Laundry Detergents


Product guide to washing powder and liquid

Product guide to washing powder and liquid


This is a product guide from Ethical Consumer, the UK's leading alternative consumer organisation. Since 1989 we've been researching and recording the social and environmental records of companies, and making the results available to you in a simple format.

This product guide is part of a Special Report on Cleaning Products.  See what's in the rest of the report.

 

This product guide to Laundry Detergents includes:

  • Ethical and environmental ratings for 35 washing powders and liquids
  • Best Buy recommendations
  • What's in your laundry detergent
  • Alternative laundry cleaners
  • Liquid or powder?
  • A word about fabric softeners
  • EU Ecolabelled products

 

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Score Ratings

Our ratings are live updated scores from our primary research database. They are based on primary and secondary research across 23 categories - 17 negative categories and 6 positive ones (Company Ethos and Product Sustainability). Find out more about our ethical ratings

 

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The score table shows simple numerical ratings out of 20 for each product. The higher the score, the more ethical the company.

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The Full Scorecard shows the 'black marks' for each product, by each of the 17 negative categories. The bigger the mark, the worse the score. So for example a big black circle under 'Worker Rights' shows that the company making this product has been severely criticised for worker abuses.

Scores start at 14.  A small circle means that half a mark is deducted, a large circle means that a full mark is deducted.

Marks are added in the positive categories of Company Ethos and the five Product Sustainability columns (O,F,E,S,A).  A small circle  means that half a mark is added, a large circle means that a full mark is added.

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Best Buys

as of May/June 2012


As our ratings are constantly updated, it is possible that company ratings on the scorecard may have changed since this report was written.

Bio D and Faith in Nature are the clear best buys.

They are followed by ECOS, Ecoleaf, Ecozone, Lilly's Eco Clean, Sodasan and Sonett.

These brands are all available online or from some health food shops.

For making your own, Dri Pak score well on the table.

The best scoring widely available green brand is Ecover because of their company-wide approach to using green ingredients and they are certified cruelty-free.


 

 

Company Profile

 

Unilever's tentacles reach out across the globe. ActionAid recently uncovered that Unilever had 696 subsidiaries, 26% of which were in tax havens,(39) 28 were in countries that Ethical Consumer considered to be governed by oppressive regimes. It’s a member of 5 influential lobby groups including the European Round Table of Industrialists (ERT), the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), TransAtlantic Business Dialogue (TABD), the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Money saved from using tax havens is being well spent. Earlier this year Unite claimed that the CEO of Unilever earns more than £6million a year. The union were unhappy especially because the company is currently slashing pensions of the workforce by up to 40%.(40)

It scores worst in Ethical Consumer’s supply chain management category and has recently been criticised on two separate occasions by SOMO for poor working conditions in Madagascar and Kenya.(41)

The company is under a boycott call from Uncaged over its animal testing policy and has also been criticised by PETA for conducting unnecessary animal experimentation.

 

 
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References
11 Disinfectant overkill – Women’s Voices for the Earth, November 2009 39 ActionAid: FTSE 100 tax haven tracker 40www.foodmanufacture.co.uk/Business-News/Unilever-ceo-s-executive-greed-slammed-as-Unite-strike. Last viewed12/3/2012 41SOMO - Unilever - overview of controversial business practices 2010

 

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