“We’re promising Luna that by 2015 a total of 1’000 employees will sign up to participate in a WWF environmental initiative.” This is the pledge made by Migros in its sustainability programme, «Generation M».
The WWF is committed to ending the global destruction of the environment and to creating a future in which people and nature live together in harmony. While nature in Switzerland may perhaps need less protection than rain forests, taking care of and preserving our natural surroundings still takes a lot of work. Local communities, especially smaller ones, are not always able to take tackle the task alone. We actively help these communities by rolling up our sleeves and getting stuck in.
This promise particularly struck a chord with Katja Klenner and her team. As well as being the head of Packaging Development Personal Care in Buchs, she is also a member of the local sustainability team. When she presented the idea to other Mibelle Group colleagues, her suggestion was met with great enthusiasm. A group of 13 eager volunteers was quickly established, all motivated by wanting to do something together that would help to preserve Switzerland’s biodiversity. For their task, the WWF choose a scree slope that regularly requires maintenance by the small community of Quinten.
On a cloudy day in October, the crew of volunteers from several different Migros companies assembled by beautiful Lake Walen. The first challenge that awaited them was the steep 30-minute hike up to the scree slope. A forester and a WWF representative then provided the team with instructions for the clean-up mission. Equipped with gloves and a team spirit, the volunteers set to work. They gathered leaves, plants, saplings and already clipped shrubs, then carried everything over the steep scree slope into the bordering forest.
Scree slopes are important habitats for snakes, lizards and other animals. If left alone, they become completely overgrown in just a few years and the animals lose their habitat.
Luckily it was fairly cool that day and the snakes stayed warmly tucked away in their little nests. Working on a steep slope with loose debris and boulders was very challenging. To make things easier, the team formed chains so they could pass along the material to each other. The job required real stamina from the office workers. They also had to alert and were constantly searching for a solid foothold. Everyone enjoyed participating in the collective effort. The forester and his team soon saw that office workers can also roll up their sleeves and get stuck in.
The team learned a lot from the initiative. During the breaks, the forester taught them interesting facts about the unique region. For example, the area around Murg has the largest number of chestnut trees North of the Alps. These trees require regular maintenance and use.
To round off the day, the people of Quinten thanked the team for their help with a delicious meal at the local shooting club. Everyone was impressed by the chestnut flour pasta made with local chestnuts grown by Lake Walen. Full of many fantastic impressions from the day, the team headed home with aching arms and legs – and a positive feeling that they had accomplished something worthwhile.