Three months after delivering an open letter to Boris Johnson, calling for urgent reversal of the Government’s decision to lift the ban on harmful neonicotinoids, the next move in Anabel Kindersley’s ongoing campaign to protect the UK’s bee population was a symposium held at Camley Street Natural Park, London.

The co-owner of Neal’s Yard Remedies (NYR), who is calling for a ban on all uses of toxic neonics in the UK, brought together likeminded British businesses and organizations at the educational symposium on 22 June, to rally further support for the campaign and ‘address the devastating effects of these harmful pesticides on our bee population’.

With a long-standing history of campaigning for declining bee species, NYR is no stranger to taking action for environmental causes: in 2011 the company launched its Save the Bees campaign, raising £250,000 for bee-friendly causes through sales of its Bee Lovely collection; in 2013 it delivered a petition to No. 10 Downing Street with 117,000 signatures; its most recent letter to Johnson in March had the support of 55 British organizations and brands; and over the past decade NYR has helped save 56 million bees through charity partnerships.

At the bee symposium environmental writer and broadcaster Lucy Siegel chaired a panel of experts – including Helen Browning OBE, chief executive of the Soil Association; Paul de Zylva, senior analyst at Friends of the Earth; and Professor Dave Goulson – who joined Kindersley (pictured) to ‘explore tangible ways of working with nature to protect our precious pollinators’. Through ‘stimulating discussion and insightful debate’ the panel called on those present to ‘leverage their collective power and reach to raise awareness and help incite change’.

“Without bees and other pollinators, we risk the production of honey and many other crops. Bee products are important inputs for many businesses, including the British beauty industry. We use these as key ingredients in skin and hair care, fragrances and perfumes. Protecting a small number of farmers from economic losses needs to be balanced against the true value of nature across all sectors of the economy, including this country’s £28 billion beauty industry,” commented Kindersley.

Without bees and other pollinators, we risk the production of honey and many other crops

A collaboration with Bella Freud was also announced as part of the campaign; the British designer has created an exclusive T-shirt in her signature style to support the cause and ‘pay homage to the humble yet vital bee’. All proceeds from sales of the classic white T-shirt will be donated to bee conservation and nature-friendly farming initiatives.