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Leadership, organization and deciding
Bybi is a social enterprise and a non-profit association. Bybi (City Bee) works with social organisations, businesses and 3 million bees to improve the urban environment and unlock the social and economic benefits of sustainable beekeeping and honey production in Copenhagen. The Copenhagen Bybi association started in 2010. The idea from the start has been to create a sustainable urban honey industry, that can provide opportunities for long-term unemployed at bring city people in contact with nature. Bybi has full-time workers, a group of assistants who are typically formerly homeless or otherwise long-term unemployed and volunteers.
Bybi’s honey has been tested by the ministry of food and attracted no special remarks. They have about 20 sites across the city and they are mostly on the rooftops or yards of businesses. The bees collect nectar in gardens, parks and in wild pockets of nature and window-boxes. Urban honey from Copenhagen is clean, natural and delicious because of several reasons: first, bees are very sensitive to smell, so they avoid flowers that are dirty or polluted; secondly, bees that become polluted while they are out collecting nectar get rejected by the guard bees when they try to enter the hive. They will not tolerate pollutants in the hive; finally, trace heavy metals from the atmosphere or plants tend to be absorbed into the bee’s bodies rather than the honey. International research shows that even bees living in heavily polluted areas produce honey that is safe to eat.
Bybi uses no medicines, additives, pesticides or dangerous chemicals in the production of their honey and of course there are no agricultural pesticides in the city. The fact is that Denmark interprets the rules for organic honey very strictly: There can be no spraying within 3km of the bees and the bees have to be several kilometers from roads and development. This means that almost no Danish honey that is classified as organic – even though most Danish beekeepers follow organic principles.
INCOME GENERATING ACTIVITIES
Bybi is a social enterprise and a non-profit association, whose financing comes from around 25% arrangements with businesses, 60% from sales of honey and other products and 15% from project they run with schools, housing projects and social organisations. They do not receive any public financing for their running costs and 100% of their profits are used to support their organization and are reinvested in the association's social and environmental activities and projects such as their project ’My City My Bee’, which is about giving schoolchildren the opportunity to discover the city from the bees perspective. They teach them why humans and bees need eachother and how that can be turned into entrepreneurship.
Also, they organize trainings for unemployed and homeless people where they learn them basics about beekeping and producing honey. Another income that Bybi secures is from the collaboration that they have with Activity center Sundholm. Activity center Sundholm produces wood frames and wooden beehives which are used by Bybi. In that way they secure an income for the workshops and meaningfull activities for the organization. Finally, Bybi has developed a unique social responsibility partnership with a number of Denmark’s top businesses. Danish enterprises get the opportunity to adopt beehives, which are placed on their roofs or in their grounds.
Bybi has full-time workers, a group of assistants who are typically formerly homeless or otherwise long-term unemployed and volunteers. They have professional beekeepers, who supervise the honey production, a social worker and a full-time secretariat of two people. They have up to five assistants working in the factory, and a group of “honeypushers” who travel out to the city to sell the honey and other products. Also, they have Supervisory Board, which has big role in deciding and monitoring the work of the assistents and secretaries at Bybi.
They also run projects together with social organisations like the Danish Red Cross, where they train asylum seekers in honey production and beekeeping. Finally, they prioritise creating a social effect among their partners and suppliers. They work closely with the Activity Center at Sundholm, which produces frames and beehives used in the project.
Also, Bybi’s team believes that honey is something that they make together with all the people around Bybi. That’s why they organize events and project so all interested in their work can meet the bees, see the process of making the honey and help with ideas and more. They do both: private and public tours. Also, their project ’My City My Bee’ is about giving schoolchildren the opportunity to discover the city from the bees perspective. They teach them why humans and bees need eachother and how that can be turned into entrepreneurship.
Bybi works together with a Danish municipal center in Copenhagen for long term unemployed, homeless and people with alcohol and drug problems. The City Bee Association is a member of Kooperationen, The Danish Co-operative Employers' Organisation in Denmark.
All of these facts make Bybi great example for organization and leadership within a social enteprise.
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