Guerlain House’s relationship with bees began many years ago. In 1853 an important task fell to founder Pierre-François-Pascal Guerlain. In celebration of Empress Eugénie‘s marriage to Napoléon III, she commissioned him to create a unique fragrance. This fragrance was presented to her the very first iconic bee bottle. The brand owes the little ones quite a lot, so they have been giving back. Almost 170 years since the original bee bottle, they have dedicated themselves to preserving these precious pollinators.
Guerlain Bee Education
Saving the bees requires education and collaboration. To bring together the keenest bee specialist minds, Bee University was inaugurated in 2017. During this annual event, scientists, organizations, beekeepers and more come together to discuss the latest conservation solutions as well as establish best practices. Ideas from around the world can easily be shared among peers.
The attendees of Bee University already understand how valuable pollinators are to us. To ensure generations come to continue to work towards preserving them, Bee School was created! Employees volunteer to become ambassadors and spend time in classrooms, teaching the importance of protecting bees. The topics of biodiversity and conservation may seem heavy for kids, but they greet Bee School sessions with enthusiasm and understanding. Most of the students have been surprising the ambassadors with the extent of their preexisting knowledge! Upon completion of the program, each student proudly “graduates” and receives a diploma.
Bees are the cornerstone to ecosystems around the world, 80% of crops depend on pollinating insects, of which bees are the most effective. These tiny bugs have a considerable impact. To put it into perspective, it’s estimated that the total monetary value of bee contributions by pollinating is a staggering 153-billion per year. Unfortunately, they are in trouble. The current annual mortality rate for honeybees is 30%… unfortunately a mere 5% is considered normal. Through Bee University, Bee School, and the facilitation of beekeeper training, these negative stats can be turned around!
Guerlain, UNESCO and the Bees
The majority of people do not give much thought to beekeeping, but they play an essential role. The knowledge they hold is key to preserving our biodiversity and food security. Thanks to this partnership with Guerlain, new beekeepers will be trained and new hives can be established. These new beekeepers and colonies will be managed by the French Apidology Observatory within UNESCO designated biosphere. To test out their model, the project will start with 50 hives. During these first five years, two individuals from each pilot biosphere in Ethiopia, Rwanda, Cambodia and China will be trained. By 2024 though, the project will have expanded significantly! It will boast 44 biospheres with 88 beekeepers and 4,400 hives!
Save the Bees
Though the state of bee populations is alarming, the situation is not hopeless. To preserve these crucial pollinators, society must undertake conservation initiatives without delay. This partnership, as well as the latter’s education initiative such as Bee University and Bee School, education and awareness, can be spread and shared at multiple levels.
- Mona Butler is a freelance writer based in Vancouver, BC.
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