On the eve of Earth Day’s 50th anniversary, the nonprofit Sustainable Herbs Program (SHP) published The SHP Sustainability & Regenerative Practices Toolkit.1 The SHP Toolkit is an online collection of practical resources and best practices for the 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.
Available for free on SHP’s website, the 14-section, 52-page toolkit is part of an extensive set of educational videos, articles, newsletters, and blog posts offered by SHP to educate and inspire members of the global medicinal plant industry and community. This valuable collection of resources provides information about how to operate according to values and guidelines that enhance sustainability and regeneration for supply chains and value networks of botanical raw materials, extracts, and essential oils.
The toolkit supports SHP’s goals to improve the quality of botanical ingredients, their 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 about how herbal teas, dietary supplements, cosmetics, and other botanical products reach consumers.
The SHP Toolkit was created by SHP Director Ann Armbrecht, PhD, with input and assistance from the 17-member SHP Advisory Group and the American Botanical Council (ABC).
“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:
- Videos that highlight stories from the field and case studies about various topics that educate through meaningful examples of best practices.
- Discussion questions that reflect on those examples and how they can apply to the unique circumstances of individual companies.
- Action items in each section to deepen the learning experience.
SHP also has organized periodic webinars on botanical sustainability topics, including “The Business Case for Sustainability,” “Creating a Culture of Sustainability and Regeneration,” 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 many 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.
Inaugural Underwriters for SHP include: Applied Food Sciences, Inc.; dōTERRA; Euromed; EuroPharma; Gaia Herbs; HumanN; Indena; MediHerb; MegaFood; Nature’s Way; New Chapter; Now Health Group, Inc.; Pharmatoka SAS; RFI Ingredients, LLC; Standard Process; Thorne Research, Inc.; the United Natural Products Alliance; Valensa International; and Verdure Sciences. Additional Underwriters and Supporters include: Banyan Botanicals; Biotropics Malaysia Berhad; Herb Pharm; Ixoreal Biomed Pvt. Ltd.; PLT Health Solutions, Inc.; Pukka Herbs; and VDF FutureCeuticals.
- The SHP Sustainability & Regenerative Practices Toolkit. Sustainable Herbs Program website. Available at: http://sustainableherbsproject.com/healthy-worlds/companies/. Accessed May 5, 2020.