Burt’s Bees vision for a circular economy: “a world where people are doing well by nature and for nature”

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images \ (Owl_photographer)
© Getty Images \ (Owl_photographer)

Related tags circular economy circular beauty Burt's Bees Clorox plastic waste

Today, the Clorox-owned personal care brand announced plans to be Net-Zero-Plastic-to-Nature by 2021 and shared updates on packaging improvements, new product launches, waste elimination initiatives, and smart partnerships—all part of the Burt’s Bees plan for circularity.

“The challenges of the pandemic have only heightened the importance of protecting nature as a resource, for the health of people and all life on Earth,” ​Burt's Bees Senior Director of Sustainability Paula Alexander, points out in today’s media release about the personal care brand’s latest sustainability goals.

“That's why we've chosen to focus on systemic changes across our supply chain while working toward a circular economy—to enable a more connected and stable relationship between people and nature,” ​she says.

Burt’s Bees on track to be a Net-Zero-Plastic-to-Nature beauty brand

The brand is using Plastic Waste Reduction Standards established by the non-profit climate action and sustainable development organization Verra​ as well as those outlined by The 3R Initiative​ (in partnership with EA, South Pole and Quantis).

And the plan is to take the transition one step at a time. According to today’s media release, Burt’s Bees is starting by making improvements to the brand’s value chain by “cutting use of virgin packaging materials (plastic and fiber) by 33% (and, by 2030, 50%) and striving toward 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging for all products” ​—benchmarks developed based on the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy Global Commitment.  

The brand is determined to have only waste-free products in its portfolio and is partnering with Loop to do so. A new Truly Glowing Cleanser (packaged in reusable glass) is set to launch next month and with the help of Loop’s delivery and return services.

Additionally Burt’s Bees is helping fund The Recycling Partnership​ and that organizations efforts to improve municipal recycling infrastructure across the States.  

There’s more than one way to build a sustainable beauty business   

Sharing the brand’s big-picture thinking, Alexander tells the press, “We envision a world where people are doing well by nature and for nature, without compromise. This is the legacy of our founders who prized nature for its restorative benefits and to this day help preserve wilderness for future generations.”

And the Net-Zero-Plastic-to-Nature goal is hardly the brand’s first sustainability or ethical development initiative. To date, Burt’s Bees leaders have visited almost half of the brand’s sources of bees’ wax, plant butters, and oils (and nearly all of the brand’s wax and butter sources, specifically).

Burt’s Bees is a founding member of the Global Shea Alliance, and proactive with other organizations such as the Responsible Mica Initiative.

As of last month, the brand operates entirely on renewable electricity. Burt’s Bees continues to invest in carbon emission offsets and is a signatory of We Are Still In​.

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