Burt’s Bees Releases Sustainability Impact, Goals Report

Burt’s Bees has unveiled its current sustainability initiatives — and its goals to reach by 2025.

In Burt’s Bees’ 2020 impact report, the brand detailed the progress it has made on the sustainability front since 2012. A few of the callouts include the average 50 percent recycled materials used across its packaging, the 99.6 percent natural origin average across the brand’s product portfolio, and its 100 percent recyclable packaging, either through its partnership with TerraCycle or via curbside. The brand has also donated $4.1 million in grants to “protect biodiversity,” according to the report, and as of January, is powered by renewable electricity.

Among the brand’s most ambitious plans for 2025 are reaching net-zero plastic. “We set those goals based on the most urgent global issues, where we’ve made progress, what we must be improving, and what our brand stands for. Where do all of those things intersect?” said Paula Alexander, director of sustainability at Burt’s Bees. “We’re going to take three steps to reach net-zero plastic: have the use of our virgin packaging materials reduced by one third by 2025, innovate in new ways to reduce plastic packaging, and start investing in waste collection or recycling credits.”

When describing the brand’s impact, Alexander clarified it also aims to ameliorate the lives of its supply chain workers. “There are new focus areas, and they’re about fostering circularity and enhancing livelihood,” Alexander said. “We share these global issues about climate or inequality and everything comes back to it.

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“Our goal is to enhance the lives of 50,000 people in our supply chain. That will mean doubling our impact,” Alexander continued. Burt’s Bees is initiating 20 investment programs for its global supply chain workers, such as ensuring access to clean water and safety. It will also commission third-party audits to monitor the well-being of its workers.

Among the projects Burt’s Bees has already completed are around its sourcing communities for beeswax in Tanzania and Vietnam, shea in Ghana and Burkina Faso, carmine in Peru, cupuaçu in Brazil, palm glycerin in Indonesia, mica in India and almond in the U.S. “We have a responsible sourcing that really comes with understanding and tracing our supply chain,” Alexander said. “It’s not just about numbers, it’s about people.”

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