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Burt’s Bees CSR Report: Hits Waste Target, Misses on Electricity, Water

Cosmetics firm Burt’s Bees has met its company goal on waste to landfill for fiscal year 2009-10, but missed the year’s targets for electricity and non-product water use.

Burt’s Bees sent just over 35 tons of waste to landfill in the year to June 2010, easily beating its target of sending no more than 45 tons, according to the company’s annual corporate social responsibility (CSR) report.

Its output of “gray bin” waste – trash that cannot be recycled, composted or reused – fell by 21 percent compared to the 2009 fiscal year, the report said.

In April 2010, Burt’s Bees announced that its three US facilities were no longer sending waste to landfills.

But its consumption of nearly 5.5 MWh of electricity took Burt’s Bees past its 4.5 MWh goal, and the firm’s use of 1.5 million gallons of non-product water far exceeded its target of 900,000 gallons.

The company blamed its move to larger headquarters and re-introduction of certain manufacturing processes, and said that the resulting failure to meet goals prompted “a valuable lesson about forecasting for future years.”

Burt’s Bees also increased its staffing during the year, and found what it called a “steep learning curve” on its new water reclamation system.

In its last CSR update, the company said it had achieved a 21 percent decrease in energy use in fiscal year 2009, despite growing its business by about 4 percent.

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per sales dollar rose between calendar years 2008 and 2009. (The Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Leaders program requires this data to be reported on a calendar year basis.) Burt’s Bees has a goal of reducing GHG per sales dollar by 35% between 2006 and 2011.

Burt’s Bees’ parent company, Clorox, released its first corporate responsibility report in October. Clorox reported that removing plastic wrapping from Burt’s Bees lip balm and lip shimmer had saved more than 1,800 miles of shrink wrap.

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