Director’s Address – September

Director's Address

There’s a lot we can learn from bees. But how are they relevant to business, you ask? They’re hard workers, work in teams and share a common goal. But there’s more than meets the eye. They are the most important pollinators of our fruits, vegetables, flowers and crops; which not only feed us, but also feed our farm animals. More than one third of the world’s crop production is dependent on bee pollination and unfortunately, it has been reported recently that bee colonies are dying en masse. You can see the domino effect here, and it’s clear that something is really wrong. What can we lose if bees were to become extinct?

The analogy here is close to home with us in Australia recently losing its car manufacturing capability to more productive countries like China, Korea and India. The skill and knowledge that has been built up here for over 50 years has been discarded due to poor profit performance and our inability to compete in the automotive industry. Like the bees, our future is uncertain. What happens next to the knowledge and those people who no longer have a purpose to fulfil?

I have worked my whole life in a bespoke manufacturing industry, to see it slowly die due to technology and the onset “Profit over People”. There seems to be a need to drive cost downward to a point where the materials cannot be purchased here for the price of a completed product from overseas. There is pressure from big business to drive down costs from the supply chain, to extend payment terms to hold onto the money for as long as possible. Driven by shareholders who are driven by increased profits and larger dividends.

No bees – no honey.

Bees have been dying over the last 50 years, and it seems we’re not doing anything to help them. So, what can you do? As it turns out – there is hope. Every person can help bees by planting bee friendly flowers, and not contaminating them with pesticides. We can also diversify our farms, plant flowering crop borders to disrupt the agricultural food desert and begin to correct the dysfunctional food system that we’ve created to name just a few.

They may seem like small counter measurements to a big problem – just go plant some flowers – but when bees have access to good nutrition, they’re better able to be the pollinators that we rely on for our ecosystem. In this way and relating it back to business; it’s clear that each individual’s actions can contribute to a grand solution, that’s much greater than the mere sum of our individual actions. Let a small act be the driver of large-scale change.

Loss of skill and Knowledge as the Beekeepers no longer can afford to stay in business. No beekeeper’s skill means no bees, without bees you don’t have crops which means no food. It’s hard to recover from that! Purchasing product in economies that reap the benefit of the honey means people make, learn and go. But if you purchase in other markets we lose the opportunity to do and our communities knowledge will cease to exist.