Imke - Urban spaces for bees
by Union Investment
Union Investment launched its Imke bee project at 33 locations in 2020. In cooperation with the non-profit association Stadtbienen e.V., two bee colonies were set up in bee boxes at each of the properties. Until today, this number has grown to a total of 60 locations with 120 bee colonies and around 2 million bees. In addition, nesting aids for wild bees have been installed at the sites.
Giving wings to sustainability
Ecological beekeeping and the well-being of the bees are central to our Imke Project. Therefore our beekeepers only harvest the surplus honey.
All bee boxes are made by the Berlin workshops for people with disabilities and are made of wood from sustainable forestry.
Nesting aid for wild bees
Since a contribution is to be made to the conservation of all bee species, a nesting aid for wild bees will also be installed at all sites.
Few nesting sites for wild bees
Due to increasing industrialisation and sealing of areas, wild bees are finding fewer and fewer food plants and suitable nesting sites.
The Imke beekeepers
Our bees are introduced to their boxes and cared for by professional beekeepers from the non-profit Stadtbienen beekeeping association.
Before the bees were installed, the beekeepers inspected all locations for suitability. They will also check on our honey bees at regular intervals throughout the year. A beekeeper’s tasks include monitoring health and development, treating illnesses and preparing the bees for winter. As part of our ecological and sustainable concept, the bees winter on their own honey. Our beekeepers therefore only harvest surplus honey, which we then gift to our staff, partners or customers.
Moving in- Bees on the roof of the EMPORIO (Video)
Peaceful, hard-working and indispensable
Aside from the importance of bees to humankind, we have a fundamental responsibility to preserve biodiversity, and therefore bees, on our planet. After all, the problems are man-made: agricultural monocultures, pesticide pollution and the spread of the varroa mite due to human intervention are all affecting bee populations. Imke is making a small but important contribution to stabilising these populations in Germany.
Up to 80 per cent of our crops and wild plants depend on pollination. Without these hard-working pollinators, it would not just be honey that would be missing from our tables. Apples, peaches, cucumbers, but also cotton and much more besides would suddenly be in short supply, as they depend to a large extent on pollination by bees.
Honey bees are gentle and hard-working pollinators. They are wholly herbivorous, feeding on pollen and nectar. As bees are always drawn towards light, they are not interested in flying into rooms.
Germany’s city centres are greener than average. Bees have no problem finding sufficient and varied food here all year round, as there are no monocultures in cities and virtually no pesticides. To that extent, bees in the city are often better off than those in the Country.
Central to the ecological and sustainable concept of the Stadtbienen e.V. beekeeping association is its focus on the honey bee and therefore also on overwintering of the bee colony using its own honey. Only surplus honey is harvested in the autumn.
Bee colonies have a flight radius of up to 5 km, which means a rooftop location doesn’t pose any challenges. However, it is important that the bee box is sheltered from the wind.
Sustainability at Union Investment
In addition to long-term value appreciation, we always focus on the sustainability of our properties and the associated benefits for the environment and society. Germany’s building sector is responsible for a good 30 per cent of CO² emissions. The real estate industry thus bears a particular responsibility and its actions can have a positive impact. We are therefore constantly trying to improve the sustainability performance of our properties. Even small steps can make a difference here, such as our Imke Project.