At BeeConscious we believe that all businesses should be run as social enterprises – as an integral part of the community we should be putting back in rather than just taking out!
We’ve only been operating since 2016 but we hope we’ve made a real impact on the lives of many of the residents of Ban Pong, the village we’re based in, in Northern Thailand.
Employees and community first
Firstly we believe in running a business that is supportive of all our employees, whether that’s by ensuring all government employment legislation is adhered to, and improved upon (sadly not always the case in Thailand, where many labour laws are ignored), or by providing family friendly working conditions and and a safe, happy work environment.
- Working hours are significantly shorter than the standard 48 hour working week, allowing parents to be there for their children before and after school.
- Minimum wage is met and exceeded by at least 27%, with annual pay increases for all staff
- Annual leave is given to all staff (in Thailand this is not legally required in the first year of employment)
- A child friendly space is provided during the school holidays so kids aren’t left unsupervised
- All staff are registered for social security with healthcare and other benefits
We believe that colleagues can also become friends, so we have 90 minutes of break time each working day (far more than the legal minimum) and arrange work outings and parties for all the staff a few times a year. In Thailand sanook (fun) is one of the guiding principles of daily life and we want to make sure BeeConscious is sanook too!
We offer other benefits to staff including a free monthly massage voucher and a free team lunch every Friday. Over the long school holidays we offer to send all primary school aged children of our staff to a two week summer camp where they will enjoy fun activities and learn about mindfulness, cooking and English.
We support our staff in other ways, for example by providing interest free loans for school fees or home improvements, and offer free accommodation, if required. Many of our staff don’t have a credit rating so are unable to get bank loans. This means they would otherwise have to rely on unscrupulous loan sharks, with astronomical interest rates.
We have also provided free English lessons and leadership training to our staff and encourage them to develop themselves in the workplace by learning new skills.
The environment before profit
BeeConscious is run in a manner that is self-sustaining, rather than purely being a profit making venture.
- By the 5th year of business we aim to give 20 % of profits to charities, foundations, other social enterprises, schools etc. So far this figure is at 12%.
- All other profits (80-90%) are reinvested into the business to help it grow and flourish, through new equipment, hiring new staff and expanding the business.
We also believe in caring for the environment and reducing single-use plastics, not just through the products we produce but also through community support and education. Our staff are able to take home all our products to use themselves, as well as to share with their friends and neighbours. We run sessions on the dangers of single-use plastics and how to avoid them in daily life, and our staff take this information and share it with their friends, neighbours and the wider community.
We run educational sessions at schools, teaching them about the dangers of single-use-plastics and how to make their own Wax Wraps. We’ve also participated in events organised by Greenpeace.
We also practise what we preach by ensuring that no plastic is used in our product, packaging or shipping. All our packing materials are plastic free and we ask all our re-sellers to avoid using plastic when selling our products.
We try to run a zero waste factory so all the fabric offcuts are collected and used to create patchwork products that we sell locally. Working with a group of local seamstresses we’ve created beautiful patchwork tote bags, produce bags and quilts.