According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Report 2011, honeybees pollinate more than 70 of the 100 crop species that make up 90% of the world’s food supply, which makes DENSO’s Bee Project a tremendous contribution to the surrounding environment, as honeybees are clearly essential to our daily lives. The project also involves educating participants to better understand the world around them and to revitalise the local community.
Over the years since the launch of the project, the number of bee colonies has increased from four to six, with the total number of bees is now as high as 200,000, and as the number of bees has grown, so has the project, which is now involved not only in beekeeping, but also collaboration with local shopping malls and environmental education for local elementary school children.
The project is currently led by Shigeo Hasegawa from the General Administration Division, who, by his own admission, originally had no idea about beekeeping but is now somewhat of an expert.
Hasegawa started to be involved in the project in 2021, but since 2022, he has been engaged with it on a full-scale basis. With the help of professional beekeepers and volunteers who had been involved in the project since its establishment, he gradually learned and deepened his understanding of bee ecology and beekeeping, being moved by how diligent the bees are.
DENSO originally participated in the Flower and Butterfly Patrol activity, which plants flowers, cleans up streets, and prevents crime, at the shopping mall in front of the Kariya Station, Kariya City, Aichi Prefecture, where DENSO’s Headquarters is located.
Talking with people in the mall brought about various ideas, which led to a jointly held cooking competition of dishes using sustainable honey collected at DENSO Headquarters. The company also opened a sustainable honey booth in a Marché event around the Kariya Station. These activities naturally increased its connections with the community.
By continuing to foster the project in collaboration with the community, Hasegawa is trying to register sustainable honey products as return gifts for the hometown tax donation programme (known as furusato nozei in Japanese) in another collaborative movement with Kariya City.
Furthermore, DENSO has just launched another effort to establish a new technique to identify a sign of swarming (a phenomenon in which bees make another colony or honeycomb) by applying DENSO technology to urban beekeeping.