‘Business as Unusual’ | Class visit to APIVITA
“First we need to care about the Planet, then the People, and after about Profit”. APIVITA co-founder, Nikos Koutsianas, welcomed CYA’s Political Economy in a Historical Context: From Ancient Greece to Modern Greek Crises class with these words, while on a tour of their Industrial Park. APIVITA means “Life of Bees” and in their headquarters, strategically named “The Bee Hive” students learned from Koutsianas about the “APIVITA way of life.” This life revolves around “strong philosophy, values, social responsibility, heritage, and an innovative outlook.”
CYA Political Economy in a Historical Context class with APIVITA co-founder, Nikos Koutsianas
Koutsianas’ discussion about the future and the planet resonated with the students. Nikos and his wife Niki Koutsianas founded the natural beauty products company 40 years ago with the goal to use innovative methods to create products that are good for the planet and the people. Many of their products include natural ingredients produced in the beehives, such as propolis, honey, royal jelly, and beeswax. They also use plants found exclusively in Greece.
A group of students returning from their visit to the beehives
This innovative company is paving the way for other companies to be thoughtful of the planet, and not solely focused on the profit. Professor of the class, Eve Geroulis, added: “when there is passion in what you’re doing, good things follow.” Her statement can truly be understood by looking at the successes of APIVITA. By taking both what Koutsianas and Geroulis stated, students who spent the first 2 weeks of their class looking at ancient politics and economics, are starting to study the shift in thinking from ancient to modern. By examining what has changed, and what needs to change within future generations, the world will continue to be a planet for the people and not a planet endangered by the people.
3 students learning about bee products from APIVITA Social Responsibility Manager, Sotiris Pastras
Students testing products in the APIVITA Experience Store
Prior to their meeting with Nikos Koutsianas, students were able to visit the beehives, learn about the company’s founding and goals, and visit the shop to see and use the products learned about during the visit. If there’s one takeaway Koutsianas wanted the students to grasp, it was his hope that the young generation will “pollinate the world” with new business models that aren’t “profit, profit, profit” but instead are “planet, people, profit.”