In observance of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, the nonprofit organization Sustainable Herbs Program (SHP), which was founded by the American Botanical Council, announced the publication of the SHP Sustainability and Regenerative Practices Toolkit. The SHP toolkit is an online collection of resources and best practices for the herb and botanical industry that businesses of any size can use to become more socially and environmentally responsible.
The 14-section, 52-page SHP toolkit is part of the organization’s 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. These resources detail information on operating according to values and guidelines that embrace sustainability and regeneration in managing supply chains and value networks for botanical raw materials, extracts, and essential oils.
The toolkit was created by SHP to support their goal to inspire future increases in the quality of botanical ingredients and sustainable and ethical sourcing, and to enhance the quality of life of people working in the botanical ingredient industry. The SHP Toolkit also serves as a roadmap for companies to create greater overall transparency in telling 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 the 17-member SHP Advisory Group and the American Botanical Council, which 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 licve and on which we depend,” Ambrecht said. “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 nad build on our interedependence and practices that support biodicversity, social equity, and healthy soils? This toolkit provides resources to begin or continue this journey.”
The SHP Toolkit includes videos highlighting stories from the field and case studies to learn about topics through examples of best practices, discussion questions to reflect on those examples and how they apply to the unique challenges of each company, and action steps in each section to deepen the learning experience.
Additionally, SHP offers periodic webinars organized in a Q&A format with experts in botanical sustainability topics. 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,” ABC’s founding executive director, Mark Blumenthal, said. “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 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 financial donations from the public and from leading members of the international botanical industry, including raw material and extract suppliers, and herbal product manufacturers.