Creating a Return on Conservation Index:

Hives for Heroes

Texas is a leader in many areas. We lead the nation in oil and gas production, the number of farms and ranches, and the number of Fortune 500 companies. Our state also boasts the highest population of veterans, with about 1.5 million veterans calling Texas home as of 2021. Nevertheless, the transition from military service to civilian life can pose a significant challenge for many service members.

Hives for Heroes (HfH) is a military veteran non-profit organization that promotes honey bee conservation and a healthy transition from service. The goal of Hives for Heroes is to facilitate healthy relationships with a purpose by fostering a lifetime hobby of beekeeping. In 2022, Hives for Heroes was selected to participate in Texan by Nature’s Conservation Wrangler accelerator program. Through our work with HfH, we determined that the organization would benefit from the quantification of the social, economic, and environmental benefits of the project.

This type of reporting is helpful for conservation organizations when approaching corporate partners and potential funders. When industry partners invest in conservation, they are looking for organizations to make the business case- Why should they invest? What are the economic and environmental impacts of their investment? How does their investment align with their sustainability strategy?

To authenticate the economic and environmental impact highlighted by the conservation index, TxN worked with third-party economic evaluation experts, EcoMetrics, ensuring values were unbiased and met current industry standards.

Lesson Learned: Corporate Campus Case Study

Through working with Hives for Heroes, we saw a unique opportunity to highlight the impact created through their corporate hive program. Hives for Heroes works with local beekeepers to place bee hives on corporate campuses, maintain them, and use them as educational demonstration sites for employees. The Hives for Heroes Return on Conservation Index was created as a case study example to illustrate the environmental, social, and economic impact this program has on the local community. During this partnership, our goal is to show the benefits and bring awareness to the opportunities offered in working with Hives for Heroes.

Local Conservation for Global ESG Strategy

According to a 2022 survey, 68% of global consumers were inclined to apply for and accept jobs from companies they considered environmentally sustainable. Of these 16,000 respondents in 10 countries, only 21% considered their current employers to be sustainable. To mitigate the risk of losing talent, companies can engage in local conservation projects like HfH’s corporate bee hive program. The multi-faceted benefits of investing in local conservation deliver more than just positive community relations. In the example of the HfH corporate apiary, 500 employees benefited from the stress relieving opportunities of dedicated outdoor space, 5 veterans that managed the hives benefitted from $100K in mental health services cost avoidance and local agriculture benefited at a value of $33K in pollination services provided by the bees.

Engaging in local conservation embodies the essence of effective corporate ESG strategies–collaborative efforts, natural resource conservation, social responsibility and long-term sustainability. The TxN Return on Conservation (ROC) Index makes reporting these investments simple by demonstrating the global sustainable development goals the investment addresses, the high-level economic and environmental impact of the project, and the reporting standards used to achieve these metrics. This level of data-backed reporting and multi-faceted approach to environmental sustainability can be a magnet for attracting and retaining talent.

Replication Opportunities

Additionally, conservation organizations can learn from Hives for Heroes’ decision to scope their alignment to the UN SDG goals in a way that highlights the benefit of participating in or supporting a specific program within the organization. When businesses invest in local conservation projects, the returns are realized by both people and the planet in the form of ecosystem services, jobs created, costs avoided, education received, and more.

If you’re interested in reviewing the Texan by Nature Return on Conservation Index for Hives for Heroes or other local conservation projects, click here.