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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.

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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.”

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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 May 2019 · neubau eyewear