In the northeast region of Spain, there is a small city called Zaragoza, where Opel Vauxhall, a leading vehicle manufacturing company, has become the engine of change in Europe.
Idoia Espinal, an environmental engineer at Opel Vauxhall, explained the impact that Opel and its sustainability goals have brought to this city. “Whether it be the community of Zaragoza or our employees themselves, we’ve made sure everyone who visits the site knows how important it is all the work we are doing and how it is helping the environment.”
With over 700,000 acres and more than 5,000 employees and contractors, Opel Vauxhall has been able to demonstrate that beyond building and selling vehicles that reduce emissions of compounds such as carbon emissions, it also takes care of its flora and fauna.
Upon entering the site, one can experience how much the company cares about the environment. Built right on the entrance of the parking lot there is a natural fence of native plant and flower species that withstand the cooler climate of northeastern Spain, who were chosen mainly for their representation of the Spanish culture and their biodiversity value. The site is open to the public throughout most of the year.
Currently, the largest project the site has is its xeriscaping garden – a style of gardening that advocates for the use of native climate-adapted species, resulting in low water use and a reduced need for fertilizer application and other maintenance. These measures have created opportunities for pollinators like bees and butterflies to create a home in Opel Vauxhall.
The company also maintains a grove of native trees near its water plant. This area is designed according to the same xeriscaping guidelines, and the trees provide an oasis of vegetation for bird and insect species in Zaragoza.
These projects are maintained and monitored by employees of the company, who have gradually learned how to carry out the same strategies in their home landscapes.
With much enthusiasm, Espinal tells us that thanks to the performance of Opel Vauxhall in Zaragoza, many other manufacturing plants have also been inspired to follow their same steps, “There is more sensitivity towards the issue, both from employees and other manufacturing plants. You have to set the example, and whatever is feasible for them to follow, then they should follow.”
Espinal summed up the program’s intended impact by noting, “As stated before, we must be the engine of change, and now the community and our workers have come together to be ambassadors of this positive change.”