Businesses urged to better understand the massive impact that bees have on the economy.   

The role bees, and other pollinators, play in the food chain is so important that, in the UK alone, their services are worth around £691 million a year in terms of the value of the crops they pollinate. It would cost the UK at least £1.8 billion a year to employ people to do the work of these pollinators. Bees do it for free.*

Bee decline is a financial risk for business and, as outlined in The National Pollinator Strategy, their rapidly reducing population will seriously damage the £100 billion food industry making foods, from almonds and vanilla and apples to squashes, more difficult and expensive to grow.

The role pollinators play is not well understood and is often taken for granted. That’s why Climate Action North is planning to hold an event to address the subject.

Climate North East Action Managing Director, Sharon Lashley, said: “Environmental impact, corporate social responsibility, and sustainability are important issues for everyone but especially for business. More than ever before, we need to recognise the importance of bees to our economy and to our lives. And we need to turn that into action to ensure they don’t just survive but thrive.

“This event will do just that by explaining and exploring the essential role that bees play to building resilient livelihoods, creating new jobs and a vibrant ecosystem, and will share some examples of how local businesses can play their part.”

The speaker line-up includes James Fearnley of The BeeArc Project an exhibition and research centre that explore ways in which the honeybee can inspire the economic, social and cultural life.

James said: “The economic exploitation of the honeybees has brought them to the brink of destruction despite the fact that they support not just our economic life, but our social and cultural and spiritual lives. It is time to wake up to the wonder that is the honeybee.”

Stuart Duckett, who is the design team leader on the Project, is also joining the line-up and will talk about the design concept of the BeeArc and sustainable design principles.

Barbara Keating of the Tyneside Beekeepers Association will talk about the ecosystem in which we keep honeybees and will highlight the dangers of “beewashing” and how businesses can help bees in an ethically sound and sustainable way.

Climate Action North’s Sharon Lashley will also join the speakers to explain how the Pollinator Parks Project is supporting the survival of struggling pollinating insect populations on industrial and retail parks throughout the North of England.

Sharon concluded: “Honeybees are by far the most important pollinator on the planet but over-industrialisation, the destruction of natural habitats, the use of pesticides, and the climate crisis are all forcing their alarming decline.

“During the course of this event, we will be using knowledge, connections and collaboration to discover positive and proactive ways that businesses can improve the situation – to the benefit of their own commercial objectives and the economy as a whole.”

The event will also feature demonstrations and interactive workshops from local beekeepers and groups, and a range of bee-related exhibitors will be showcasing their products and projects.

Full details of the event will be released soon.

* https://friendsoftheearth.uk/bees/why-do-we-need-bees