Bees are an especially critical part of the biodiversity of our planet. They pollinate plants, which helps to produce food and other essential resources. Bees are also critical to our survival. Without bees, our food and medicine supply would be in jeopardy.
In honor of World Bee Day (May 20th), we acknowledge that organizations must play a role in protecting bees and other pollinators as part of the biodiversity risk.
The Benefits of Biodiversity
Biodiversity management is good for business and focusing on biodiversity—bees included—is essential for our economy.
Many organizations—for instance, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and food—rely on biodiversity for raw materials and natural resources. For example, the food industry relies on pollinators to pollinate crops, the pharmaceutical industry relies on plants for new medicines, and the tourism industry relies on natural attractions.
Organizations have a responsibility to support and focus on biodiversity to protect the health of our planet and our workers. Here are just a few ways for leaders and their teams to improve biodiversity:
- Incorporate biodiversity into their strategic planning. This means setting goals for biodiversity, measuring progress, and reporting on results.
- Make biodiversity a part of their culture. This means educating employees about the importance of biodiversity and providing them with opportunities to get involved in conservation efforts.
- Work with their suppliers. This means requiring suppliers to use sustainable practices, and to avoid using harmful chemicals.
- Be transparent about efforts. This means publishing organizational goals, progress, and results.
Bees are at risk from pesticides and air pollution. Here are a few initiatives organizations can do to help protect the greater environment:
- Reduce environmental impact and pollution by using clean energy, less water, and resources.
- Support pollinator-friendly practices
- Reduce the use of pesticide
- Advocate for policies that promote sustainable agriculture. For example, provide financial incentives for farmers to adopt sustainable practices.
Although bees are important pollinators, they can also be hazardous in the workplace—particularly for those individuals working outdoors. Bee stings can cause pain, swelling, and allergic reactions, and in some cases, can even be fatal. Nearly 700 types of wasps and bees can sting humans, but only 50 species cause clinical reactions.
In the United States, bee stings are responsible for an average of 62 deaths each year, with 80 percent of people who die from wasp or bee stings men.
Bees are attracted to bright colors, sweet smells, and movement. This means workers in certain industries, such as agriculture, forestry, farming, construction, and landscaping may be at a higher risk of being stung.
Bees are also attracted to food and drinks, so workers in food service and retail industries, or anyone working around food or beverages should also be aware of the risk of bee stings.
Employers can reduce the risk of bee stings in the workplace by taking steps including:
- Inspecting work areas for bees or wasps before beginning work
- Identifying and removing beehives and nests from the workplace
- Avoiding perfumes and scented products
- Keeping food and drinks covered and keep work areas clean, free from discarded food or drink containers
- Training employees on how to avoid bees and what to do if they are stung
As EHS&S professionals, we have a responsibility to drive biodiversity efforts that protect bees and other pollinators, our world, and our workers. In addition to protecting bees, we can also help to protect workers from bee-related injuries.
In honor of World Bee Day, let’s all commit to doing our part.
Read more about SAI360’s new commitment to ESG here: https://www.sai360.com/resources/sai360/sai360-launch-reflects-ongoing-commitment-to-esg
Learn more about SAI360’s ESG module here: https://www.sai360.com/solutions/esg-environmental-social-governance and our EHS sustainability module here: https://www.sai360.com/solutions/ehs