By Paula Alexander, Director – Sustainable Business & Innovation
How do you ship live bees by U.S. Mail? You ship them in vented, well-sealed cardboard boxes with water and fondant (a thick paste of sugar and water often used to decorate cakes) as a food source.
At our recent Burt’s Bees Culture Day, some 400 people helped build live bee boxes to benefit the Bee Informed Partnership (BIP), a University of Maryland-based research organization. In just eight hours, Burt’s Bees employees and volunteers accomplished work it would have taken BIP four months to complete. That frees BIP up to do more research.
Committed to bee health
BIP is on the front lines of the bee issue, working primarily with commercial beekeepers who manage 98 percent of the bee colonies in the U.S. and represent only 2 percent of beekeepers.
Bee populations have been declining for more than a decade for a variety of reasons. These include increased urbanization, pests and disease and increased transportation of hives to serve our modern agricultural systems.
“Watching our teams work to build the bee boxes was as invigorating as ever. The passion in each of the work areas was electric, with everyone working at a very fast pace to ensure we made all the boxes BIP would need to take care of commercial beekeepers around the country,” says Dan Crawford, Strategic Project Manager – Product Supply and Culture Day activity team lead.
Committed to the Greater Good
Culture Day 2017, with its “Bee Bold ▪ Bee Informed” theme, was held at the North Carolina Museum of Art —a fitting place for a brand that was founded by an artist and a beekeeper.
This year marks the 11th Burt’s Bees Culture Day, an annual event to recommit to the values and convictions of the brand and share them with the external community. These convictions are essentially that Nature has the best solutions and it is our responsibility to promote individual, community and environmental well-being. We call our threefold focus on people, profit and planet — our triple bottom line — the Greater Good.
The Bee Bold ▪ Bee Informed theme was inspired by an enterprise-wide initiative of Clorox to build a culture that encourages bold actions to accelerate growth. It also plays on the Bee Informed Partnership name while recognizing that being bold is most effective when done thoughtfully, with purpose and through individuals open to change.
The day kicked off with several speakers, including Dennis vanEngelsdorp — an icon in the beekeeping industry (check out his TED talk here), Peter Nelson — a documentarian who’s creating a film sponsored by Burt’s Bees called The Pollinators, and Dan Gottlieb — a North Carolina Museum of Art veteran and the visionary behind the museum’s 164 acre park that transformed a former prison into a place of vitality that includes sculpture, pollinator plantings, an apiary (a neighborhood of sorts for bees) and trails.
In addition to building bee boxes, participating employees were the first group to view a trailer for The Pollinators. They also enjoyed team building activities like an Artventure Hunt designed by Aimee Johnson and Nana Myhand of Burt’s Bees.
Burt’s Bees Culture Day continues to grow each year.
This year, the brand’s advertising agency, PR agency, strategic beeswax supplier, licensees and its nonprofit service partners (including the Eno River Association, John Avery Boys & Girls Club, Dress for Success and Inter-Faith Food Shuttle) joined the event.
Burt’s Bees leadership believes including these external partners in this annual event is critical as these partners play a vital role in living and sustaining the culture of the brand.