Climate change poses a threat to honeybees and their future largely depends on the sustainable work being done today.
Boland Cellar in Paarl has launched a range of low-alcohol wines in collaboration with The Bee Effect to address the decline in honeybees and their food security through urban bee farming, seed programmes and safe bee havens.
The Melita range consists of a Chenin Blanc and Pinotage, each with a unique label. Boland Cellar’s collaboration with The Bee Effect project provides it with the opportunity to endorse the Melita range as a brand making a real difference to the protection of the African bee. Together, they are raising funds for the Trees for Bees initiative which aims to support honeybees by planting trees so they can produce honey.
The tree-planting initiative will be implemented by Cape Town-based Greenpop Foundation which aims to restore ecosystems through reforestation, urban greening and sustainable development across sub-Saharan Africa. Since its founding in 2010, Greenpop has planted over 115 000 trees.
In 2017 Boland Cellar conducted research on its brand and sustainability, and found Greenpop resonated with its values, CEO Heini Smit says. “The wine industry is tough and you’re really competing with one another, so collaboration is essential. We had to learn how to incorporate a unique selling point into our label while focusing on doing the right things for the right reasons. And so the Bee Project was born.” An increase in its awareness to protect natural resources has led to Boland Cellar’s commitment to make conservation a corporate responsibility and long-term investment in the planet’s future.
Ecosystems need rehabilitation
Many ecosystems in the Western and Eastern Cape need rehabilitation. To plant an estimated 36 000 indigenous trees will cost R4.5 million, according to Greenpop head of programmes Zoë Gauld-Angelucci. The organisation has three programmes as part of the Forests for Life project in the Eastern Cape. “Each project is selected based on necessity in an area and we work with our local partners to make sure it will be impactful,” she says.
Greenpop looks at the ecological and social impact of the trees which are bought from a community nursery in a local village. It aims to plant 500 000 trees by 2025 to restore degraded forest areas, increase biodiversity and expand ecosystem services across sub-Saharan Africa.
The Bee Effect aims to develop a safe haven for honeybees. “The beauty of Trees for Bees is about mitigating climate change,” The Bee Effect founder Eve Puttergril says.
The project focuses on creating a sustained awareness of honeybees. “Boland Cellar is committed to supporting this programme and helping to develop and increase the number and diversity of trees for honeybees,” she says. The awareness of honeybees is further sustained through the Boland Cellar’s wine labels.
Awareness will be created across all labels, Heini says. “If the Melita range becomes financially sustainable, we will reinvest the money to expand the range to the mainstream cultivars.” The focus is on planting trees for bees and getting other companies to join the Boland Cellar Trees for Bees pledge. Funds will only be used for projects that are of value to honeybees. Brands and corporate structures need to become more sustainable and add value to local and global communities, which is what Boland Cellar is committed to. “It’s all about raising consciousness,” Heini says.
Sustainability is a process and everything starts with an idea. “Sustainability is the effect of collaborating to do the right things for the right reasons,” Heini says. “The Trees for Bees initiative gave us the opportunity to contribute.”
The project is there to benefit everyone. “That’s what our values stand for. If we can ….