approached completion in 2019, the members of the Biodiversity Management Program team determined that it was time for a new sustainability initiative. Therefore, in March of this year, as part of its ongoing commitment to the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan, Cork established an apiary on the site in Ringaskiddy to increase bee numbers.
The All-Ireland Pollinator Plan was launched in 2015 by the National Biodiversity Data Centre to bring about a landscape where pollinators can flourish. The fact is, the decline in pollinators like bees and hoverflies is not just an environmental issue. It could have serious repercussions for the sustainability of food production and the agricultural sector. One hundred crops provide 90% of the world’s food, and seventy-one of these crops are pollinated by bees. In Ireland alone, pollinators are estimated to contribute €53 million annually to the national economy.
John O’Connor, Beekeeper and Environmental Health & Safety Specialist (formerly of J&J), states, “We underestimate the importance of bees. Without them, we would not be able to feed ourselves. It’s great to see Janssen as a company taking the initiative here.”
In addition, a bug hotel and bird boxes have been installed at Ringaskiddy to support the natural wildlife on the site. This is evident when you take a walk on the Slí na Sláinte (meaning “Path of Health”), which is a hugely popular amenity with employees. Eileen Triggs, Executive Personal Assistant, Janssen Sciences Ireland, affirms, “The bee hives, bug hotels, and bird houses being located close to the walking path allow a fantastic opportunity to see birds and insects without interfering with them. I think it’s amazing that we are being so proactive in the protection of our native Irish bees and it is wonderful to see wildlife thriving in the middle of so much industry.”
But the new apiary is not the only sustainability initiative in the wind at JSC. At the Geel site, a wind turbine was built in June. Click here for a time lapse of the construction. The turbine towers over the site at 117 m; with a maximum rotor speed of 16 rpm, it is capable of generating 3.6 MW.
The site will begin using the new wind turbine in collaboration with the energy supplier Luminus at the end of the summer. The wind turbine will produce 8,000 million kilowatt-hours of green electricity annually, which corresponds to the average consumption of around 2,000 families. The wind turbine will therefore provide extra green energy, accounting for 20% of the electricity needs of the site in Geel. Nick Backx, confirms, “In this way, we take the next step in reducing our ecological footprint and contribute to our Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”
These are just two of the many ways that JSC continues to demonstrate its commitment to improving the environmental health of the places where they live, work, and sell their products.