Beginning in June, the Provence-based program, which is in partnership with UNESCO, offers participants 30 days of training in all aspects of beekeeping. The objective is to not only promote the sustainable profession of beekeeping but also to empower disadvantaged populations.
“When women gain skills and knowledge their instinct is to help raise others,” says Jolie. “I hope the training will strengthen their independence, their livelihoods and their communities.”
Of course, the benefits to the bees will be great too.
“Close to 75% of cultivated plants and 90% of wild flowering plants depend on pollinators, of which most are bees,” says Cècile Lochard, Guerlain's Chief Sustainability Officer. “This tacit agreement between bees and flowers, struck several million years ago, guarantees a balance in nature.”
But, explains Lochard, annual honeybee mortality rate is at a concerning 30%, which has a deadly knock-on effect to our ecosystem. “The disappearance of bees is a worldwide phenomenon which is endangering biodiversity,” she says.
The Guerlain and UNESCO program aims to give bee numbers an up-tick in local areas. And that boost in bees has the happy benefit of enriching biodiversity and improving food production in areas where agricultural production is under threat.
Jolie’s role in the program is one of global awareness (she has been dubbed “Godmother to the Bees”) but also support on a more personal scale.
“I look forward to getting to know [the women] and learning about their culture and environment and the role bees play in that,” says Jolie. “I hope the training will strengthen their independence, their livelihoods and their communities.”
By 2025, 2500 hives will have been built and the aim is to restock 125 million bees. The women will graduate with invaluable training and support to establish their own sustainable and socially beneficial business.
“Guerlain have a genuine commitment to the environment, sustainable development and the communities they work with,” says Jolie, who has been ambassador with the brand since 2016. “That’s what brought us together, and “Women for Bees” is a wonderful extension of that”.
From May 20th to May 22nd, Guerlain will be holding an international fund drive to raise awareness up to one million euros in aid of the Guerlain for Bees Conservation Programme.
For every repost and tag #GuerlainFor Bees and #WorldBeeDay, Guerlain will be donating 20Euros to the Bees Conservation Programme.
How to Participate
Shop at David Jones Elizabeth Street, Sydney or Bourke Street Mall, Melbourne and 20% of the Guerlain sales will be donated to the Guerlain for Bees Conservation Programme.