Bees are invaluable to the ecosystems in which they live. As of 2019, certain species of bees in Africa, Europe and North America are endangered. Beekeepers in The United States and Europe are regularly reporting hive losses of thirty percent or higher. These hive losses don’t only affect humans who like honey in their tea. Ninety percent of the three hundred sixty-nine thousand plant species in the world need bees’ pollination to reproduce. Many animals whose presence keeps an ecosystem healthy feed on nuts, berries, seeds, and fruits produced by plants that rely on insect pollination. One bee can pollinate fifty to one thousand flowers in one trip. Bees’ work sustains many species. The climate crisis caused by humans has made one species of U.S. bee extinct. Now Swedish entrepreneurs for the fast food chain that feeds sixty-eight million people daily have decided to seek new clientele: bees.
From the outside, McHive looks like a McDonald’s restaurant. It has a drive through with windows, al fresco tables inside, and a golden arches logo on the roof. What distinguishes it from other McDonald’s restaurants is its size. McHive is tiny, because it is designed to feel welcoming to bees. The wooden frames inside are ideal for creating honeycombs to store honey and pollen. All of the restaurant’s features were designed to maximize freedom of movement for any bees who visit.
In order to commemorate World Bee Day on May 20, 2019, the fast food chain commissioned Swedish set designer, Nicklaus Nilsson to design, McHive. Nilsson has worked on music videos for David Bowie and Lykke Li. This is the first time he has designed with environmental sustainability as his primary objective. The same cannot be said of the McDonald’s restaurants in Sweeden, many of which have put beehives on their roofs to demonstrate the chain’s commitment to environmental conservation. The franchise asked Nilsson to design a tiny McDonald’s to welcome what it called “thousands of important guests.”
NORD DDB, the Swedish creative agency behind the creation of McHive, says McDonald’s is joining a cultural trend. Many restaurant chains are showing a commitment to embracing practices that promote environmental sustainability. One example NORD DDB cites is that many franchises are replacing their outdoor greenery with flowers and plants necessary to wild bees. For NORD DDB, creating ad campaigns for humanist issues isn’t just a profitable business model. It’s a personal passion. Previously, the creative agency created an ad promoting the German car company, Volkswagon’s electric cars. NORD DDB also designed a Swedish McDonald’s that customers would experience from the perspective of a person with dyslexia for Dyslexia Day on October 4, 2018, in order to combat the sociocultural invisibility of dyslexia. While McDonald’s may address other social issues, Christoffer Ronnblad, the director of McDonald’s Sweden, says the franchise is “devoted” to promoting environmental sustainability. NORD DDB’s most recent collaboration with the McDonald’s corporation, McHive, will benefit humans as well as honey bees. All proceeds from the auction of, McHive will be donated to Ronald McDonald House charities.