Apollo Tyres completes partnership with Enschede City to increase biodiversity and sustainability
After nearly four years of investment and development, the city of Enschede, Netherlands, the home of Apollo Tyres Europe, is coming to the end of its latest project to increase biodiversity, reduce water stress and heat stress, and improve local water management. The project to transform parts of the city into to a ‘Climate Active City’ began in 2016, when Enschede and its citizens highlighted the challenges surrounding flooding and wider environmental change. The whole initiative has been actively supported by Apollo Tyres, which has provided financial backing throughout as an extension of its ongoing efforts to minimise the environmental impact of its global tyre production activities.
The effects of climate change in Europe have become ever more significant, underlined by a series of extreme weather events and over recent years Enschede has experienced an increase in groundwater accumulation. This has been caused by heavy rainfall and also by the disappearance of the textiles industry in the city, which extracted large volumes of water for use in manufacturing. By adapting Enschede’s old stream structure, which had been steadily reduced due to construction and paving works, the water is instead now directed out of the city or stored.
This new watercourse infrastructure, known as a ‘Stadsbeek’, is improving the city’s living environment and its climate resilience. Apollo Tyres has donated €40,000 over the four years to fund the Stadsbeek and a number of associated biodiversity projects.
As a multifaceted project that involves various neighbourhoods, the climate-adaptive Stadsbeek was designed in cooperation with the citizens living in the area. Many of Apollo Tyres’ employees both work and live in Enschede, meaning the project directly affects them.
During the summer months, temperatures in cities are typically higher than in the countryside because water and greenery provide shade and cooling while asphalt and stone instead store and radiate heat. The Stadsbeek now cools Enschede through evaporation, through the supply of cool water and as a result of the increased greenery along the banks of many new watercourses.
Manfred Rudolf, Sustainability Manager Apollo Europe, says: “Being able to align our own company objectives and values with those of the city has been beneficial for the environment, for residents and for our own employees. Our investment has helped local environment bodies and academic institutions collaborate to landscape the banks of the stream with various plant species, which then attract butterflies and bees. You can really see a difference this great project has made to the city.”
Since 2016, the city has developed a nature zone through the Bruggert district, which for example provides nesting opportunities and food for birds in the city. The nature zone also supports the repopulation of insects, which further supports the growth of flowers and the surrounding landscape.
Biodiversity initiatives like this create an environment that supports a range of species that can cohabitate alongside humans, contributing to the optimal functioning of various ecosystems and future-proofing use-cases for future generations to follow.
Today, biodiversity in the Netherlands is struggling due to the depletion of ecosystems, habitat fragmentation, CO2 emissions and nitrogen deposition, resulting in smaller food-webs, reduced pollination and, overall, a less dynamic ecosystem.
However, realising the potential of the nature zone in Enschede will lead to not only better water management, but also a significant increase in ‘natural values’, from animals and flowers in the region to air quality for its inhabitants. “Apollo Tyres will continue to support the city of Enschede on its sustainability journey, improving the ecosystem for its citizens and wildlife,” concludes Rudolf.