IBC Buzzing Over Latest Sustainability Project

Philadelphia region’s largest health insurance company, Independence Blue Cross (IBC), has teamed up with Alvéole — a Montreal based beekeeping company — on a substantial sustainability initiative. 30,000 honeybees are now living in an unoccupied space at the Independence Blue Cross corporate headquarters in Center City, Philadelphia at 19th and Market.

Earlier this month, the company installed two beehives on a balcony eight floors above the sidewalk. Within days the honeybees were creating their flight paths and pollinating their final fall blooms around the city.

“The alliance is a continuation of the company’s commitment to the environment and builds on its previous efforts to recycle thousands of pounds of construction materials and conserve energy in facilities.”

Juan A. Lopez Jr., IBC Senior Vice President of Finance Shared Services

During the building assessment process, Alvéole staff looked at various elements necessary for a successful hive installation including flight trajectory, safe clearance, distance from walls and windows, and the bees’ ability to forage for food within a two-mile range.

Lopez said, the collaboration provided IBC with a “unique opportunity to positively impact the surrounding ecosystem by repurposing unused space,” which would in turn foster:

  • A positive environmental impact of pollinators, like bees and their connection to human livelihood.
  • Employee education and engagement through interactive and team-oriented activities.
  • The production of local, artisan honey.

The space at IBC will provide a safe home throughout the year for the honeybees, which pollinate a third of the foods that humans consume. According to Alvéole, crops that depend entirely on pollinating species include almonds, apples, blueberries, broccoli, and avocados.

Information provided by Philadelphia Business Journal.