Sweden possesses 274 species of bees, 37 of which are bumblebees, but according to the Chalmers Institute of Technology, over a third are either declining or expected to decline, mostly because of changes in agricultural practices and urbanization are threatening their natural habitats.
In response to this unfortunate discovery, McDonald’s in Sweden has launched bee “hotels” embedded on the back of roadside billboards to provide safe habitats for bees to live in.
Begun at the same time as the outdoor-advertising giant JC Decaux, the campaign debuted this month on the backside of a north-facing billboard in Jarfalla, just 20 minutes from downtown Stockholm, since bees prefer hives that face south or southeast.
Holes were drilled into the words on front, which read, “Always open,” and six large permanent wooden bee hotels were mounted on the sign.
"Without pollination from bees, a third of the food we eat would be threatened," read a statement from McDonald's Sweden. They also added that at least 30 percent of the country’s wild bee population is at risk. "A big problem is that they lack places to live."
Now, all McDonald’s franchisees in Sweden "[will] have the opportunity to order their own bee hotel billboards and customize the messaging." They hope to add many more to the number of boards hotels in the spring of 2020.
You’ll find the process used to create these hotels on the English-Language promo video posted on the McDonald’s Sweden YouTube channel.
In addition to these most recent efforts, the company unveiled McHive, a fully functioning beehive inside the “world’s smallest McDonald’s,” on World Bee Day, May 20.
It was designed by set designer Nicklas Nilsson in collaboration with creative agency NORD NDDB and auctioned off for $10,000 at a charity fundraiser for Ronald McDonald House.
"Some of McDonald's restaurants in Sweden have beehives on their rooftops. The initiative started out locally but is now growing," NORD DDB wrote on YouTube.
"[More franchisees around the country are joining the cause and have also started replacing the grass around their restaurants with flowers and plants that are important for the wellbeing of wild bees."
Sweden’s McDonald’s has gotten behind various other environmentally minded initiatives in the country, too, like the charging stations for electronic automobiles in 55 McDonald’s locations across the country.
They plan to expand this to every drive-through in Sweden, and you’ll find iconic Golden Archers where you can charge your car in Mjölby and Munkedal.
"McDonald's has a strong history of being involved in the development of charging infrastructure along Sweden's roads," said McDonald's Sweden marketing director Christoffer Rönnblad in a statement.
"More and more people are choosing to travel by electric vehicles, and we want to be a part of this trend by inspiring good choices. Our sign is a new and fun take on a classic way of doing just that."