It is estimated that 80 percent of crops depend on pollinating insects to survive, with bees being among the most effective at pollination. Despite this, the annual mortality rate for honeybees is currently at a steep 30 percent (a rate of 5 percent is considered normal). 

This week, luxury French beauty brand Guerlain announced a five-year partnership with United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to combat the declining bee population. Together, they aim to build a worldwide network for beekeepers and raise awareness on the importance of pollination in food security. 

Beginning in early 2020, eight beekeepers (two from each of UNESCO’s biosphere reserves in Ethiopia, Rwanda, Cambodia and China) will be trained. Over the remaining four years, the training will expand to 88 beekeepers from 44 different reserves, with the option to extend operations past 2025.

Not only is this news good for the planet, but it’s good for business, too. “Beyond pure generosity, the subject is eminently economic,” says Laurent Boillot, CEO and president of Guerlain. “Indeed, many studies show that, especially among Millennials ‘Sustainable Luxury’ is so popular that it is a reason for choosing a brand.”

He’s right. According to results from 2018/2019 studies by Boston Consulting Group, 59 percent of luxury consumers say that sustainability influences their purchasing behaviour. 

Guerlain also announced that by 2021, all of their products will be composed of 95 percent ingredients of natural origin. By the brand’s 200th anniversary in 2028, they aim to be entirely carbon neutral – talk about a happy birthday.