Orchard in front of the plant

23 trainees at the RKW site in Petersaurach, Germany, are making their own contribution to sustainability by planting a fruit orchard in front of the site. The sustainability project was initiated, planned, and implemented entirely by the junior staff.

Trainee projects are part of the annual curriculum at RKW, and this year, they have chosen a project that meets and demonstrates the company’s commitment: We take sustainability seriously at all levels.

Anyone passing by the RKW plant in Petersaurach next summer – whether on a stroll or on the way to their shift – will be able to stock up on fresh fruit. Because the small orchard is located directly next to the sidewalk in front of the site gate and is accessible to everyone, everyone is welcome to harvest. After all, this is one of the aspects the trainees had in mind during their project: to create something meaningful and at the same time tangible (and in this case, tasty) for the community. The other aspects also show how they have understood and implemented the concept of sustainability overall: The immediate environment will be positively influenced, as the trees will not only bind a lot of CO2, produce oxygen, and provide shade as they grow – which  is more important than ever in view of global climate change. They will also help insects by creating food and habitats, another highly critical point that has been ignored for too long. In addition, so-called “insect hotels” have also been built and set up.

To ensure that the young trees get off to a good start, the trainees have also sought external advice, as Alina Obermeyer, who is in the third year of a business assistant training program, explains. “This includes the right planting soil, a drainage pipe, a wooden support post, a bit of wire mesh fence for protection and wood chips on the ground to prevent rapid drying out,” says Alina Obermeyer on behalf of the project team.

The further supply of the trees, especially with water, will now be handled by RKW teams who have each taken on tree sponsorships. An IBC container with fresh water is available and well filled. Wooden signs indicate which team is taking care of which tree, small labels inform the visitor as to what kind of fruit it is. And the last tree that the junior staff have planted in a small ceremony will be taken care of by the trainees themselves.