Is Burt’s Bees cruelty-free, vegan and sustainable?



Burt’s Bees is committed to sustainability and recently announced its intention to achieve a net-zero plastic footprint by 2025. While the brand is cruelty-free, Burt’s Bees is not vegan, as its heritage is based on its use of bee by-products.

Best known for its lip balm, Burt’s Bees natural line of personal care products has grown a cult following since its introduction in 1984. The brand can be found in grocery stores and drugstores across the United States, and its line includes everything from color cosmetics to body products.

In this article, we take a look at the brand’s cruelty-free, ethical and sustainable commitments as well as alternatives for vegans.

Treehugger Green Beauty Standards: Burt’s Beets

  • Cruelty-free: Certified leaping rabbit.
  • Vegan: No, Burt’s Bees uses ingredients of animal origin.
  • Ethics: Member of the Global Shea Alliance, Responsible Mica Initiative, Natural Resources Stewardship Council, Sedex and AIM-Progress, Burt’s Bees is committed to responsible sourcing.
  • Durable: CarbonNeutral certified and working to become a zero waste brand.

Certified cruelty-free

Burt’s Bees was Certified leaping rabbit since 2008, indicating the absence of animal experimentation throughout the production chain.

In 2020, the brand began selling directly to consumers in China through online e-commerce, which is exempt from Chinese animal testing regulations. The brand remains faithful to its cruelty free policy and strengthens its commitment to all of its packaging.

Is Burt’s Bees ethical?

Burt’s Bees is committed to sourcing all of its ingredients responsibly. In 2012, the brand launched its Community Sourced initiative, which is dedicated to forming mutually beneficial partnerships with communities in the regions where it sources its ingredients. In addition, the ingredients are evaluated against several key factors including scarcity, productive capacity and potential environmental impacts.

The brand is also a member of several global responsible sourcing organizations, including Sedex, AIM-Progress, Global Shea Alliance, and Natural Resources Stewardship Circle.

Burt’s Bees sources mica from the country and also helped establish the Responsible Mica Initiative with the aim of improving supply chain practices in India.

In his 2020 Impact Report, Burt’s Bees says more than 20,000 livelihoods have been affected by its responsible sourcing assessments and third-party audits, which ensure workers’ rights, health and safety, as well as fair labor standards and ethics Business.

In addition, through its 20 Global Supply Chain Investment Program projects, the brand strives to protect access to drinking water and supports the empowerment of women and children. This includes several projects that have helped raise over 14,000 women in West African shea communities through production training, while preparing for at least 600 women to become beekeepers.

Sustainability efforts

Jason Merritt / TERM / Getty Images

Since 2010, Burt’s Bees has kept its operational waste out of landfills, diverting it to compost, recycling centers or waste-to-energy facilities. In January 2021, the brand switched to 100% renewable electricity.

Burt’s Bees was Carbon Neutral certified since 2013 and made several climate action commitments in particular by committing to reduce its use of virgin packaging materials (plastic and fiber) by 50% by 2030, and a target of reaching 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging for all products.

Currently, the brand selects packaging with a high content of post-consumer recycled materials such as aluminum, steel, paper, glass and plastics which are more easily recyclable.

In January 2021, Burt’s Bees launched its Rescue lip balm, packaged in a bioresin tube made from recycled potatoes and post-consumer recycled content.

Additionally, through a partnership with TerraCyle, the brand collects hard-to-recycle items such as pumps and lip balm tubes, which can be mailed free of charge by requesting a shipping label on the website. Burt’s Bee.

Bees and beeswax

Almost half of the beeswax used in Burt’s Bees products is harvested wild from arboreal hives in Tanzania, where the company has developed long-term relationships with local beekeepers. Beekeepers hang the beehives in trees that are overgrown with bees and they use ropes to lower the beehives from the trees for harvesting.

When it comes to bees that the brand relies heavily on, Burt’s Bees has a foundation that focuses on restoring biodiversity. As part of the program, the company has planted more than 15 billion wildflower seeds next to farmland to support farmers and provide pollinators with much-needed nutritious fodder in the face of threats such as monoculture and pests.

Finally, as part of the Clorox brand company, Burt’s Bees is committed to working with third parties to ensure its palm oil is of sustainable origin from operations that protect peatlands, respect human rights and do not contribute to deforestation.

Top 10 Recommended Products from Burt’s Bees

  • Beeswax lip balm
  • Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream
  • Hand balm
  • Almond and milk hand cream
  • Herbal Complexion Stick
  • Coconut Foot Cream
  • All-natural herbal insect repellant
  • Micellar makeup remover wipes
  • Make-up removing oil with coconut and argan oils
  • Intensive nighttime lip care

Why Burt’s Bees products cannot be considered vegan

The Burt’s Bees brand launched their Hero lip balm in 1991, which uses beeswax. The brand’s website itself States, “Without beeswax, there would be no Burt’s Bees.” It is used as an emulsifier to bind the ingredients and as an occlusive to prevent moisture from escaping. Other bee by-products used include honey and royal jelly. In addition, some items in the collection contain milk, carmine and lanolin.

While some of its products, such as its toothpaste, may be vegan, the brand is very clear that they will not be able to label any of their products as vegan or vegetarian, as they are typically made on shared production lines. with a risk of contamination. .

Burt’s vegan alternatives to bees

While Burt’s Bees is cruelty-free, ethical, and has strong sustainability initiatives, the brand’s bee-centric and animal-derived ingredients don’t make it suitable for vegans. Below are a few alternative brands to try that meet Treehugger’s green beauty standards.


Derma-E offers a range of products similar to Burt’s Bees while being completely vegan. The brand is Leaping Bunny certified, manufactures its products using wind energy to reduce its environmental impact, and sources conscientiously sourced ingredients.

River organics

River organics offers a variety of makeup and skin care options similar to Burt’s Bees and uses vegetable oils as the base for all products. The brand is Leaping Bunny certified, vegan and reduces its ecological footprint through its use of eco-friendly paper packaging, compostable labels and 100% recycled padded mail from Eco-Enclose.

Meow Meow Tweet

If you’re looking for an alternative to Burt’s Bees popular lip balm, try Meow Meow Tweet. The brand’s lip balm is housed in a compostable paper tube and features a blend of organic cocoa butter, coconut oil and olive oil that can be used on lips, hands and other areas to prevent dryness. The brand is Leaping Bunny certified and the ingredients come from strong or renewable plant populations.



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