Sustainable Herbs Project spins out from ABC to become Sustainable Herbs Initiative

© Juefrateam / Getty Images
© Juefrateam / Getty Images

Related tags Sustainability Herbal supplements

After six years of incubation as an educational and advocacy program with the American Botanical Council, the Sustainable Herbs Program (SHP) has now become the independent Sustainable Herbs Initiative.

The Sustainable Herbs Initiative (SHI) will continue under the direction of SHP Founder and Director Ann Armbrecht, PhD.

“This exciting new development represents the increasingly collaborative model that SHP has been engaging. ABC has been a wonderful home to incubate and help grow SHP,” said Dr. Armbrecht. “ABC has provided a platform from which this work can transform from an idea into a fully developed program with support and recognition in the botanical industry. We could never have gotten to where we are without this home.”


Dr. Armbrecht created the Sustainable Herbs Program (SHP) in 2016 as a website-based educational project under the name of the Sustainable Herbs Project. In 2018, the SHP joined with other ABC research and educational programs, such as HerbalGram, HerbClip​, the ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Prevention Program (BAPP), HerbMedPro​, and others – all operating under the ABC umbrella.

“ABC’s longstanding commitment to botanical conservation and sustainability has been well documented throughout the decades, particularly through numerous seminal, thought-leading articles in ABC’s peer-reviewed journal, HerbalGram starting in the 1980s,” explained ABC Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal. “This important part of ABC’s nonprofit mission made Armbrecht’s offer in 2018 to include the then-named Sustainable Herbs Project as part of ABC’s nonprofit educational mission and scope an easy decision for ABC.”

Over the years at ABC, Dr. Armbrecht grew the program by adding more video-rich educational content to the SHP website, producing a monthly newsletter, a blog, 42 compelling and highly popular free webinars exploring the many significant aspects of the plant-people relationship, and other educational resources relevant to sustainable and regenerative sourcing of herbs and medicinal plants.

Forward-thinking members of the botanical industry would also be interested in the free 84-page “SHP Sustainable and Regenerative Practices Toolkit 2.0,” which provides a wide variety of resources to help herb businesses of any size become more aware of sustainability concerns and enhance their ability to implement sustainable and regenerative practices in sourcing and processing herbs and medicinal plants into finished consumer health products.

“Ann Armbrecht and SHP have made an enormous, unparalleled contribution to the awareness and consciousness of the herb and medicinal plant industry in North American and worldwide about the global imperative of operating herb businesses in a sustainable and regenerative manner,” said Blumenthal.

A report summarizing the growth and impact of SHP during its six-year history as an ABC program will be published this summer in the forthcoming issue of HerbalGram​ (#141).

“I am deeply grateful to Mark Blumenthal, the late Steven Foster, and the ABC staff for their trust in and support of my vision,” said Dr. Armbrecht. “I am also deeply grateful to the Inaugural Underwriters who believed in this vision from the outset and provided the financial support needed for it to be developed. Thanks also to the whole community of SHP supporters as well as the individuals who have joined me for the many webinars and conversations we have organized over the past five years.”

“As SHP moves more fully into the collaborative work that the next five years will focus on, I look forward to continuing to explore ways to work together with ABC in our shared mission to support the sustainable and ethical sourcing of the medicinal plants on which this industry depends.”

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