/ Published 8:30 AM EST / Tamara George

Manulife welcomes 500,000 new “employees”!

Meet Manulife’s busiest new employees – all 500,000 of them! Ten hives of hardworking European honeybees have arrived on several Manulife properties, as part of a buzzy new pilot by our Real Estate team.

We’ve partnered with urban beekeeping company Alvéole, and are hosting two hives at our Toronto head office, with an additional eight hives at our four Montreal locations. Alvéole provides the hives, the bees and the beekeeping expertise, while Manulife offers a home base for the busy little pollinators. Plus, in Toronto, our head office gardens have “pollinator pals” that help the bees do their jobs, with plans to add even more bee-friendly plants this summer.

Why bees?
Did you know that one-third of the world’s food sources rely on pollination? Worldwide, 88% of plants depend on bees for fertilization. So as bee numbers decline, our food system and natural environment are at risk. By hosting honeybees on our properties, we’re giving them a chance to flourish, and helping support food sources and biodiversity in the communities we serve.

On top of our urban beehives, our teams at Hancock Agricultural Investment Group host tens of thousands of beehives on our farmland properties, where bees are critical to our almond, apple, cranberry and other crops.

“Being a property owner gives us a lot of flexibility to implement programs like this,” says Kevin Adolphe, President and CEO of Manulife Asset Management Private Markets. “Honeybees are such a vital part of our ecosystem, and we’re doing our part to help them thrive. This program fits perfectly with they company’s focus on sustainability – it’s the right thing to do.”

Bees in the city? Absolutely!
You don’t have to be out in the country to have a hive – urban beekeeping is a growing trend. Our location at 200 Bloor Street East in Toronto is particularly great for hosting these nature-loving guests – the green, multi-acre property is located right next to the beautiful Don Valley.

“We love having bees on site here at Manulife,” says Mary Desjardins, AVP Philanthropy & Sponsorship. “They are a tangible way to promote biodiversity and showcase the important role pollinators play in the environment.”

Plus, Manulife’s apiary gives city dwellers a chance to see something they might not otherwise experience, and it’s generated some serious (sorry, we’ve gotta say it) buzz around the office. Lots of employees have visited the hives and shared the story with their friends.

“Employees are intrigued by the bees,” says Kevin. “They like knowing that Manulife is ‘walking the talk’ when it comes to our environmental commitment. This initiative has been a real hit, and we’re now considering beehives for other real estate properties.”

Want to know more about the Manulife bees?
Stay tuned! We’ll be sharing fun bee facts, offering tips on planting pollinator-friendly flowers in your own garden – and even sharing a tasty recipe for honey taffy. 

Walking the talk
The bees might be the most fun thing we’ve done in terms of sustainability, but they are definitely not the only thing. Manulife and John Hancock have installed lighting and HVAC sensors to reduce energy use, use renewable energy to run our ABMs, offer 75 electric car charging stations across our real estate portfolio – and our Hancock Timberland Resource Group has planted over a billion trees.

But that’s not all. For more on Manulife’s environmental and sustainability initiatives, visit our Corporate Citizenship page, or read our Public Accountability Statement, which features a series of interesting stories about the things we’re doing to make a difference in the communities we serve.