Burts Bees“Nature Becomes You” is more than just a marketing tagline for Burt’s Bees. The Durham, N.C.-based manufacturer of natural personal-care products — best known for its popular lip balm — sees sustainability as the starting point for its innovation process.

“We really do try to minimize the environmental impact from beginning to end in the ingredients we choose and how we manufacture and pretty much everything we do,” said Ken McLellan, business connection leader for Burt’s Bees, which was acquired by the Clorox Co. (IW 500/195) in November 2007.

“It’s also about natural ingredients, obviously — finding ingredients that are safe, that have a low sustainability impact with regard to their sourcing and how they’re harvested, extracted and ultimately brought to us.”

McLellan, speaking Tuesday at the 2012 Front End of Innovation conference in Orlando, Fla., detailed the three “pillars” that serve as the foundation of the company’s innovation efforts. They are:


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