The environmental movement, in addition to the agricultural industry, has been extremely concerned by the decline of bee populations within the US in recent years. According to the US Department of Agriculture beekeepers usually lose about five percent of their bees annually, however, in the last eight years they have been losing 30 percent on average. This decline has major implications on our eco-system, which relies heavily on bee pollination for plant growth, as well as on our food system, due to the fact that bees pollinate an estimated 75 percent of food crops in our nation. While there are a number of environmental agencies and initiatives that have been working to help increase bee populations for some time now, such as the ones discussed in Food Tank, businesses and corporations are now seizing the opportunity to support this movement as well.
General Mills, one of the largest food corporations in the US, is among these corporations that has discovered the benefits of supporting the bee effort. The corporation has received much criticism in the past for its use of pesticides and insecticides to produce ingredients for its products. GMOInside.com, a nationwide campaign, even stated that they, “have sent General Mills multiple letters addressing pesticides,” and that “all of the responses [they] have received from the company ignore this issue, yet the company recognizes the problem.” This kind of criticism, which receives a lot of attention nowadays with today’s emphasis on sustainable practices and healthy eating, can be detrimental to a organization’s image. However, General Mills has realized that they can use the save the bees environmental movement to better their image and draw attention away from the negative publicity they have been receiving. To do this the corporation has launched a “Bee-Friendlier Campaign,” which according to Bring me the News includes a video and advertisements for the company to use to promote the campaign. Although this campaign is highly ironic, since one of the suspected causes for the decline in bee populations is pesticides, and the company is a food company that relies on the pollination of bees yet they may be contributing to killing them, the campaign is also extremely smart. The company can now promote its environmentally friendly efforts towards helping to save the bees, without necessarily having to address their issue of pesticide use. The campaign, which will be promoted across many platforms, will help to improve General Mills’ overall image and allow them to look like a trendy, eco-friendly company working to support the environmental movement, even if this isn’t necessarily the case.