A close up of two bees getting pollen from a flower.

Sustainability: Nurturing our local environment.

17 Jan 2023 | 3 min

Here at Together, we’re passionate about preserving our natural environment and creating opportunities for local wildlife to thrive. Over the last year we’ve invested in a number of initiatives championed by our colleague-led Let’s Get Green team.

Four people stood together in bee suits holding jars of honey.

Our bees

In 2022, we welcomed 50,000 new colleagues to our offices in Cheadle – our working bees.

We trained 20 colleagues to expertly care for our bee community who are safely housed across two hives. One of those colleagues, Joshua Booth, says:

“Beekeeping has provided a wonderful new challenge, one which is incredibly worth-while and rewarding!

“Our bees spent their first few weeks getting used to their new surroundings. Then it was all wings on deck flying out to collect nectar, pollen and water; keeping their young warm; and protecting their queen.

“There were a few bumps along the road, especially when the bees decided to swarm, but this is a very natural part of beekeeping – it’s how the colony recognises that they are in a strong enough position to reproduce.

“During this process they created a new queen and the hive split in two. Once a hive swarms there are many options to consider. In our circumstance, we decided to reintegrate the swarm in the hive and provide them ample space to accommodate the volume of bees. This process took around six weeks to fully implement and confirm it was successful, which it was!

“We now have two very strong colonies which brings us to the end of the beekeeping season. They’ve made plenty of honey and before Christmas we settled them down for winter, tucking them in with a hot water bottle and a blanket! They’ve also been given a little treat, a big tub of sugar syrup to help feed them through the colder months so that they don’t need to leave the hive.

“Over the next six months they will be snoozing and boozing (on the syrup) and planning for spring when they will begin their journey again.”

Our garden

As well as our bee sanctuary, our colleagues also care for a wildflower garden with nectar-rich plants. This helps support dwindling populations of native pollinators (including bees and butterflies) which is particularly important in built up environments like business parks.

We’ve also planted a herb garden and use the leaves in our cooking for colleague’s lunches. As well as giving a much fresher taste, this means we only need to cut the plants when we need them; we don’t have to worry about basil and parsley getting dried out and brittle and they don’t go to waste.

A van with multiple trees.

Our forest

Our Let’s get Green team also continue to make a significant impact to our environment by planting trees in our community, and in 2021 we rolled out our Together Forest initiative.

We began by giving away free trees to schools, charities, nursing homes and hospices, and soon after followed by giving each of our colleagues a tree to plant in their own garden with ambitions to grow our Together Forest across the North West.

As we all know, trees are vital for our planet to thrive; they help clean the air we breathe, filter the water we drink, and provide habitats to hundreds of species of insect, fungi, moss, mammals, and plants. So far, our Together Forest stands at 629 trees.


Our volunteers

Using their two dedicated volunteering days which colleagues receive every year, we’ve also been caring for our local National Trust park so more people in our community can benefit from the great outdoors.

One of our colleague volunteers Holly Woodside-Coventry says:

“Several teams of colleagues have tackled path building and erosion control at the beautiful National Trust site around Alderly Edge.

“It involved a lot of teamwork and trying out new things as led by the rangers. To be honest, it isn't the easiest of volunteer days as it's physically demanding! But it's so worth it.

“It's amazing what you can achieve in such a short space of time, and the paths and gullies will be in place for many years to come – preserving a natural beauty spot and enabling future visitors to enjoy!"

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