Financial firm invests in bees to boost biodiversity at headquarters

THERE is buzz in the investment management company Invesco in Henley.

It has nothing to do with the money, but rather with the four beehives that have been set up on the Reading Road office grounds to improve biodiversity.

The company celebrated World Bee Day last month by installing the hives, which it is hoped will produce about 20 pounds of honey, enough to fill about 65 five-ounce jars, this year.

Louise Gow, Head of Global Environment at Invesco, said: “Bees are one of the world’s largest agricultural populations, which are under constant threat from humans.

“We were keen to use the space we have and embrace biodiversity initiatives to make a difference in our local community and to do our part in demonstrating the company’s global commitment to environmental social governance.

“The hives were placed in a green space between two buildings on our campus and we made sure it was bee friendly with the right plants and wildflowers. I myself love bees – they are extremely important .

The bees will be cared for by André Cardona, from London, who runs The Honeybee Man and looks after hives throughout the South. The honey will be sold to raise funds for Dementia UK. Mr Cardona, who has worked with bees since 2005, said: “It’s nice to be able to work with companies on these projects and the bees at Invesco are doing very well.

“It’s a great way to give back to the environment and also improve staff well-being.

“I really think more companies should look at this as a way to do their part for the environment.”

Ms Gow added: “We are looking at all sorts of initiatives to improve what we do for the environment.”

An apple tree has been planted on the company grounds to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, along with saplings to allow cross-pollination, and pear trees now line the wall of one of the car parks.

A wellness garden with wildflower seeds was added to the landscaping to support the bees.

Invesco also held a litter collection in the area around the offices and the on-site restaurant went meatless in support of Earth Day last month. Meanwhile, the Cherry Tree Inn in Stoke Row has also bought a beehive after crowdfunding.

Dan and Natalie Redfern, who run the pub, said: ‘Together with Brakspear, we are very proud of our buzzing new friends and hope they thrive and pollinate right away.

“We’re hoping for bumper crops from our vegetable and herb garden and we’re told the bees are particularly fond of the strawberry blossoms – and, blimey, the strawberry plants have gone crazy this year.

“Luckily we have a beekeeper named John, who has raised the hive and will be visiting weekly to make sure the bees are happy and not buzzing.

“We’re really looking forward to harvesting our own honey and posting updates of the dishes we’ll be creating with it.”

• The United Nations has designated World Bee Day to raise awareness of the importance of bees. A third of the world’s food production depends on bees, as they pollinate 75% of the world’s major crops and 90% of the world’s wildflowers.

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