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What's abuzz in Burt's Bees latest CSR report

The personal care products company, long focused on natural ingredients, resets environmental goals after missing some 2010 targets.
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Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor on

When Clorox paid $950 million for green personal care products maker Burt's Bees a couple of years back, the buzz was whether or not the famously environmentally conscious company could balance its corporate sustainability agenda with new profit pressures from its parent. The

The company's latest corporate social responsibility report -- which showcases its progress in a new interactive, paperless online format -- showcases a company determined to operate by the "Greater Good" business model, the idea that the company exists as a business in relationship to its community of partners, suppliers and customers. That said, the company did miss the water and electricity goals that it had set for 2010, which illustrates even the best-intentioned companies won't find this corporate sustainability stuff easy. The reason for that "miss" was pretty simple: the company moved to a bigger headquarters site and it pulled certain production activities back into its own manufacturing site, which whacked out its water and electricity usage goals for 2010.

Here's a recap of some of the company's 2010 environmental goals:

  • Use less than 900,000 gallons of non-product water
  • Consume less than 4.5 megawatt hours of electricity
  • Reduce waste to landfill to less than 45 tons

The company has reset its goals for 2011 based on its real-world experience this year. They are:

  • Use less than 1 million gallons of non-product water
  • Consume less than 5 megawatt hours of electricity; that translates into a target of 35 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions/sales dollar by 2011, compared with 2006
  • Reduce waste to 60 tons of waste-to-energy (you'll notice the shift here from landfill to making use of the waste)

One big thrust for the next two years will be a focus on sustainable packaging. By 2012, Burt's Bees has pledged to switch its paperboard cartons and displays over to materials that are either Forest Stewardship Council Chin of Custody certified and/or that are 100 percent recycled; the company is also transitioning over to various levels of recycled content in its plastic packaging.

Longterm, here's where Burt's Bees hopes to achieve by 2020:

  • Zero waste
  • 100 percent employee engagement
  • 100 percent natural products
  • 100 percent PCR/biodegradable packaging
  • 100 percent renewable energy/zero carbon
  • LEED certified buildings

Here's a recap of the Burt's Bees report, as told by the company's CEO, John Replogle:

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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