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Cele­bra­ting World Bee Day

The Bee Project: How we went from ‘sustainable eyewear design’ to ‘sustainable beekeeping’ practically overnight!


Accord­ing to a 2018 United Nati­ons report, up to 68% of the world’s popu­la­ti­on will live in urban are­as by 2050, which is up from 55 per­cent at pre­sent. What was once green is now grey; our high rises grow tal­ler, our offices expand and our free­ways stretch out far­t­her bet­ween cities. Clean air has been pol­lu­t­ed and micro­scopic plastics lit­ter our oce­ans. And as our lives have con­ti­nued to trans­cend fur­ther into the digi­tal realm, our con­nec­tion to the natu­ral world has beco­me estranged. 

Gro­wing up in the con­cre­te jung­le our abi­li­ty to reco­gni­ze what is nor­mal for the envi­ron­ment and what isn’t, has dwind­led. It has beco­me incre­a­singly clear that the only way to ensu­re the sur­vi­val of our pla­net and all that inha­bits it is to live sus­tainab­ly and har­mo­nious­ly, with natu­re. And so, here at neu­bau eye­we­ar, we have deci­ded to take a first step in the right direction. 

The hum­ble Honey Bee has, in recent years, been disap­pearing at alar­ming rates (see more about colo­ny col­lap­se dis­or­der here) causing a mas­si­ve decli­ne in food pro­duc­tion, affec­ting plant growth world­wi­de. Without the bees, we could lose all of the plants that bees pol­li­na­te, all of the ani­mals which eat tho­se plants and so on up the food chain. Basi­cal­ly, without them, the world as we know it collapses. 

With this in mind, more and more peop­le have deci­ded to start their own backy­ard bee hives; and we’ve deci­ded to fol­low cue! Qui­te recent­ly, the team behind our Ger­man branch adap­ted their roof­top to house three bee hives with hopes to start a thri­ving bee colo­ny and make some fresh honey in the pro­cess.

We spo­ke with one of the mem­bers of our Ger­man team, Hans Peter, Head of Inter­nal Sales, on why they felt com­pel­led to offer their space to the­se honey loving creatures: 

How did you dis­co­ver your love for bees? What makes them spe­cial to you? I grew up in the coun­try­si­de, whe­re I had my own home-grown fruit and vege­ta­bles. For many years now, I have been a mem­ber of the Natu­re and Bio­di­ver­si­ty Con­ser­va­ti­on Uni­on in Ger­ma­ny (NABU). Through this, I heard about a spe­cial bee pro­ject in Ham­burg which rou­sed my inte­rest and wish to keep my own bee hives. Taking care of the bees hel­ps me to impro­ve my work-life balan­ce and to streng­t­hen my men­tal health.

How has brin­ging bees into – well on top of – your office impro­ved your work as a team? How does it rela­te to your work with neu­bau? The honey bee pro­ject allows us to mix-up our dai­ly rou­ti­ne and con­nect with others in dif­fe­rent depart­ments. Get­ting to know each other bey­ond working tog­e­ther in our dai­ly busi­ness is defi­ni­te­ly a bene­fit for pro­fes­sio­nal coope­ra­ti­on sin­ce the col­la­bo­ra­ti­ve work rein­for­ces the com­mu­ni­ty spi­rit. The pro­ject rai­ses awa­reness for both the impor­t­ance of the honey bees and sus­taina­bi­li­ty. It hel­ps us to gain a bet­ter under­stan­ding of the core as well as the brand values of neubau.

What are the big­gest moments of joy and what are the big­gest chal­len­ges for being a beekeeper?

The pro­ject brings me hap­pi­ness on all levels – from ope­ning the hives to enjoy­ing our own-pro­du­ced honey. I am a pas­sio­na­te bee kee­per becau­se it’s fan­tastic to see what mother natu­re has crea­ted and to see how the honey bees are navi­ga­ted by their evo­lu­tio­na­ry instincts. At the moment, cli­ma­te chan­ge is the big­gest chal­len­ge we are facing.

This has not been our first time working with bees; in the past we have part­ne­red with the Honey Bee Con­ser­van­cy to help in the fight against their extinc­tion but up until now, we had not had the chan­ce to obser­ve bees so clo­se­ly. In fact, over the past year we were actual­ly able to pro­du­ce more than 100 litres of honey– or at least the bees did, the honey has been making its way to our cus­to­mers in the form of a gift over this time. 

Hans Peter has show­ed us that working with the­se insects can be an uplif­ting and empowe­ring expe­ri­ence; not only are we sup­por­ting a sus­tainab­le future but we are also lear­ning more about the many crea­tures that would move through our shared envi­ron­ment, should we let them. Hans Peter sug­gests that we might try to learn from bees; 

Every decisi­on [made by the bees] is made on a collec­ti­ve basis. Hence, the bees ser­ve as a role model, espe­cial­ly for our dai­ly working business.”

It is clear, that we must work tog­e­ther if we are to live tog­e­ther; some­thing the­se bees have known for a long time…

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20 Mai 2019 · NEUBAU EYEWEAR
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