The toolkit aims to increase the quality of botanical ingredients and sustainable and ethical sourcing methods as well as enhance the quality of life of people working in botanical ingredient value networks.

April 29, 2020

3 Min Read

During the week observing the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, the nonprofit Sustainable Herbs Program (SHP) announces the publication of The SHP Sustainability and Regenerative Practices Toolkit

The SHP Toolkit is an online collection of practical resources and best practices for the herb and botanical industry that businesses of any size can use to become more socially and environmentally responsible. SHP also created a video that explains the purpose and content of the new toolkit. 

The 14-section, 52-page SHP Toolkit is part of an extensive set of educational videos, articles, newsletters and blog posts offered for free by SHP to educate and inspire members of the global medicinal plant industry and community. This valuable collection of resources details information on operating according to values and guidelines that enhance sustainability and regeneration in managing supply chains and value networks for botanical raw materials, extracts and essential oils. 

The toolkit supports SHP’s goals to inspire further increases in the quality of botanical ingredients and sustainable and ethical sourcing, and to enhance the quality of life of people working in botanical ingredient value networks. The SHP Toolkit also serves as a roadmap for companies to create greater overall transparency in telling the story of how herbal teas, dietary supplements, natural cosmetics and other botanical products reach consumers. 

The SHP Toolkit was written by SHP Director Ann Armbrecht, PhD, with input and assistance from experts from the 17-member SHP Advisory Group and the American Botanical Council (ABC), the nonprofit science organization that manages and funds SHP. 

“Our own health and wellness are inextricably connected with the health and wellness of the human and ecological systems in which we live and on which we depend,” said Armbrecht.

“Many of us as individuals and as companies are asking how we want to emerge from the current pandemic crisis. How can we put in place systems that recognize and build on our interdependence and practices that support biodiversity, social equity, and healthy soils? This toolkit provides resources to begin or continue this journey.” 

The SHP Toolkit includes the following:

  • Videos highlighting stories from the field and case studies to learn about various topics through meaningful examples of best practices.  

  • Discussion questions to reflect on those examples and how they apply to the unique challenges of each company.   

  • Action steps in each section to deepen the learning experience. 

In addition to the SHP Toolkit, periodic webinars organized in a question-and-answer format with experts in botanical sustainability topics (e.g., The Business Case for Sustainability, Creating a Culture of Sustainability and Regeneration, Sourcing Raw Materials and Relationships through the Supply Network, among others). These webinars will feature conversations with medicinal plant sustainability experts from various areas of the medicinal plant industry and nonprofit environmental, conservation and research organizations. 

“The SHP Toolkit is a significant contribution to the movement toward sustainable and regenerative practices in the global herb and medicinal plant industry,” said Mark Blumenthal, ABC founder and executive director. “While many people in herb companies, and elsewhere, are interested in becoming more sustainable, they are often unsure where and how to begin. This toolkit provides them with more than enough resources to do so.” 

The SHP Toolkit and all other SHP educational resources, including more than 35 videos, are available for free on the SHP website. SHP is supported by content contributions from medicinal plant experts and generous financial donations from the public and leading members of the international botanical industry, including raw material and extract suppliers and manufacturers of herbal products. 

Source: Sustainable Herbs Program

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