Guerlain has joined forces with UNESCO and Angelina Jolie as the Godmother of the 2021 promotion of beekeepers, on a state-of-the-art, female beekeeping entrepreneurship programme, “Women for Bees”. Taking place in the organization’s Biosphere Reserves, it will be led with the help of the French Observatory of Apidology (OFA) and will support beekeepers from Russia to Ethiopia to Cambodia.
Due to be set in motion on the 21st of June 2021, the 30-day training taking place at the OFA, located in the “Massif de la Sainte-Baume” in Provence – France, will welcome fifty women within five years, from five different UNESCO biosphere reserves each year. Each participant will acquire the theoretical and practical bases of the various aspects of beekeeping, including the running of a professional apiary thanks to the OFA Beekeepers’ expertise. The objective is to empower women through expertise-driven and sustainable professional activity. At the end of the training, the participants will have acquired all the protocols allowing them to sustain their bee colonies, become fully professional beekeeper-entrepreneurs as well as members of an international network of female beekeepers, and share their skills and knowledge to help train others.
Angelina Jolie: “When women gain skills and knowledge their instinct is to help raise others. I’m excited to meet the women taking part in this programme from all over the world. I look forward to getting to know them and learning about their culture and environment and the role bees play in that. I hope the training will strengthen their independence, their livelihoods and their communities.”
By 2025, 2500 hives will have been built within 25 UNESCO Biosphere Reserves and 125 million bees will have been restocked. The 50 women to graduate by that year will have been trained and supported in establishing their own beekeeping operations – whilst participating in a vital, socially beneficial project. Beekeeping can generate income in rural areas for disadvantaged population who don’t own crops or farms. It can also generate income and improve food security in areas where agricultural production is minimal.
17 years ago, Angelina Jolie founded a Foundation in the name of her son Maddox in the Samlot Region in Cambodia, to support the community and ecology of one of the areas of Cambodia most affected by the Cambodian civil war, where Angelina has a long-term family home. The Foundation is dedicated to alleviating extreme rural poverty, protecting the environment and conserving the wildlife of the area. It supports Cambodians as they develop their community and protect their natural resources. As well as health, education, agricultural and women’s empowerment programmes, it provides training to farmers and the community to help them make the best use of their livestock, land and resources. This includes training on raising bees from the production of honey.
It was in Cambodia in 2016 that Angelina’s partnership with Guerlain was born. She brought the company back to Cambodia in 2019 to shoot the most recent Mon Guerlain commercial, and to meet members of the Foundation team, and local beneficiaries of their work. One of the first female beekeepers to take part in the “Women for Bees” training will be from the community served by the Foundation.
Nature has inspired Guerlain since 1828. For over 14 years, the Maison has put its conservation at the heart of its work. This commitment is driven by a duty to act and pass on its legacy to future generations. This goal is carried out with conviction and humility by its teams worldwide to ensure the quality of the creations and the longevity of its expertise while also giving back to Nature – in return for everything with which it provides us. Its commitment to sustainable development allows the House to pin its actions to a strategy which, to meet societal and customer expectations, is grounded in ambitious goals and identifiable achievements. Guerlain is committed to innovating sustainably, preserving biodiversity, acting for the climate and creating a positive social impact.
Above all, it seeks to protect one of our planet’s most important wonders: bees, to whom we have dedicated several meaningful partnerships. This “Women for Bees” five-year programme is part of a UNESCO Man and the Biosphere and LVMH partnership which supports UNESCO’s scientific intergovernmental Man and Biosphere programme. The latter is aimed at conserving biodiversity and supporting practices that sustainably use biodiversity as well as ecological, social and economic dimensions for a sustainable development.
This partnership with UNESCO in collaboration with OFA (French Observatory of Apidology) is a significant step in its dedication towards bees and the environment, and a commitment to take concrete action. The House has been working closely with UNESCO and OFA for a year to develop the most efficient and beneficial strategy to train beekeepers, culminating in today’s announcement of “Women for Bees.” Furthermore, at a time of social, environmental and cultural change, the Maison’s goal is to meaningfully connect and contribute to these three causes, more intertwined than they might appear.
Women are at the heart of Guerlain’s work, looking to raise awareness around the intersection of female rights and bees and, more broadly the environment. Women are, as always, central, their proximity to bees is understandable, as Guerlain commits both to Nature and to gender equality. Amongst other examples, it has been shown that women are more exposed to the effects of climate change, which are multipliers of the constraints that weigh on their daily lives.
Therefore, as The United Nations demonstrated, acting towards gender equality is one of the pillars of a more peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world. This is reflected throughout the company, when women hold key role such as CEO, Véronique Courtois, Chief Sustainability officer, Cecile Lochard, 50% female Executive Committee, 50% of General managers in our markets as are 50% of managers on industrial sites – remarkable figures for the luxury sector. Today, this illustrative “Women for Bees” Guerlain x UNESCO programme wishes to inspire younger generations and promote change.