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In celebration of its 135th anniversary Birks announces its support for the conservation of honey bees

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MONTREAL, May 8, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - Birks, Canada's leading jeweller since 1879 is unveiling today its new corporate social responsibility platform in celebration of its 135th anniversary. Based on its brand identity which ties to Canadian nature in all its forms, Birks is proud to announce its support of the conservation of honey bees to ensure a quality environment and the preservation of our eco-system. The jeweller is introducing bee-themed collections in addition to raising awareness for the issue of bee extinction through various initiatives, including a partnership with the Honey Bee Research Centre at the University of Guelph, Ontario.

In each of the last six years, one-third of honey bee colonies have been lost in North America and Europe. This is known as Colony Collapse, and if it continues our agricultural production will be decimated. Bees play a central role in sustaining almost 90% of wild plants, supporting biodiversity, whole ecosystems, and the critical balance of water, oxygen and carbon dioxide that supports all life.

"To mark the fact that we are turning 135 this year we decided to focus on celebrating the future," said Jean-Christophe Bédos, President and CEO of Birks Group Inc. "What better way to do that than by protecting nature's most representative symbol of life and continuity-the honey bee. This new platform is part of our commitment to social responsibility which also includes the sourcing of Canadian diamonds for all of our Birks diamond rings. Canadian diamonds can be traced back to their mine of origin, offering the guarantee that they are ethically-mined,'' he concluded.

"Bees pollinate the plants that provide one out of every three bites of food we eat," says Eva Hartling, Vice President, Marketing of Birks Group Inc. "We are thrilled to be paying homage to them through delightful new jewellery collections while also raising awareness about their disappearance-all in the hopes of helping find solutions to the issue," she concluded.

Birks has partnered with the Honey Bee Research Centre at the University of Guelph, North America's largest research and teaching apiary internationally renowned for its apiculture research, education and outreach. Birks is supporting researchers and graduate students who are identifying and understanding the various diseases, parasites and environmental factors impacting honey bee colonies. Ten percent of sales of a Birks-designed honeycomb-shaped silver pendant will be directly remitted to the HBRC to support their efforts in finding solutions to improve bee health, ensure food security and protect the environment.

Three delightful bee-inspired fine jewellery collections called Birks Bee Chic, Birks Bee Sweet and Birks Busy Bee with various designs made of yellow gold, silver, gemstones and diamonds are also being introduced by the jeweller in boutiques across Canada.

Finally, to mark its support of honey bee conservation with concrete environmental action, Birks will be unveiling an urban beekeeping installation and suspended green roof at its Square Phillips flagship boutique in Montreal with the support of Alvéole, a local group who promotes urban beekeeping, and Topia, an award-winning landscape design firm. Urban beekeeping has grown in popularity in large cities around the world as an efficient way of helping maintain a healthy bee population, highlighting the importance of pollinators in local food production and reconnecting citizens to the source of their food.

ABOUT BIRKS
Birks Group Inc. is a leading operator of 51 prestige jewellery stores in Canada and the United States. The Company operates 30 Maison Birks stores located in most of Canada's major urban areas, 18 Mayors stores in Florida and Georgia, two Brinkhaus stores in Calgary and Vancouver, and one Rolex store in Orlando. Founded in 1879, Birks has, over the years, become one of Canada's leading retailer, designer and manufacturer of high-end jewellery, watches as well as gifts. For more information, visit www.maisonbirks.com.

SOURCE Birks Group Inc.

Image with caption: "Birks is proud to support honey bee conservation. (CNW Group/Birks Group Inc.)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140508_C7353_PHOTO_EN_40113.jpg

Image with caption: "The new Birks Bee Chic is introduced today as the Canadian jeweller announces its support of the conservation of honey bees in the context of its 135th anniversary celebration. (CNW Group/Birks Group Inc.)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140508_C7353_PHOTO_EN_40123.jpg

Image with caption: "The new Birks Bee Chic is introduced today as the Canadian jeweller announces its support of the conservation of honey bees in the context of its 135th anniversary celebration. (CNW Group/Birks Group Inc.)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140508_C7353_PHOTO_EN_40119.jpg

Image with caption: "The new Birks Bee Chic is introduced today as the Canadian jeweller announces its support of the conservation of honey bees in the context of its 135th anniversary celebration. (CNW Group/Birks Group Inc.)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140508_C7353_PHOTO_EN_40117.jpg

Image with caption: "The new Birks Bee Chic is introduced today as the Canadian jeweller announces its support of the conservation of honey bees in the context of its 135th anniversary celebration. (CNW Group/Birks Group Inc.)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140508_C7353_PHOTO_EN_40115.jpg

Image with caption: "The new Birks Bee Chic is introduced today as the Canadian jeweller announces its support of the conservation of honey bees in the context of its 135th anniversary celebration. (CNW Group/Birks Group Inc.)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140508_C7353_PHOTO_EN_40121.jpg

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