Beekeepers & Sustainability
WORKING WITH NATURE
Our founders, Claude Stratford and Alan Bougen, brought natural beekeeping practices and business to life by ‘doing good’. They were convinced if they concentrated on doing the right things first, then wider business success would follow. In the early years, Comvita was a community of hardworking individuals committed to acting in a manner that preserved and helped improve the quality of life and our environment for generations to come. Today, this sentiment remains at the heart of the business. Healthy bees and honey starts with the land and its surroundings. Our hives are located far from pollution and agricultural sprays in remote forests in New Zealand, a country free of Genetically Modified crops.
SUPPORTING OUR BEES
While our bees are busiest during the Manuka flowering season (typically September through February), we ensure our bees are looked after and hives protected throughout the year. Comvita also owns a queen bee-rearing facility to ensure that our bee colonies have good genetic diversity, high productivity and youthful Queens, all of which contribute to healthy hives.No Antibiotics, Ever.
As it is illegal in New Zealand to use antibiotics for bees, they are never used during the production or collection of Manuka Honey.
SUPPORTING OUR BEEKEEPERS
We've been working alongside our beekeepers and beekeeper partners for decades, some since the company was founded in 1974. In New Zealand, the beekeeping profession has generally been a profitable one and in the last few years, following a global trend, a very popular one. Since 2014, Comvita and the East Taupo Lands Trust have been involved in a mutually-beneficial Kaimanawa Honey partnership. The Tuwharetoa iwi of New Zealand's East Taupo Land Trust benefit from sharing in the revenue from the sourcing of natural UMF™ Manuka Honey from their tribal lands. Comvita provides the beekeeping craftsmanship to ensure the natural sourcing of Manuka Honey is sustainable year after year. Comvita’s Apiary Management System (AMS) is an in-house developed system which automates data to help beekeepers manage their hives effectively and efficiently to ensure premium hive health. It also provides complete transparency from hive to shelf. Additionally, we have a Supply Partnership Group (SPG) whereby our loyal beekeepers have shares in the company, thus providing a win-win. Comvita's fair practices and long-term relationships foster and benefit the communities where beekeepers live. We appreciate the hard work and dedication to the craft by our beekeepers, who know the importance of delivering the finest Manuka Honey.
SUPPORTING THE NEXT GENERATION OF BEEKEEPERSComvita's Beekeeping Cadet Program
We support future beekeepers. Our Beekeeping Cadet Program is a fully-paid program that offers those with an interest in the apiculture industry the opportunity to become a fully-qualified Kiwi Bee (Comvita) beekeeper. The cadetship attracts new and local talent to enter the trade, and helps ensure the longevity of apiculture. In 2017, 10 cadets successfully completed the New Zealand Certificate in Apiculture (Level 3). All the graduating cadets are offered full time employment with Comvita to continue to develop their beekeeping skills and knowledge. In 2018, 15 of our beekeepers participated in a training program which resulted in them obtaining a New Zealand certificate in Apiculture (Level 3). Many are now current Comvita employees (beekeepers).
LOCAL SUSTAINABILITY, GLOBAL IMPACT
We understand that our processes create a carbon footprint and it is a continual focus for us to reduce our carbon impact on the environment. Our Manuka plantation projects, partnerships, and pledge to plant more trees provides opportunities for Comvita to offset its carbon credits by reducing its overall carbon footprint. Specifically:
- Throughout 2018, Comvita planted more than 2 million Manuka seedlings throughout New Zealand, contributing to an overall total of 4,000,000 Manuka seedlings planted across the country since 2016. Where Manuka planting takes place, marginal and soil-eroded land is restored, and waterways become cleaner, which supports our aquatic biodiversity and local habitats.
- We take extra care to offer the best natural products, and when it comes to the way they're packaged, we make the same conscious considerations. Most of our products are packed in BPA-free recyclable plastic. As we ship from New Zealand, plastic is lighter to ship overseas and therefore reduces the carbon footprint.
VISIT US IN NEW ZEALAND!
If you’re in Auckland, New Zealand, stop by for a visit to the Comvita Wellness Lab! Here you’ll find that we’ve designed this experience store to provide you an opportunity to learn more about our friends the bees and the fascinating process of making pure natural honey. Our store is free to explore and offers free drop in honey tastings at our tasting bar or bookable 45 minute immersive honey tastings with our onsite beekeeper and host Noelani. The Comvita Wellness Lab is typically open year-round, from 10.00am – 5.00pm. Learn more.
From humble beginnings in 1974, and now with over four decades of perfecting our beekeeping craft, we are proud to be the trusted leader in Manuka Honey. We have over 40,000 hives and are committed to growing relationships with our beekeepers. We give back to the community through environmental and education programs, our bee cadet program (training tomorrow's beekeepers), and by creating a sustainable place to live.
HOW WE CAN ALL HELP THE BEES
- Plant wildflowers in your yard
- Choose organic, non-GMO, wild, pollution-free foods
- Be mindful to avoid wasting food
- Provide fresh, pesticide-free drinking water for bees. If you fill a saucepan of water, put pebbles or twigs in the water for bees to rest on while they drink