Burt's Bees is a company that promotes itself as earth friendly and natural-based. It began in Maine in the 1980s, and at this time, it was more concerned with the quality of the products and the environment. However, in 2007, Clorox (yes, the bleach company) bought out Burt's Bees. So, now, their chapsticks, shampoos, lotions, and balms can be found in pharmacies and big name stores all over the United States. Though the two cofounders (Burt Shavitz and Roxanne Quimby) had good intentions, consumers should be careful now, in 2015, when buying Burt's Bees products.
Clorox is a member of the Grocery Manufacturer's Association, which is a group that partners with Monsanto to fight anti-labelling regarding GMOs. By now supporting Burt's Bees, you are therefore funding these types of campaigns. Partnering with Monsanto, a company that disrespects both small farmers and the environment, is a big indicator of the ethics of a business.
Then, there are the actual ingredients within the products. There are a lot of "natural" ingredients such as beeswax and sunflower seed oil, but this does not mean that these ingredients are organic. Burt's Bees is not certified organic. As listed on the Burt's Bees website, some products contain sodium borate, zinc oxide, and bentaine, all of which have been linked to negative health reactions.
Altogether, Burt's Bees started out with good intentions. They were a small-scale business that used natural (still not organic) products and respected the environment. Unfortunately, after they were bought out by Clorox, their goals became less quality-concerned and more money-oriented. So, instead of supporting such an aggressive, big business, try looking for products at your nearest co-op. Some reliable personal care brands are:
- W.S. Badger Company
- Avalon Organics