November 10

Honey product guide launched


Ethical Consumer and Friends of the Earth today urge consumers to put the plight of the beleaguered honey bee on their shopping list by choosing ethically produced honey.

In its latest product guide to honey, Ethical Consumer recommends that shoppers only buy honey from small-scale, local honey producers in the UK and organic and Fairtrade honey from the Fairtrade co-op, Equal Exchange.

Ethical Consumer co-editor Tim Hunt said:

“The main finding from our honey product guide is that consumers can have a positive impact on honey bee welfare through the brand of honey they buy. For the first time, shoppers can now make an informed choice about which honey brand to buy.”

“Consumers who buy these more ethical honeys are supporting production methods that have a direct positive impact on honey bee welfare and the wider environment both overseas and here in the UK.”

Europe’s pollinators are now facing a well-publicised crisis with up to 35% of honey bee colonies having been lost since 1985. In the UK we have 267 bee species including honeybees and they all perform a vital role in keeping our parks blooming and putting food on our plates. Many crops would be off the menu without cross pollination by a diverse range of bee species. This decimation of pollinators is being blamed on a lethal combination of habitat loss and the widespread use of controversial insecticides.

Paul de Zylva, Nature Campaigner at Friends of the Earth said:

“Our Bee Cause campaign has shown that there is huge public concern for bees and this has prompted some long overdue action from the Government in the form of its National Pollinator Strategy. While this strategy still has some way to go in supporting farmers to cut pesticide use and improve how land is used, we have seen people across the UK do what they can to help bees by planting the right kind of plants and stopping using pesticides in their gardens. The Honey Guide gives people further power to help save bees by choosing the most ethical honeys that support bees and their environment.”

The top scoring honey brand in the survey is Equal Exchange which is both Fairtrade and organic.

The bottom scoring honey brands in the survey include ASDA, Tesco and Sainsbury.

Ethical Consumer’s product guide to honey reveals that most commercially produced honey is reliant on treating honey bees akin to domesticated farmed animals resulting in them being overworked and exploited.

Friends of the Earth’s Bee Cause campaign has other actions that people can take to help bees and other pollinators. People can:

-    Create a ‘Bee & Bee’ – sign up for a free guide to creating a space to provide food, water and shelter for bees
–    Apply for a ‘Bee Saver Kit’ – donate to receive wildflower seeds to create a bee friendly habitat, a bee guide, a garden planner and more
–    Establish a ‘Bee World’  – Friends of the Earth will provide all the info you need to create a haven for bees in your community


Notes to editors

1. The Ethical Consumer product guide to honey can be seen here.

2. Friends of the Earth has led the campaign to save British bees and other pollinators since launching its Bee Cause campaign in April 2012, which convinced the Government to introduce a national Bee Action Plan (National Pollinator Strategy) by building a coalition of more than 200 MPs, businesses such as B&Q and the Co-operative, the Women’s Institute and over 70,000 individuals. More details here.

3. The National Pollinator Strategy (NPS) was published on Tuesday 4 November, more details here. And Friends of the Earth’s reaction here.

4. More information on how to:
–    Create a ‘Bee & Bee’
–    Apply for a ‘Bee Saver Kit’
–    Establish a ‘Bee World’
–    Make your garden more bee-friendly with B&Q’s tips for planting

5. Launched in 1989 Ethical Consumer is the UK’s leading ethical and environmental magazine. In each issue Ethical Consumer examines the ethical and environmental record of the companies behind everyday products and services from bread to banks. For more information visit the Ethical Consumer website.

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