Result of the ESG initiative «100 ideas to tackle climate change»

July 09, 2024

As a part of Comet's ESG initiative «100 ideas to tackle climate change», one of our employees suggested removing invasive neophytes from the area surrounding the Comet building in Flamatt. We took this opportunity to actively support our local environment and worked with Comet volunteers to uproot invasive neophytes after work.

Invasive neophytes: a threat to native species

A neophyte is a plant species that originates from another area and is introduced into the natural habitat. Among neophytes, there are "invasive species" that spread massively at the expense of native species. Thanks to their biological characteristics (high growth or reproduction rate), they can compete with other plants for habitat and resources and eventually displace them in the medium or long term. This is why invasive neophytes should be removed.

Tackling neophytes with combined forces

Spotting harmful fleabane

We discovered large amounts of the annual fleabane, Erigeron annuus, on the Comet premises. Although it visually resembles chamomile, it is harmful because it produces seeds without fertilization and with its rapid spread, it displaces native plants, including some rare species.

Getting to work with hoes and shovels

Our task was to uproot the plants, which were up to a metre high, together with their roots. Depending on the composition of the soil, this can be a tricky job and difficult to do without the right tools. However, the team overcame this challenge with great ambition.

Uprooting results and proper disposal

Although we were not able to cover the entire area, we filled 12 sweepings bags with the annual weed in just 2 hours - an impressive yield. It is important to note that invasive neophytes should not be disposed of in compost but must be destroyed in an incinerator to prevent further spread. Control will only achieve lasting success if we carry it out regularly.

We can only achieve sustainable success if we carry out the control on a regular basis. Another neophyte removal session is already planned.

Michael Hoekstra
Initiator of the neophyte activity

«The responsibility for controlling invasive neophytes lies with each and every one of us, whether in our own flowerbed or on the meadow. We can all help to maintain a diverse landscape.»

Impressions

Local engagement for a better world

We've adressed sustainability not only in Flamatt, but also at our sites around the world.

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