Unlikely brands launch bee initiatives

While innovations in agriculture have helped produce more crops, it has also harmed one of the industry’s key players: bees. Though there isn’t a singular cause of colony collapse disorder, humans have played a significant part in the vanishing of the bees, from pesticide use to habitat loss. Young consumers today care about the social and environmental impacts of their purchases, and these companies are aligning themselves with today’s conscientious youth by creating initiatives to help save bee populations.



A company doesn’t have to deal in agriculture to be concerned about the dwindling bee population. Ford Motor Company has recently launched a beekeeping program on its Dearborn, MI campus. Cormac Wright, a 32-year-member of Ford’s IT department, came up with the idea after reading an article about bee health initiatives and believing that Ford could do the same. Engineers and employees helped design six protective hives that resemble spherical honeycombs that now line the walkway of Ford HQ and are populated by 360,000 bees supplied by the department of entomology at Michigan State University. The program is designed to support honeybee populations and the local ecosystems that depend on them.


As a sponsor of NYC’s High Line, TD Bank created a initiative called High Line Honey in alignment with the park’s commitment to sustainable operations. TD enlisted the help of renowned beekeeper Andrew Coté of Andrew’s Honey to collect over 100 pounds of honey from the Chelsea neighborhood’s rooftop hives. The initiative highlighted the vital role of bees in guarding the planet’s food supply and ecosystem. The year-long project culminated in a High Line Honey Harvest Event held last month on the High Line where locals could sample the harvest and purchase jars of the collected honey. TD donated 100% of the proceeds to the sustainable maintenance of the park. 


Pharmaceutical company Bayer is looking for ways to improve pollinator health. Its Feed a Bee forage initiative, which launched last year, provides grants to states for projects that restore plant ecosystems that provide food for pollinators. Scientists have reported that habitat loss and poor nutrition are potential threats to the bee population, and Feed a Bee is actively counteracting these harms by distributing grants to provide diverse, abundant sources of nutrition for bees and their pollinator friends. The project’s goal is to fund projects in all 50 states by the end of the year.