In August, a team from Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew visited Toyota’s Eco-HQ Surrey to assess the progress of the company’s principle of working in harmony with nature.
Working with Kew, the Surrey Wildlife Trust, landscape management company Nurture and local environmental contractors Conservation and Access, Toyota staff are setting up their own allotment on-site, recycling and re-using old tyres, desk bins and pallets to grow their own fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers.
The allotment is part of Toyota’s ongoing commitment to create thriving, sustainable habitats for plants and wildlife in the grounds of its national base near Epsom.
The produce grown will be used to make dishes for sale to staff and for the menu in the building’s cafe and restaurant, including apple pies made with fruit from the native orchard in the grounds. Money raised will be donated to Toyota’s corporate charity, the MND Association.
Toyota’s Eco-HQ has seen a notable increase in wildlife including butterflies and other pollinators, deer and foxes, and frogs and toads have been spawning around the pond. Bee orchids are also growing on site. Other initiatives at the Eco-HQ include cultivating the area around the wildlife pond and planting succulent species such as red valerian, houseleek and orpine in the walkway for staff to walk through and enjoy during breaks.
Toyota’s HQ is surrounded by gardens designed to foster biodiversity and wildlife, including fruit trees, ponds, anthills, wild flowers and shrubs, while also creating an attractive backdrop for the offices. Since moving to the Burgh Heath site in 2001, Toyota has put various wildlife initiatives in place, introducing native plant species from the surrounding countryside and even introducing beehives to the site.
John Ryan, Toyota GB’s environmental affairs specialist, commented: “We are always looking for ways to support the health and wellbeing of employees, as well the local community. Our Eco-HQ and the new allotment allow us to do both at the same time. Gardening is proven benefit both physical and mental wellbeing, while also giving our staff fresh fruit and vegetable to show for their efforts. We can’t wait to see what our first harvest brings.”