The population of pollinating bees has been dropping for decades, but a new report reveals that this may have a bigger impact on economies than what people comprehend.
According to a joint research conducted by the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, the University of East Anglia, and the United Nations, the risk of extinction pollinators like bees and butterflies are facing for years now is threatening the world’s supply of raw materials.
This dilemma, which has already affected some big companies like Pepsico, the Body Shop, Mars, and Asda, is expected to affect approximately 75 percent of crops in the entire planet since they rely mostly on pollinators. The companies have since expressed their worry about the matter as they are unable to act on it due to lack of knowledge about the specific crops and parts of the world that are susceptible to this problem.
The History of Bee Population Decline
On top of habitat loss due to urbanization and climate change, the constant drop in bee population is mostly blamed for the incessant use of pesticides on crops. To make matters worse, these chemicals, which are supposedly used to eradicate insects that damage plants aren’t really necessary for most major crops.
Historically, bee population started to decline even before 1997. However, the “pollinator panic” began as environmentalists saw a steep drop in bee population across the United States. According to reports, this is the period where honeybees needed to be imported from New Zealand to the U.S. for the first time in five decades.
Two years later, apiaries began reporting massive losses in what has been dubbed as the “Colony Collapse Disorder.” The CCD phenomenon happens when most of the worker bees leave behind their queen with only a couple of nurse bees to care for their young.
While reports of the occurrence of CCD has decreased, the drop in bee population continues. More recently, a landmark report from the Center for Biological Diversity published in March 2017 revealed that over 700 bee species in North America alone are facing a significant drop as 1 out of 4 species is at risk of extinction. And that doesn’t even include the species that lack sufficient data for analysis.
Fortunately, companies, like BeesVita Plus-developer Healthy Bees LLC, and some individuals who advocate the preservation of bee life already understand the massive effect of losses in the insects’ population, launching several advocacies to protect the pollinators.
What Companies Have To Say
Bees have remained loyal to Mother Nature by fulfilling their duties in pollination. While some people remain adamant in using pesticides that damage colonies of these pollinators, companies who benefit most from their hard work already see that they need to do something to save the bees that aid in producing quality raw materials they need for their products.
Speaking to the press, Mars Sustainable Solutions Director Jos van Oostrum admitted that there is still a lot to learn about the issue of declining bee population and its consequences. The company, which produces chocolate and confectionaries, is expected to be affected by the drop since cocoa is at particular risk from the pollination problem.
Meanwhile, Francesca Brkic, the sustainable sourcing manager of the Body Shop, acknowledged the possible repercussions of the bee population decline and vowed that they are among those that consider promoting sustainability of their products a priority by protecting the pollinators.
The United Nations has also called for better policies and regulations to prevent the extinction of bees and other pollinating insects as it would also safeguard the stability of the supply of raw materials and help economies all over the world.