Bye-bye, Burt's Bees

It’s a sad time here in Durham. The Clorox Company has announced they will purchase Durham’s own Burt’s Bees for a cool $925 million in cash. According to Clorox executive Donald R. Knauss, “The Burt's Bees brand is well-anchored in sustainability and health and wellness, and we believe it will benefit from natural and "green" tailwinds… It's in an economically attractive category with a margin structure that will be highly accretive to Clorox."

It appears that Clorox is purchasing Burt’s in an effort to take on a more green hue in the market and try to increase profits to offset their declining margin in the cleaning biz – the price of commodities has made production costs rise significantly which in the end contributes to less change in Clorox’s pocket. They feel that purchasing Burt’s will give them a stronger brand name in the beauty market and help fill their profit gaps.

Now here’s the problem Clorox – many of us out there bought Burt’s Bees because of their environmentally friendly production methods and lack of animal testing. I felt comfortable buying their products because I knew they weren’t dropped into the eyes of bunnies or doused over the skin of mice. I felt morally and ethically comfortable with paying a bit more for Burt’s products because there was no hidden corporate conglomerate hiding behind the brand name torturing and killing animals in the name of product testing. But here we are, November 2007, and Burt’s Bees will now be backed by Clorox.

Clorox is regularly listed on advocacy websites as one of the worst offenders for animal testing in the business. Between petroleum, chemical, rubber, and plastic manufacturing, these folks are dealing with tons of toxins, and they are testing them on thousands of animals every year – maybe even millions. Do we really need to drop chemicals in the eyes of rabbits so it will take me 30 seconds less to clean my bathtub?

It angers me that big corporate conglomerates want to become known as “green” to merely get a chunk of the market, not because they actually want to or are “green.” Clorox, do you really think that by purchasing Burt’s Bees that those who are informed about environmental issues are all of a sudden going to say, “Wow! Clorox is so environmentally friendly!” NO. You know what many will say? (including myself) Why on earth will I pay $4 for a tube of chap stick claiming to be safe to the earth and all who inhabit it when I know their parent company routinely kills animals just to make a buck? For goodness sake, this merger is like sewing fake fur onto calf leather. The “natural” Burt’s Bees is now soaked in the blood of its parent company’s regular behavior of needless injury and slaughter.

Burt’s – you guys were awesome, and you had a great run while it lasted. I don’t know why you decided to sell – maybe you’re tired, maybe Clorox gave a really good sales pitch – but I will be sad to see you go. Because for me, Burt’s is now a product on my “do not buy” list. It saddens me to see a local business go big time corporate, and it also saddens me that the Clorox folks actually think I am stupid enough to continue my brand loyalty knowing that the mission of Burt’s is completely undermined by the practices of their parent company.

I’m done with Burt’s, and man, that’s a shame.

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Anonymous said...

Man, that is a bummer! I'm sure there are a lot of people who feel the same way you do. It's kind of sad that they felt the need to sell. I'm sure you'll be able to find another cruelty-free business to give your money to, and lucky them!


Anonymous said...

Burt's Bees can suck it. I've been a bit skeptical of them after seeing the waste of paper and plastics at a promotional event a couple years ago. Not very earth friendly in my opinion. I'm just surprised that they think they can spin their choice to sell out to their consumers. We ain't stupid! No big loss.....I don't have time for personal care anyway.

This must be the day for hating the big, bad corporate greed machine.:)


Anonymous said...

Oh wow! I'll have to take them off my safe list too! What a shame.

Anonymous said...

wow I wonder where there Glycerin comes from, it better be non-animal source, or I'll get 5 people I know to drop Burts Bees.