Comvita is in the business of honey. While that might bring to mind the ubiquitous sticky goodness we spread on our toast, the importance of breakfast aside, Comvita have taken it upon themselves to be the caretakers of a cause with a touch more gravitas than what goes with our morning coffee.
New Zealand’s biggest Mānuka honey producer is the custodian of a vital connection to nature, the survival of which has never been more in the balance with one-third of the world’s food production depending on that greatest of pollinating machines, the bee – a world without which, would be equal to a one without food diversity.
In working to create a world where bees, nature and people can flourish together in harmony, Comvita has chosen the upcoming traditional Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival of savouring mooncakes, gift-giving and reuniting with family, to celebrate and reaffirm their steadfast commitment to give sustainably back to the planet. This mission is core to Comvita’s ethos of working as a team for a better world, addressing climate change, restoring nature and supporting communities. “Quite simply, we believe we have a bigger role to play and a bigger opportunity to evidence the type of business we aim to be,” says Chief Executive David Banfield. “We are blessed to work with bees and nature, and we want to invite people to join our movement of creating a world where bees, people and nature thrive in harmony.”
Comvita’s ambitious Harmony Plan, which is underscored by three principles – that of treading lightly, embracing the science of nature and strengthening what Comvita calls its “global hive” – includes the target of being carbon neutral by 2025 and net carbon positive by 2030. Central to this, Comvita has kept to their word, having over the last decade committed to planting a tree for every pot of Mānuka honey sold. This has amounted to a phenomenal ten million Mānuka and other trees being planted across some of New Zealand’s most fragile environments with a view to curbing global temperatures by 1.5 degrees. Their sustained efforts have also led to native fauna such Blue Ducks, Kiwi birds, Tuis and other species being recovered and moved to COMVITA forest.
In the wake of Comvita honouring their Kaitiakitanga values in working to improve their balance with nature with ecosystem regeneration, this has culminated in the unique opportunity for the honey giant to offer key opinion leaders from all walks of life who share similar core values, to plant the ten-million-and-first Mānuka tree with them through the offering of a modern twist on the traditional moon cake made with their honey.
More than just a set of four moreish Mānuka-infused mooncakes for the taste buds, the special gift box packaging itself comprises everything you need to plant your own Mānuka tree at home, including detailed instructions on sprouting and caring for your plant. You simply start by watering the planting layer, out of which the Mānuka saplings will emerge after a dozen days, ready for wholly transplanting in their completely biodegradable box.
But their pursuit to balance commercial success with positive social and environmental impacts, and their drive for sustainability and circularity doesn’t end there.
“Not every company gets to plant ten million trees as part of their business, and we recognise this offsets a lot of our emissions,” says Banfield. “But we’ve driven sustainable thinking into all our processes now, and we would love to help other companies improve their balance with nature.”
Comvita might well be the largest Mānuka honey producer in the country, and now also New Zealand’s largest private sector manager of native forests by tree count thanks to their pledge to bring nature back in a big way by planting the 10 million and 1st Manuka tree, but in holding themselves to play this greater role – in their words: “Just as the Mānuka tree is the land’s natural kaitiaki (guardian), so are we” – we’d say they are, first and foremost, in the business of… harmony.
Find out more about Comvita’s Harmony Plan by visiting their website.