Sustainable Herbs Program publishes free sustainable practices toolkit

SHP has released an online collection of practical resources and best practices for the herb and botanical industry to become more socially and environmentally responsible

The nonprofit Sustainable Herbs Program (SHP) has published the SHP Sustainability & Regenerative Practices Toolkit. The release was timed with the week observing the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.

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 has also created a video that explains the purpose and content of 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 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 organisation 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 recognise 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.

Other endeavours

In addition to the SHP Toolkit, periodic webinars organised 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 organisations.