BUSY BEES: In time for International Women’s Day on Monday, Guerlain is unveiling a program, created with UNESCO and fronted by Angelina Jolie, to empower women by caring for bees — an endangered species.
The entrepreneurship program, Women for Bees, will start on June 21 and last for 30 days at the French Observatory of Apidology in France’s Provence region. There, women will be given theoretical and practical training for beekeeping.
During the first two years of the program, the UNESCO Biosphere Reserves to be involved include Sila in Italy; the Central Balkans, in Bulgaria, and Kafa in Ethiopia. The aim by 2025 is to have 2,500 hives built in 25 UNESCO Biosphere Reserves, the restocking of 125 million bees and 50 female beekeepers trained.
In rural areas, beekeeping can generate income for people who do not own farms and improve food security in places where agricultural production is minimal.
“When women gain skills and knowledge, their instinct is to help raise others. I’m excited to meet the women taking part in this program from all over the world,” Jolie said in a statement. “I look forward to getting to know them and learning about their culture and environment, and the role bees play in that. I hope the training will strengthen their independence, their livelihoods and their communities.”
Jolie, who is the face of the Mon Guerlain scent, had its most recent campaign shot in Cambodia, where the actress, filmmaker and activist runs a foundation to support the local community and ecology. Among the first women to be trained in beekeeping come from there.
“Guerlain have a genuine commitment to the environment, sustainable development and the communities they work with,” said Jolie, who is the patron of this program. “That’s what brought us together, and Women for Bees is a wonderful extension of that.”
Guerlain is dedicated to empowering women and protecting bees — the symbol of the brand and a key ingredient in some of its products, such as Abeille Royale skin care.
“We are dedicated to making a concrete contribution to the protection of bees, one of nature’s most precious wonders, whilst having a positive social impact,” said Véronique Courtois, chief executive officer of Guerlain. “Each of us, each organization, has a role to play in making the world a better and more responsible place. Guerlain is keen to do its part, with humility and conviction.”
The protection of bees is an important part of Guerlain’s commitment to sustainability. During the past 10 years, the LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton-owned house has been involved in six partnerships to preserve bees.