Since last June, the digital solutions company Vass has had a green urban garden at its headquarters in Alcobendas. “On Mondays and Fridays, in groups of six or eight workers, we go to the garden to carry out the necessary tasks, always during working hours,” says Sonia Domínguez, responsible for the environmental area.
Vass's is not a unique case. The implementation of the garden was the result of a proposal of the company that owns the building, Merlin Properties, which did the same in the Vía Norte building, in Las Tablas de Madrid. The company plans to extend the initiative to more of its buildings, says Javier Zarrabeitia, Merlin Properties office director. The idea is to consolidate as “a leading name in terms of sustainability.”
According to María Abalo, marketing director of La Huertoteca, a firm specialized in urban gardens, "there is a lot of interest on the part of companies to set up urban gardens in their buildings." They are, for the most part, large companies from various economic sectors, such as Estée Lauder, EBN Bank, Renault or Mahou San Miguel. They are usually set up on rooftops, but also in outside enclosures, says the expert.
Beyond being a corporate social responsibility (CSR) action, this sort of facilities has multiple advantages from an economic, environmental and social point of view. “It is an activity that is totally different from the work we do. It helps us clear our minds, release tension and allow the team to strengthen ties, improving our ability to work in teams and increasing productivity,” says Sonia Domínguez.
"At the environmental level, we are raising awareness about the consumption of local and seasonal products, about the optimization and reuse of resources and about the use of sustainable materials, in addition to helping absorb CO2," said the head of the environmental area at Vass. Also, in most cases, the management of the gardens is carried out in partnership with foundations that help vulnerable groups, such as people with intellectual disabilities.