Manukora is a locally owned Aotearoa New Zealand business working to leave a better world behind them whilst sourcing and producing ethical Mānuka honey.
Located in a small town at the foot of the Kaimai ranges in Aotearoa, Manukora focus on preserving and nurturing the natural world around them with environmental and ethical considerations at the forefront of their thinking and practices.
In celebration of Manukora’s B Corp certification, we sat down with Founder and CEO, Mike Bell, to find out how they’re breaking the honey industry norms with a focus on preserving the environment and empowering local beekeepers.
Tell us about Manukora and the honey you produce
We’re a Mānuka honey company that does things differently bringing new energy to one of Aotearoa’s greatest industries.
We ethically produce Mānuka honey, a super honey from Aotearoa New Zealand that contains over 2,000 different compounds, many of them unique to Mānuka honey. These compounds are what gives Mānuka its famed antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, which have been used for centuries to support a range of health and wellbeing needs, from boosting immunity and aiding digestive health, to healing wounds.
Why did Manukora want to become a B Corp?
We have always been in awe of businesses that achieve rapid growth by connecting with a large community of people through alignment on purpose and values.
We’re an ambitious bunch and nothing beats the idea of working on something you believe in and scaling it to the point where it can have a meaningful impact.
We noticed years ago that many of the businesses we looked up to were Certified B Corporations, and this commitment from the B Corp community to continuously strive for a better way of doing business drew us in straight away.
The Mānuka honey industry in Aotearoa New Zealand has been highly focused on producing large quantities of Mānuka honey. This often results in costs to environmental and bee health and directs profits away from local beekeepers and communities. Through our longstanding relationships with our master beekeepers in remote regions of Aotearoa New Zealand, we saw from the beginning that the industry had so much more to offer by delivering a 100 percent natural product, while supporting and nurturing relationships within local communities, all without costing the environment.
What makes Manukora unique as a business?
Unlike our industry peers, we’ve chosen not to own or run a beekeeping operation.
We pour our energy into empowering a network of amazing local beekeepers from all around Aotearoa New Zealand to do what they do best. They harness the full potential of the precious Mānuka resource in their region, and in doing so, we ensure that more of the economic benefit remains in these isolated communities.
We believe industrialised beekeeping is counterintuitive, so together with our master beekeepers, we are passionately developing an elevated standard that we call ‘The Art of Ethical Beekeeping.’ This method of beekeeping involves additional time and cost, but we have proven that it significantly increases bee health, yields, product quality and reduces negative environmental impacts.
What business practice do you want to see become the norm in your industry?
- We want to see an uplift in education around the use of pesticides and herbicides and the negative impact they have on local plant biodiversity, bee and human health. We’d love to see a dramatic reduction in their use across commercial businesses, but also by small operators.
- The ethical treatment of bees, whether it be for honey production or pollination, should be a bare minimum standard, so that we can continue to build a healthy bee population here in Aotearoa New Zealand and see a positive change in other countries across the globe.
- Seeking to generate value from resources we already have in our own backyard is not only rewarding but also has a larger positive impact on local communities, bringing employment, development and pathways for future generations from the regions to take.
Was there a B Corp that inspired you to certify, or one that you look to for inspiration?
It’s hard to choose just one!
Patagonia – who wouldn’t have these guys on their inspiration list! They’ve inspired a whole new wave of entrepreneurs to build the businesses that this world needs.
Allbirds – such an awesome brand in every regard. They prove that doing good and doing well can go hand in hand. We love to see a business with kiwi roots making waves on the world stage.
Sawmill Brewery – we obviously love their beer and resonate with creating a clean and delicious product. It’s super inspiring that a small business just up the road from us was certified as a B Corp three years ago!
Lastly, do you have any tips for aspiring B Corps about the certification process?
The BIA can feel daunting to begin with, but taking time to use the ‘learn more’ to understand the questions or see examples was really helpful. We suggest having more than one of you doing it – divide and conquer. We also jumped on the phone with another B Corp company to ask for tips and tricks on how to tackle the assessment.
In terms of getting the company involved and getting buy-in from other team members who you might need to gather documentation from, we found it was important to make sure everyone knew why the certification was important to us and understand the values and how they lined up with our own.