Comvita, New Zealand’s largest producer of UMF Mānuka honey, has announced a new multi-year partnership with wildlife charity Saving the Wild, which will see the two organisations work together on global projects to help protect ‘nature in need’.
As the major Sponsorship Partner of Saving the Wild, Comvita will be acting upon its founding values, with the mission to connect people to nature at the heart of the partnership.
Established in 1974, Comvita and came to life in a counter-culture movement built on respect for nature and humankind. Saving the Wild was founded in 2014 by Jamie Joseph, with a mission to protect endangered African wildlife and ultimately the priceless biodiversity of the planet.
The announcement cements a partnership that was formed out of needing to help nature in crisis; firstly in 2018 in Africa when Saving the Wild used Comvita’s Mānuka honey to treat rhinos and elephants wounded by poachers; and again in 2020 when Saving the Wild founder Jamie Joseph took Comvita’s Mānuka Honey Wound Gel to the frontline of the Australian bushfires, to help treat koalas and other native wildlife burned or injured fleeing the fires.
David Banfield, Chief Executive Officer of Comvita, described the powerful impact of seeing Comvita products used to help wounded animals.
“When we saw the Saving the Wild team using our (Comvita) topical Mānuka honey products to make a difference to the survival of creatures that are crucial to the planet, we knew we wanted to do more,” said Banfield. "By forming this long-term partnership with Jamie and the Saving the Wild team, we can truly bring our shared values of caring for ‘nature in need’ to life in sustained and tangible ways; from product donation, like we saw with the koalas, through to training and resource-sharing with communities, globally.”
The first major project earmarked for the new partnership will see Jamie taking Comvita’s beekeeping expertise to Kenya, where local tribes will be trained in beekeeping and honey production. This program will support both environmental biodiversity and the local community, through social enterprise development.
Saving the Wild and Comvita believe the key to protecting biodiversity is protecting the planet’s bee population. Nearly 90% of the world’s flowering plant species depend entirely on the pollination of plants and bees play an important role in sustainable agriculture, biodiversity, climate change and a healthy environment.
“Bees are what connect our entire eco-system and they are so important to the biodiversity of our planet,” said Banfield. We don’t take for granted the responsibility we have as guardians of the land and nature. The more we can do to find holistic solutions to empower communities to embrace and nurture nature the better.”
Joseph described how this new major partnership will go beyond funding to connect nature and people in a harmonious way. “Saving the Wild have been working with the Big Life Foundation on a tented camp project, positioned between Kimana Sanctuary and Amboseli National Park, in Kenya. Bees are an essential part of the eco-system but more knowledge of how they increase, and support biodiversity will empower the people,” said Joseph.
“We will work with Comvita to bring Beekeeping skills to Kenya and provide training for local communities to increase jobs and ultimately support the local economy. What’s more, elephants fear bees, so with managed bees in the area, elephants are less likely to encroach on the communities, ultimately reducing the potential for trampling or danger to the animals. It is circular in this way: to save the wild, we must first save the people."
Under the three-year funding agreement Jamie and the Saving the Wild will work alongside their global networks to raise awareness of wildlife endangerment and environmental conservation and deliver on-the-ground solutions to help protect our precious biodiversity.
“It’s never been more important to do our bit to help ‘people and nature in need," said Comvita Global Head of Marketing David Bathgate.
“Comvita is a global brand used in homes all over the world. We’re proud to be embarking on this new partnership with Saving the Wild. To celebrate the launch of the partnership we’re donating an additional 5% from all online sales, on top our sponsorship funds, to the partnership for the month of July.”