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A desk for a wheelbarrow

Social Involvement

by Julia Klotz

Strengthen team spirit and do something good: reason enough for a team of the Group internal audit department to do something in their spare time for Finkens Garten, the nature discovery centre in Cologne. One morning, they toiled, sweated and strained until they reached their goal: a new dry wall – and the realisation that you can achieve a lot if everyone rolls up their sleeves.

“Finkens Garten” in the south of Cologne, a Saturday morning in late September: birds chirp in the trees, dew lies on the meadows and the first visitors are yet to arrive. Work is already in full swing in just one corner of the nature discovery centre. 18 colleagues from the Group internal audit department have swapped their desk for a wheelbarrow and shovel today and are building a new dry wall.

All hands on deck are needed for this. “We are all together here in the dirt,” summarises Rüdiger Hahn, manager of the REWE Group internal audit department, laughing. “But exactly this kind of sense of togetherness is what it is also all about: today, there are no hierarchies, everyone is getting stuck in – creating a real group dynamic,” Hahn explains his rationale for the unusual work.

Home for beetles and all

Most importantly, the team’s voluntary social commitment is supporting biodiversity in Finkens Garten. Dry stone walls are important habitats for many plants and animals. The stones are, as the name implies, laid “dry” on top of each other because the joints are not filled with mortar. This has the advantage that the joints can be home to plant life, and the small alcoves can shelter many beneficial insects such as wild bees and beetles. Lizards and slow worms choose the warm, dry cracks in the wall as a place to stay.

To make sure the wall remains solid, there is professional support from staff of the local forestry office and the German Nature Conservation Federation (NABU). The team has already knocked the last stone in place by noon – and the wall is complete. Klaus Simon, a volunteer at NABU for decades, is impressed: “We are all pensioners – with our five or six volunteers, we cannot carry out such work.” The NABU representatives were also overjoyed that the auditing team brought along the required 30 metric tons of sand stones, thanks to a generous donation from toom Baumarkt.

“It’s amazing how much you can achieve.”

Last year, the Group internal audit department approached the NABU with the idea of implementing a sustainable project in the Cologne area. The result can also be seen in Finkens Garten: a restored pond, which is now home to amphibians such as the common and natterjack toads and newts. Since time and stones are left over, the pond is getting a border that provides support for the lining. The team is unanimous: “It’s amazing how much you can achieve when everyone chips in.”

After the work is done, everyone sits together in Finkens Garten and enjoys a BBQ. It’s hungry work after all. Then, the first of the colleagues have to make a move. “Some of us are running the ‘Run of Colors’ charity run supported by REWE,” they explain - also for a good cause.


Have a look, select the project, do good

Strengthen team spirit, do something good for people or the environment and simply dare to do something completely new: there are many reasons to dedicate a little of your spare time to social and environmental projects. Employees from the Cologne headquarters who are still looking for a suitable project will find what they are looking for in the “Exchange for social and environmental commitment” in Infonet. Whether alone or as a group with colleagues, regularly or as a one-off – the many possibilities mean there is something to suit every interest. Opportunities in the exchange for social and environmental commitment are continually updated and expanded.