The Business of Bees

The Business of Bees

An Integrated Approach to Bee Decline and Corporate Responsibility

Our bee populations are under threat. Over the past 60 years, they have lost much of their natural habitat and are under assault from pesticides and intensive farming. We rely on bees and other insects to pollinate our fruit and vegetables and, without them, our environment and economy will be in crisis.

The Business of Bees provides the first integrated account of diminishing bee populations, as well as other pollinators, from an interdisciplinary perspective. It explores the role of corporate responsibility and governance as they relate to this critical issue and examines what the impact will be on consumers, companies, stock markets and ultimately on global society if bee populations continue to decline at a dangerous rate.

The book considers the issue of global bee population decline from a variety of disciplines, combining the perspectives of academics in accounting, science and humanities with those of practitioners in the finance industry. The chapters explore the impact of the rapid decline in pollinator populations on the natural world, on corporations, on the stock market and on accounting. The Business of Bees will be essential reading for those in academia, business and finance sectors and anyone invested in the future of our planet.

What [this book] does do is look at a much bigger picture of the industry of bees, and the roles that corporations and governments play in the issues of honey bee decline, and examines what the impact will be on consumers, companies, stock markets and global society in general. It addresses inputs from academics in accounting, science and humanities and practitioners in the finance industry. 

This is not a light-read how-to beekeeping book by any stretch of the imagination. However, if you are part of a corporation that has a vested interest in some level of pollination, have input at some level of government that benefits from this, or contribute to an academic level of research, the information in this book is a remarkable jumping off place. 

Bee Culture Magazine on 10 Oct 2016 Kim Flottum, Editor

Beekeeping can be not just a hobby, but a profession. What is happening to our bees not only affects the business of professional beekeepers but also many other enterprises as well. Many economic activities in turn have an ecological footprint on bees and pollinators. This book is an invaluable contribution to a more holistic thinking and integrated reporting about such impacts.

Walter Haefeker, President, European Professional Beekeepers Association

The loss of bees and other pollinators is one of the biggest challenges society faces.  People are rightly very concerned and frequently write to their elected representatives seeking solutions. This landmark book sets out the important roles that corporations and investors can play in helping to fix pollinator declines and protect future profits and societal well-being. It will be to everyone’s benefit if this important review catalyses more resolute action to halt and reverse the declines of bees and pollinators, as well as clearer corporate reporting on those actions

Matt Shardlow, Chief Executive, Buglife



Part I: The historical, scientific, cultural, philosophical and deep ecology context of bee decline

1. Bee decline: An integrated approach
Jill Atkins, University of Sheffield, UK
Barry Atkins, University of South Wales, UK

2. The historical, cultural and philosophical context of bee decline
Jill Atkins, University of Sheffield, UK
Barry Atkins, University of South Wales, UK

3. Bee bio-basics and conservation benefits: Essential pieces in the pollinator puzzle
Scott Longing and Samuel Discua, Texas Tech University, USA

4. From corporate social responsibility to accountability in the bumblebee trade: A Japanese perspective
Carol Reade, San José State University, USA
Koichi Goka, National Institute for Environmental Studies, Japan
Robbin Thorp, University of California, Davis, USA
Masahiro Mitsuhata, Arysta LifeScience Corporation, Japan
Marius Wasbauer, University of California, Davis, USA

5. Bombus terrestris: A personal deep ecology account
Jack Christian, Manchester Metropolitan University Business School, UK

Part II: Investors, bees and the stock market

6. The bee and the stock market: An overview of pollinator decline and its economic and corporate significance
Rick Stathers, Schroders, UK

7. Pollinators as a portfolio risk: Making the case for investor action
Abigail Herron, Aviva Investors, UK

8. Bees and pesticides: The Ontario controversy
Margaret Clappison and Aris Solomon, Athabasca University, Faculty of Business, Canada

9. Bee colony and food supply collapse: Could investors be the cavalry?
Raj Thamotheram and Olivia Stewart, Preventable Surprises, UK

Part III: Accounting for bees and bee decline

10. How to account for bees and pollinators? 
Joël Houdet, African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS), Kenya
Ruan Veldtman, South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)

11. Bee accounting and accountability in the UK
Jill Atkins, University of Sheffield, UK
Elisabetta Barone, Brunel University, UK
Warren Maroun, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
Barry Atkins, University of South Wales, UK

12. Accounting for bees: Evidence from disclosures by US listed companies 
Andrea M. Romi and Scott D. Longing, Texas Tech University, USA

13. No bees in their bonnets: On the absence of bee-reporting by South African listed companies 
Warren Maroun, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

14. Corporate bee accountability among Swedish companies
Kristina Jonäll, Gothenburg University, Sweden
Gunnar Rimmel, Jönköping University, Sweden

15. Bees and accountability in Germany: A multi-stakeholder perspective
Christoph F. Biehl, Henley Centre for Governance, Accountability and Responsible Investment, UK
Martina N. Macpherson, Sustainable Investment Partners Ltd, UK

16. An integrated approach to bee decline: Making a bee line for the future?
Jill Atkins, University of Sheffield, UK
Barry Atkins, University of South Wales, UK

About the authors

JILL ATKINS holds a Chair in Financial Management at Sheffield University Management School and is a visiting professor at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. BARRY ATKINS has a background in script-writing and editing for BBC Radio and TV.

You may also be interested in...