Degraded wetland
© Disselhoff

Pilot Action A.05

Company Reserves

Short summary of the mechanism

This action will explore a model where commercial companies owning a piece of land initiate a designation process to protect the land under the most appropriate national protection category (e.g. nature reserve) and then manage the land for conservation purposes.

Description/objective of the model/tool

The CEO of the Berlin-based internet company recently purchased a 35 ha property outside Berlin. The reasons for the land purchase were twofold: to invest some savings in a property and to acquire land for conservation purposes. Despite his willingness to designate the site as nature reserve and to manage it accordingly, the owner expects the land to keep some economic value.

In cooperation with the company and the responsible public authorities, NABU will test how a participatory site designation process can be carried out upon the request of a private landowner. We will facilitate meetings of the parties involved, commission an ex-ante inventory of the site and an assessment of its conservation value, and support the authority in the designation process (issuing public notices, drafting the designation ordinance and management plan). The new “company reserve” will help implement the management objectives for the Special Protection Area “Obere Havelniederung”, in which the reserve is situated.

The approach of company reserves differs from established conservation practices of land in company ownership:

  • It does not concern the premises of the company’s facilities, but additional land in its ownership and thus goes beyond existing initiatives focussing on greening of company premises.
  • It is not part of a company’s compensation or remediation scheme for environmental damage previously done to this or another site.
  • The site designation does not follow the normal “top-down” process, as the landowner is put on equal footing with the authorities. Duties and responsibilities for the landowner after designation will be negotiated based on the findings of an ex-ante inventory of the site and an evaluation of its potential conservation value.
  • The approach goes beyond classic eco-sponsoring where companies give money to a conservation NGO for various activities such as buying land, as the company acts in its capacity as the owner of the site and remains responsible for it in the long-term.

The project will also investigate whether the naming rights for the new reserve can be bestowed in recognition for the company's effort (as it is already common practice with sport facilities or cultural events).

Implementation mechanism and process

Public reserve designation process by the competent authority following the request of the private landowner.

Stakeholders involved

Commercial company “”, NABU, county of Oberhavel, Ministry for the Environmental of Brandenburg



Is the tool/model already being applied in another region? If so, where? How? Since when?

No, to our knowledge, this is the first time that a private company requests the initiation of a nature reserve designation process in Germany.

How much land is already conserved by the tool/model?

The pilot action concerns 35 ha.

NABU logo
Project partner responsible for its implementation

NABU Headquarters
Charitéstraße 3
10117 Berlin