Interview with Chief Sustainability Officer, John Rosol, about Free Range Beehives’ commitment to sustainability and doing business better.
Free Range Beehives is a Best for Colorado Company working to increase the environmental health of the Front Range through a buzzing concept. This company installs beehives on building roofs and maintains them for their customers.
Their goal is to make buildings in Colorado greener and stand out amongst their competition, support the dwindling honey bee populations and nourish Colorado’s environment by providing additional pollinators.
Best for Colorado: How long has your company been Best for Colorado?
John Rosol: Free Range Beehives has had the opportunity to be a part of The Alliance Center’s Best for Colorado program for the last three months.
B4CO: Tell us more about your company in general. What do you do? What is your mission? What makes you different?
JR: Free Range Beehives is a corporate beekeeping company dedicated to the repopulation of honeybees across the Colorado Front Range. Environmentally aware corporate citizens hire us to install and maintain honeybee hives on business properties. This delivers environmental benefits from the increased pollinator population and increases the biodiversity of surrounding communities. Companies benefit in several ways, most importantly by helping the environment, but also by qualifying for credits in various green programs such as WELL, LEED, Fitwell and other organizations.
We find that most businesses want to help but are often limited to making donations to nonprofits. This is a noble act but can be impersonal and most companies will never see the product of their contribution. When a business purchases a beehive system from Free Range Beehives, they will not only receive extensive education and materials about the bees, but they will also be able to see and interact with them on a regular basis. We believe Free Range Beehives offers the most innovative, engaging and fun sustainability project in the Front Range area.
B4CO: How did your company first hear about Best for Colorado, and why did you decide to join?
We were informed about Best for Colorado by the owner and founder of Summit Sustainable Goods, Carrie Martin-Haley, who I had the pleasure of working with at the nonprofit organization Institute for Environmental Solutions. Carrie’s explanation of the values and goals of Best for Colorado and their dedication to the environment, equity and good business practices aligned perfectly with what Free Range Beehives has set out to accomplish. We knew we had to be a part of the community that dedicated themselves to this mission.
B4CO: What is a challenging aspect of your work?
JR: Helping our clients understand that honeybees are safe is an ongoing challenge for us. When many people think of bees, they think about the chance of getting stung. This is not a strange reaction, but it is unwarranted. The likelihood a person getting stung by a honeybee is infinitesimally low as the bees are too busy working towards the betterment of their colony to worry about outside interference. It has been found, statistically, that one is equally as likely to get stung by a bee with hives on their property as they would be if they had no hives on their property. Unless a bee is specifically threatened or attacked it will not sting. The Free Range Beehives beekeepers don’t even use gloves for this very reason. The insects that are known for stinging are hornets and wasps, which have a similar coloration but are far more aggressive.
B4CO: What is an achievement your company is proud of?
JR: We have partnered with University of Colorado Denver and the Denver Urban Bee Project to perform research on the honey collected by our beehives in order to form a better understanding of their food sources. This will not only inform us of the overall health of the hives but also give us the best information on what pollinator plants should be spread across the Front Range, especially in metropolitan areas. We are already involved with the City of Denver’s Mayor’s Office to have beehives included in the voluntary Green Building Code. We hope to present projects increasing honeybee forage in the years ahead. Come spring we will also be partnering with Bee Informed’s Sentinel Project, which will supply the organization with critical data about honeybees in Colorado they may use to help the health of this species worldwide.
B4CO: Why would you recommend joining Best for Colorado to other companies?
JR: It opens up your company to a community of businesses and individuals equally dedicated to the betterment of Colorado’s social and environmental health. These are issues that require significant attention and effort to improve but are worth the commitment. Modern businesses recognize this and are putting the effort into make a difference, and Best for Colorado can help give direction and support for their efforts.
B4CO: Is there anything else you’d like to share?
JR: Beekeeping is a very localized practice, since the forage species and climate have a large effect on the bees. Free Range Beehives is a local Colorado family business. We hire locally and source all of our equipment and supplies from local beekeeping supply stores. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or check out www.freerangebeehives.com for more information or to get a quote!
Best for Colorado is a program of The Alliance Center. It allows Colorado companies to measure and improve their social and environmental impact, regardless of where they are on their corporate social responsibility journey. Best for Colorado offers programming and tools for all Colorado companies, including B Corps, to improve their practices and connect participating companies with local resources, education and support.