Jason Winter chats to us about the ways his business is saving bees, and how we can all be our own superheroes
How does Bumble Beer help bees?
Our packaging contains wildflower seeds to regrow habitats for bees and other insects. Since the second world war, 97 per cent of all wildflower habitats have been destroyed, and regrowing these wildflowers is vital to bee survival. We also work with sustainable producers for all our ingredients that use no bee harming pesticides, and we give 10 per cent of our profits to bee saving charities.
Why is this such an important issue?
Bees and pollinating insects are the building blocks of the environment and our food chain. It is important to deal with the small things, because this has a ripple effect on the eco system. If we can grow more wildflowers, more insects can thrive and birds have more food, and so on – we can do something so simple, but so effective. I think all businesses should be looking to do more – if we have 12 years to deal with climate change and its associated problems, then we all better get on with it.
What other problems do you work to combat?
We really want to help fight climate change and waste issues in order to make the industry more sustainable. For instance, spent grain (leftover malt in the brewing process) – I have plans to tackle that, by working with other breweries to resolve industry wide issues. I don’t feel like it’s good for a brand to be insular and only promote their own eco credentials – that does not help the issue in society. So, at Bumble Beer, we have our core business, but I am open to collaboration on designing new processes at every stage of the product life cycle. At some point, I want to re-evaluate the brewing process and look at how we can reduce water waste.
How do you maintain sustainability credentials throughout each stage of brewing and production?
We work with trusted suppliers and make sure every stakeholder involved is on board with what we’re trying to achieve. Muntons, our supplier, are great on sustainability and having similar aims. As we scale, it will be about having a scientific approach to brewing so that we are commercially viable, but also as efficient as possible with regards to waste and sourcing our ingredients.
Do producers and companies have a responsibility to the environment?
Absolutely. I had the idea for my business eight years ago at university – I was reading about the dramatic decline in bee populations, monocrop cultures and corporate attitudes from massive conglomerates that are doing harm, and I was shocked at how lazy and wasteful it all seemed.
I don’t believe it is just necessary to help save the planet, I actually think it’s pretty cool. Every few months we have a new superhero movie, well why don’t you be the superhero? Just get on with it, I don’t think it needs to be complicated or pretentious. There’s a reduction in the environment that is negatively impacting bees? Regrow that environment. Be conscious of your impact, be pragmatic and look how you can take a process or material that may be harmful and try and solve the problem.
If you could give an eco-message to other brands, what would it be?
Come and join the party. We want to work with other people – if I was precious about my packaging or about my brand being unique, then it would make wanting to have a positive impact pointless. We can only save the planet if all of us take responsibility. At Bumble Beer, we want to produce one million square metres of wildflower space back in the UK. I’m ambitious, but also transparent – we’d like other brands to partner with us and use the packaging, because it’s not just about business, it’s about changing our systems to tackle the new environmental and economic challenges that we have on the horizon.
Check out bumblebeer.net or @bumble_beer1 for more info