OPINION

Urban Beekeeping – a Buzzing Opportunity for Companies to Protect Biodiversity

Written by Accenture & The HumbleBee Housing Project Read time 4 min

Over the summer, bees and pollinators have positively picked up media attention and for a good reason. One-third of the world's food crops depend on insect pollination to produce fruit, but the bee populations are in an alarming decline.

Urban Beekeeping – a Buzzing Opportunity for Companies to Protect Biodiversity
Accenture's urban beekeepers on its building's rooftop after a day of getting acquainted with its new rooftop buzzers.

Compared to the domesticated honeybees, the real short end of the stick falls to the wild bees whose natural habitats have been disappearing at a rate that has left one-third of the 225 species living in Finland classified as endangered. The situation is serious, and something needs to be done, but why all the fuzz about urban honeybees when the wild bees are the ones in trouble?

Why does urban beekeeping matter?

The Humblebees on a sunny day getting a taste of the air surrounding Accenture’s HQ.

Bringing honeybees to the city rooftops has no direct impact on wild bees’ distress, but the indirect benefits brought by the city bees are far too great to be ignored. 

  • Most importantly, urban honeybees act as essential ambassadors to their wild cousins. Bees buzzing from office rooftops to opera backyards and communal gardens attract attention and spark necessary conversations about the vital role all bees have in our ecosystem. The core of the problem is rural, but the critical decisions to solve it are made in the cities.
  • Second, the parks, balconies, and city gardens are home to a surprising diversity of plants that need bees to produce fruit and flourish. A single urban beehive provides home for tens of thousands of honeybees that turn blossoms into cherries and keep the tomatoes growing.
  • City honey has a unique taste of urban biodiversity. The fragrant and colourful flowers that make our cities beautiful, also produce honey with a flavour profile as unique as the urban nature surrounding it. For example, the abundant linden trees lining our parks and boulevards give a faint minty aftertaste to the urban honey.

Urban Beekeeping has experienced somewhat of a renaissance in popularity, and lately, it has attracted increasing attention from environmentally conscious companies. More and more businesses are setting up their beehives on office rooftops where their staff and clients can visit to get acquainted with the bees firsthand.

This summer HumbleBee Housing Project collaborated with Accenture in Finland with the ‘Beekeeping as a Service‘ delivery model (BaaS) and set up beehives on the company’s rooftop in Helsinki. Accenture’s office in Ruoholahti is normally a working space for hundreds of employees. However, now that most people were working from home and enjoying their summer vacations – the office was still a center for hard work as around 200 000 bees were doing the summer chores of pollinating the many flowers of the nearby park and communal garden.

Accenture & the beehives – why?  

The Accenture team learning about “Urban Beekeeping”, with Aapo, Head of Hive Development at the HumbleBee Housing Project.

‘First of all – we thought, why not? We thought it sounded interesting, and of course, we wanted to join the forces to raise awareness of pollinators’ importance to food security and biodiversity. The initiative fits well into our environmental strategy. The nice thing about bees is that the hives bring nature closer to us, and they can teach us a lot about the environment and pollination.

We aim to organize visits to the hives next summer, so our employees can try their hand at urban beekeeping. The locally produced rooftop honey is ‘not just honey’ – it’s a great medium to raise awareness of pollinator decline and climate change amongst our employees and partner network.”

What should companies do?

  1. Try out urban beekeeping initiatives – not just for the honey, but to create a buzz about the more significant problem of pollinator decline and causes behind it (climate change & disappearance of natural habitats)
  2. Evaluate your future investments – what is their impact on the pollinator population?
  3. Spread the word of pollinator decline and how individuals can support  – Read more about supporting pollinators here (in Finnish).

This project is a collaboration with Accenture Finland Corporate Citizenship and HumbleBee Housing Project. 


About Accenture

Accenture is a leading global professional services company, providing a broad range of services in strategy and consulting, interactive, technology and operations, with digital capabilities across all of these services. We combine unmatched experience and specialized capabilities across more than 40 industries — powered by the world’s largest network of Advanced Technology and Intelligent Operations centers. With 509,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries, Accenture brings continuous innovation to help clients improve their performance and create lasting value across their enterprises.

About the HumbleBee Housing Project

HumbleBee Housing Project is an urban beekeeping initiative tackling the global problem of pollinator decline. We do this by partnering with environmentally conscious companies in setting up beehives and spreading awareness of the important role bees have in our local ecosystems.

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