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Goldman Sachs sweetens the pot with its own highrise honeybees

Goldman Sachs has joined the growing number of property owners to add beekeeping to their environmental conservation efforts.

The asset management giant with a $2 trillion portfolio is partnering with Alvéole, an organization that helps businesses, schools, and organizations bring bees to buildings.

Together, they are rolling out a nationwide rooftop beekeeping initiative at select office, industrial, and multifamily investments across the US.  The program launched at 30 locations this month and is poised to become a standard offering at eligible Goldman Sachs real estate investments. 

The partnership, the first of its kind with an institutional real estate investor, will help Alvéole – whose clients already include Nuveen, BentallGreenOak and Ivanhoe Cambridge – grow and scale. 

“We are delighted to partner with Alvéole to bring beekeeping and ecological awareness to many of our investment properties in the US,” said Joe Sumberg, a managing director in the Real Estate business within Goldman Sachs Asset Management. 

“We recognize the great importance of honeybees as crop pollinators and their agricultural contributions that allow communities to thrive, as they are responsible for one in every three bites of food we consume, the clean air we breathe, and the vistas we see.  Our vast geographical footprint allows us the opportunity to do our part in fostering sustainable cities and food systems.  We are eager to continue forging strong connections to nature in partnership with Alvéole in the cities where our tenants work and live.”

In the past year, there has been unprecedented interest in preserving ecosystems and sustaining biodiversity, including the G7 launch of the Taskforce for Nature-Related Financial Disclosures.

Goldman Sachs’ program was timed to celebrate National Honeybee Day on August 21, an event designed to raise awareness of the benefits and environmental needs of honeybees.

The practice has been growing in popularity in New York with the Durst Organization among the early pioneers of commercial urban beekeeping. At One Bryant Park in Manhattan, the company started with just two beehives in 2013 and now has 10 boxes on a seventh-floor rooftop, with around 12,000 bees in each box at the beginning of the season and 50,000 by the end.

Durst uses the honey in its building cafeterias and presents it as gifts to tenants and clients. There is even a 24/7 bee cam showing the bees busy all day.

According to Alveole the installation of an urban beehive is fairly simple and hive can be set up on most unused outdoor office building space such as on a rooftop, balcony, or courtyard. Since its inception in 2013, Alveole is now active in 14 major U.S. cities

Its program with Goldman Sachs will engage tenants to participate through educational virtual workshops, virtual seminars, and honey giveaways. Through online platforms, tenants of each location can track the beehives’ health and productivity over the course of the season, as well as take part by meeting the bees, viewing the honey extraction process, and enjoying jars of the rooftop honey at the end of the season.  The initiative is slated to produce 1,000 pounds of local and short circuit produced honey, with more than 2,000 participants in workshops, 840 square miles pollinated by their hives, and 1.5 million bees, to start.

Integrating real asset investments with efforts to protect and preserve keystone species like honeybees represents an important step forward in scaling environmental conservation and aligns with Goldman Sachs’ sustainable growth strategy and $750 billion commitment to sustainable finance, which in 2019 identified ecosystem services and biodiversity stewardship as one of the nine investment themes critical for a sustainable future.

“It is with great excitement that we bring Alvéole’s rooftop beekeeping program to Goldman Sachs,” said Alvéole president & CEO, Alexandre Mclean.

“Through our turnkey educational program, it’s our goal to make people fall in love with bees, connect them with nature, and build long-lasting sustainability programs with communities in cities around the globe.  Urban beekeeping has become a highly coveted amenity that can positively contribute to businesses and schools, as well as present opportunities to provide engagement and a constructive team-building experience.  We are looking forward to a long, meaningful, and mutually productive partnership with Goldman Sachs and continuing to expand our program.”

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