World Bee Day might not interest most automakers, but Bentley has a different kind of bee buzzing under its bonnet nowadays. The automaker started a honey bee colony called the Excellence Center for Honey Production in 2019 at its Crewe campus, and it announced today it's expanding it. It will install seven new hives for 17 total, growing the colony to over 1 million.
The initiative, part of its Beyond100 and #GOTOZERO sustainability strategies, started with just 120,000 indigenous honey bees in 2019. By the end of 2022, the colony had grown to over 600,000, producing an estimated 1,000 jars of honey. Since its inception, the bees have made 2,000 jars of the stuff, and Bentley hopes that 2023's harvest will surpass last year's.
Gallery: Bentley’s Honey Bee Production
Andrew Robertson, Bentley's Head of Site and Facilities Planning, said the programme "can further enhance our positive impact on the local environment as part of a wider sustainability programme. This is to ensure Bentley remains a significant contributor to local biodiversity and adds to our ambition to be leaders in sustainable luxury mobility."
The bees at the facility also pollinate the on-site flora, with the company focusing on biodiversity. The push into zero-emission vehicles has automakers taking an increased interest in limiting the industry's impact on the local environment. Bentley has also planted over 100 trees, 5,000 daffodil bulbs, and other flora and fauna on the factory grounds and installed birdhouses and hedgehog boxes.
Along with record honey production, 2023 will be the year Bentley celebrates half a decade of carbon neutrality at its Crewe factory, and its sustainability efforts are still going strong. It has other things planned to improve the facility's environmental impact.
2022 was also the year Bentley saw more than record honey production. The company also set a record selling cars, which truly butters the company's bread, moving 15,174 models. A whopping 42 percent were the Bentayga, with the Continental GT and GT Convertible accounting for 30 percent. The US was the company's most vital region, with 28 percent of the company's global sales.