- Since 14 May, UniCredit Bank Austria has been providing accommodation for 20 bee colonies on the roof of its head office — a total of one million honeybees
- From now on, several thousand jars of organic honey will be produced each year at the Austria Campus — in close cooperation with Bienenzentrum ("Bee Center", BIEZEN —Wiener Honigmanufaktur)
- Two more bee colonies will be settled on the area of the UniCredit Center Am Kaiserwasser. Environmental education workshops for school classes are planned here from spring 2021
For UniCredit Bank Austria, ecological aspects played a central role in its "new head office" project from the very beginning: With its head office on the Austria Campus in Vienna's Leopoldstadt district, the bank has not only set standards for modern working and cooperation. The buildings also meet the highest environmental and sustainability standards, for instance thanks to one of the largest geothermal energy plants in Central Europe.
For CEO Robert Zadrazil, the settlement of the bees is a logical next step: "The 20 bee colonies on the roof of our head office will not only produce around 500 kg of the best organic honey per year, which we can pass on to customers, partners and employees as a particularly valuable gift. With this initiative, we are also strengthening the ecologically important 'bee fleet' here in Vienna, and bee workshops for school classes are also planned in our UniCredit Center Am Kaiserwasser from spring 2021. All in all, a nice, consistent project that ideally complements our existing initiatives in the environmental, sustainability and education sectors!"
For Marian Aschenbrenner, owner of Bienenzentrum ("Vienna Bee Center", BIEZEN), this is a welcome initiative that helps to prevent insect mortality both immediately and in the long term: "The way we live has a great impact on the animal world. The increased colonisation of honey bees, but also appropriate educational measures in particular, raise awareness of these important interrelationships. Dealing with the industrious pollinators makes it possible for young and old to experience how strongly human lifestyles and the consumption that goes with them are ultimately interwoven with nature. We are pleased about UniCredit Bank Austria's commitment to support our efforts for the benefit of the bee."
For this project, UniCredit Bank Austria relies on the professional cooperation with Bienenzentrum
("Bee Center", BIEZEN —Wiener Honigmanufaktur), a partner who is completely committed to organic beekeeping. The cooperation — both in the professional care of the bees as well as in the field of environmental education — is planned for several years.
Bienenzentrum Wien ("Vienna Bee Center", BIEZEN) is both a beekeeping and educational center. BIEZEN has been active since 2016 as an association of several beekeepers and environmental educators. In addition to the dissemination of professional knowledge about bees and the economic production of honey, insect protection is of particular concern to all participants. Thus, in addition to practical courses for beekeepers, a holistic educational programme for all social classes and age groups is being promoted.
Austria Campus: 20 bee colonies — 75 million flight kilometres — about 500 kg honey per year
Within a flight radius of 3 kilometres around the beehives, the 20 bee colonies on the Austria Campus will travel around 75 million flight kilometres and supply UniCredit Bank Austria with a total of around 500 kg of honey per year. On average, a bee colony in Vienna produces 25 kg of honey per year. Bees generally feel at home in the city. In contrast to many agricultural areas, less or no spraying agents are used in the city. In blooming front gardens, inner courtyards and on avenue trees they find largely untreated food sources.
The roof terrace on the seventh floor of UniCredit Bank Austria's head office offers a particularly promising location: the green areas Prater, Augarten, "Freie Mitte" of the Nordbahn quarter and brownfield sites along the railway are in the immediate vicinity. The beehives are attached to the roof with a special fastening, as they have to be protected against wind. A special "show hive" enables visitors to observe the bee colony up close.
UniCredit Center Am Kaiserwasser: two bee colonies — school workshops from spring 2021
At the bee workshops planned from spring 2021 at the UniCredit Center Am Kaiserwasser, pupils and highschool students will not only be introduced to the world of bees and honey processing. In accordance with the special characteristics of the bee in the cycle of life, other important ecological content will also be taught —tailored to the age group of children and young people: for example, the causes of bee mortality, the concrete connections to the reality of life for schoolchildren and possible solutions for the extinction of bees and species. This also complements the focus on sustainability and responsible consumption that UniCredit Bank Austria places in its financial education initiative.
UniCredit Bank Austria's head office sets standards for sustainability
The Austria Campus is one of the largest office projects in Europe and part of one of the largest and most important inner-city development zones in Vienna. The basis for the construction of the new head office on the former site of Vienna's Nordbahnhof (Northern Railway Station) was the winning project of an urban planning competition based on plans by Boris Podrecca Architects. UniCredit Bank Austria's head office sets standards for sustainability—for example, the geothermal energy plant on the Austria Campus is one of the largest geothermal energy plants in Europe in terms of area.
This energy source is used both in summer and winter to support heating and cooling in compliance with all environmental regulations. The electricity savings correspond to 23 GWh or approximately the electricity consumption of all inhabitants of the 1st district of Vienna. The heating energy requirement is also much lower than at the former decentralised locations —with the achieved savings of 20 GWh, 2,857 new apartments with 80 square metres could be heated. The reduction in electricity and heating energy requirements leads to the considerable CO2 savings of around 5,500 tonnes.
In order to reduce its CO2 emissions in the long term, UniCredit Bank Austria also purchases emission-free "Green Electricity", certified with Osterreichisches Umweltzeichen (Austrian Eco-label).