Wednesday, April 12, 2023
Colruyt Group places beehives on own farming land to map out the biodiversity, the plant diversity in the environment and any pollutants. The health of the soil and environment is measured by analysing the pollen collected by the bees, and soil samples. The impact of actions to improve the quality of the environment can also be assessed with this method, and 'best practices' can be identified.The project is a collaboration with BeeOdiversity, in the context of ABInbev's 100+ Accelerator programme, of which Colruyt Group is the European partner. The first results of the project are expected by June, and improvement actions will be defined at the end of the year.
Together with BeeOdiversity, repair and improve biodiversity
Biodiversity is the variety of plant and animal species on earth and is crucial for mankind and the planet. Sufficient biodiversity in the agricultural ecosystem is essential to pollination, natural pest control, shelters for birds and game, an attractive landscape, etc. For example, three-quarters of our food crops completely or partially depend on pollination by natural pollinators to be able to form edible fruits or seeds. Colruyt Group assumes its social role by investing in the improvement and repair of biodiversity. To do so, it collaborates with BeeOdiversity, a Belgian start-up supplying tools and advice to increase biodiversity and reduce pollutants in the environment and the soil.
"We need sufficient biodiversity for a good ecosystem to produce food. With this project, we want to create more awareness regarding biodiversity to work together with all stakeholders on a more biodiverse environment", says Saskia De Block, responsible for agriculture at Colruyt Group.
Bees measure environment health
Early April, BeeOdiversity is installing beehives near the Colruyt Group plots in Moustier. It allows the bees to fly out (up to 1.5 km on average) and act as natural drones to collect pollen in their hives for 8 months. As soon as the temperature exceeds 12° Celsius, the bees begin to invade the environment. When the temperature exceeds 15° Celsius, the bees are at their best. They gather billions of pollen samples containing the DNA of plants (trees, bushes and herbs) but also pollutants. By means of this pollen analysis and soil samples, the biodiversity, the soil health, the diversity of plants in the environment and any pollutants (pesticides and metals) are mapped out. The results of the analyses allow a targeted approach, in terms of agricultural practices, the organisation of field edges as well the environment. The first results of the project are expected in June, and improvement actions will be defined at the end of 2023.
"The qualitative and quantitative data collected by our bees will be shared with the main stakeholders, such as farmers, to allow them to take targeted actions to preserve their means. We are convinced that preserving biodiversity requires the involvement of all actors. The collaboration with Colruyt Group is a fine example of a multi-stakeholder project for change. Moreover, with its Eco-score system, Colruyt Group allows us to plant flower meadows in many Belgian municipalities to preserve pollinators. To us, it's an honour to work with them on repairing biodiversity", says Michael van Cutsem, CEO and co-founder of BeeOdiversity.