Tomorrow’s leaders must act with the understanding that the purpose of business extends beyond creating short-term value for shareholders. At the Business for a Better World Center (B4BW), we believe that business can and should be a force for good in society. With the United Nations’ 17 Global Goals as our North Star, we engage leaders, shape business education, and prepare tomorrow’s leaders to act with people, planet, and prosperity in mind.
The operation of HBI is a significant way B4BW ‘walks the talk’ for our students; demonstrating both how a business can work in support of the public good, and the critical role pollinators play in our society.
We began humbly in 2012 with four hives, motivated by the need to raise awareness about the decline of pollinators – a global phenomenon driven by parasites and diseases, habitat loss, climate change, as well as pesticides – and its potential impact on world food production. In 2019, nearly 40 percent of all US honey bee colonies, already in decline, were lost—the highest level reported since survey results were collected in 2005-2006.
Soon thereafter, a beekeeping class, which filled immediately, was started, and it caused us to think about ways to expand. Led by Germán Perilla, our Master Beekeeper and Executive Director of the Initiative, in 2013 we launched HBI to educate our campus community about the benefits of sustainable hive management in an urban setting.
Today, that small startup has developed into an operation of several hundred hives, an established teaching and research program, thriving international components, and dynamic public-private partnerships that we will continue to grow to increase our impact. HBI’s mission is to empower communities through sustainable beekeeping. More specifically, HBI promotes multi-disciplinary, experiential, and entrepreneurial approaches to honey bee sustainability.