'What men, in heaven's name, can we set alongside these insects which are superior to men when it comes to reasoning?
For they recognise only what is in the common interest'
Ethics and Sustainability
At all times we attempt to operate in an ethical and sustainable manner.
We take sustainability seriously and have developed a style of beekeeping and a small business model that places sustainability and ethical concerns at its heart.
In addition, sustainable living is not just part of our business model, it is a way of life we have appreciated since we were born.
LOCALLY BUILT, CUSTOM DESIGNED HIVES
All our hives are handmade ‘in-house’ in the Blue Mountains by our friend Bernhard Koch. We source the timber for the hives from sources in SE Australia and use predominantly salvaged timber – that is, timber from fallen farm or garden trees. In contrast, most hives in Australia are made from imported plantation timber, plastic or polystyrene.
The fallen logs, which were destined to be burnt or chipped, are processed at small rural mills and transported as green planks to our property. We air-dry the timber for at least 12 months and dress the timber to the finished size. We then grade the planks and turn what was destined to be a waste product into a beautiful, sustainable, long lasting home for our bee colonies.
All other hive components, including the small hive beetle bases, clearer boards and frames are manufactured in Australia and purchased from small family businesses in rural Australia. We assemble these items in the Blue Mountains.
The Warré hives we use are based on the original design, with modifications made by Tim Malfroy to suit Australian conditions and timber sizes.
HIVES POPULATED WITH LOCAL SWARMS
Many beekeepers populate their hives with artificial swarms called ‘packages’ which are trucked hundreds of km’s from apiary to point of sale and often include queens from different states. Queen culling also occurs on a yearly basis in established hives to maintain a docile, productive strain of bees, but this can have negative effects on the wider population of bee colonies.
All our hives are populated with local swarms – a natural, sustainable resource available in the environment. Bait hives are put up in apiaries to mimic a tree hollow and when nearby colonies choose to reproduce, travelling swarms may select a bait hive as their new home.
This process of populating hives is ethically sound, as colonies are not only given freedom to live an unconstrained life (natural comb, natural swarming and other key elements of the life of the superorganism are encouraged) but are also allowed to choose their nest site when swarming and remain in the region where they have become adapted.
MINIMAL IMPACT ON NATURAL RESOURCES
Our bee shed and home has a 7kW solar system that generates more than enough power for our needs most times of the year. Any additional electricity purchased is 100% certified green power.
Water usage for the business is minimal and supplied by rainwater catchment off the shed. Waste water is repurposed for use in the garden. All office paper and cardboard packaging is made from recycled materials and any waste paper/cardboard is reused for packing or other purposes and then recycled.
PACKAGING, PROCESSING AND LOGISTICS
Our packaging – glass jars, labels, cardboard cartons - are sourced from local Australian companies, minimising our carbon footprint (most packaging in Australia including glass jars are imported). The cardboard we use features a large percentage of recycled board.
We source local recycled newspaper to securely pack orders from our online shop.
Processing occurs in a small, insulated honey processing room. Very little energy or water is used in the process, as we mill and gravity strain the honey at ambient temperatures. Conventional honey processing plants use large amount of energy for heating, pumping and centrifuging the honey.
We use a small, local courier business to deliver our honey products to shops – pickups occur only once a week. More than 90% of our honey is sold locally in the Blue Mountains and Sydney area. All pallets and packaging are re-used in the business.
The pre-industrial style of apiculture means there is very little waste produced or resources used. High value products are generated at every step of the process, from wild honeycomb to honey, propolis to beeswax and home-made honey drinks.
SUPPORTING OUR ENVIRONMENT AND LOCAL AND GLOBAL COMMUNITIES
We feel very strongly about supporting people doing great things for the world here and overseas, especially in areas/fields that we can't contribute to personally due to our location, lack of expertise or time. Here are some of the organisations we donate to on a regular basis.
- Australian Conservation Foundation
- Get Up
- Uluru Dialogues to Progress Voice, Treaty, Truth. *
- Plan Australia
- Local Bushfire Brigades
- Save the Children
- Amnesty International
- Sum of Us
For more information about this statement, please click the on the icon above or visit The Uluru Statement.