In January 2020, Ethical Consumer downloaded the Princes 'Business Report 2018/19' to find information on its environmental reporting.

The report contained information on water usage, energy, food waste and packaging. For a food company Ethical Consumer would also expect to find information on agricultural inputs such as pesticides and fertilisers, land management, raw ingredients, transportation and refrigeration. Princes was not considered to have demonstrated a reasonable understanding of its main impacts.

The report had two quantified future-dated environmental reduction targets:
- Reduce primary energy from group controlled sites manufacturing sites by 10% by 2020 (measured by case produced from baseline 2014/15).
- Reduce food waste in operations by 50% by 2030 (from May 2019).

The report did not appear to be independently verified.

As Princes had a report dated within two years and two future-dated quantified targets, but did not have reasonable understanding of its environmental impacts nor its report independently audited, it received a middle rating for Environmental Reporting and lost half a mark in this category.

Reference:

Princes Annual Report 2018-19 (12 March 2019)

In February 2020 Ethical Consumer viewed Mitsubishi Corporation's website and found that Mitsubishi Corporation Exploration Co., Ltd. (MCX) "promotes, operates, and manages upstream activities such as exploration, development, and production of oil and gas for overseas assets owned by Mitsubishi Corporation. Likewise, we propose and plan for acquisitions of new assets for Mitsubishi Corporation, and provide technical support to upstream LNG Project, which is one of the core business areas for Mitsubishi Corporation. While, we aim to expedite existing businesses in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, West Africa, South East Asia, Oceania, and UK North Sea, we also take initiatives in acquisition of new large-scale development and production oil and gas assets."

The company lost a whole mark under Climate Change.

Reference:

Mitsubishi Corp Exploration (23 March 2017)

In January 2020 Ethical Consumer viewed MC Aviation Partners' website and saw that it was involved in the aviation industry. It stated "MC Aviation Partners Inc. (together with its subsidiaries collectively, “MCAP”) is the aircraft leasing and trading arm of Mitsubishi Corporation. MCAP both owns and leases aircraft in its own portfolio and manages the leasing of aircraft for third party investors."

As a result MC Aviation Partners lost a whole mark under Climate Change.

Reference:

www.mcapgroup.com (9 November 2017)

In May 2017 Ethical Consumer searched Ovo's website for information on how the company was promoting renewable electricity development in the UK. The company sold some of its electricity tariffs as "green".

Ovo stated that its fuel mix was at least 33% renewable. Its renewable fuel mix was made up of 57% hydro, 35% wind, and the remainder from other sources. However, this could be generation that had already been paid for through everyone's electricity bills under the Renewables Obligation, and built by someone else.

The company claimed that the additionality of its green tariff was that it funded the "I Dig Trees" programme possible which planted 3 trees in the UK per Greener Energy plan customer, which would shortly be upped to 5 trees.

The company did not supply biogas.

Ethical Consumer did not consider that the planting of trees sufficed as a form of additionality from a tariff that customers bought because they wanted to support renewable electricity. The company was thus marked down in the climate change category for making misleading environmental claims.

Reference:

www.ovoenergy.com (4 May 2017)

In March 2019 Ethical Consumer searched Mitsubishi Electric's website for a policy on toxic chemicals such as PVC, BFR and phthalates.

The company stated that it was elimiating the use of Lead (Pb), Hexavalent Chromium (Cr +6), PBB (flame retardant), Cadmium (Cd), Mercury (Hg) - PBDE (flame retardant) in response to the European Union’s Restriction on Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive.

A toxics policy was deemed necessary for all electronics companies, as these substances were widely used by electronics companies and had a significant negative environmental impact when released after disposal. A strong policy on toxics would include publicly disclosed data on the use of hazardous chemicals such as PVC, BFR and phthalates; as well as clear, dated targets for ending their use. No mention f these chemicals could be found.

Mitsubishi Electric received a worst rating for Pollution and Toxics and lost a whole mark under this category.

Reference:

www.mitsubishielectric.com/company/environment/index.html (12 May 2017)

In March 2019 Ethical Consumer viewed a story on the Business and Human Rights website which stated that a Spanish parliamentary had accused "Antamina [joint venture BHP Billiton, Glencore, Mitsubishi Group & Teck Resources] mining of contamination of water sources in Ancash that could pose at risk nearby communities"

The webpage contained a response by Mitsubishi which stated "Mitsubishi Corporation (MC) has held an investment in the Antamina project since 1999…Through world-class copper projects such as this, MC is committed to upholding its mandate to conserve the natural environment as detailed in its Environmental Charter while also contributing to the economic development of Peru and the stable supply of resources to the global market….In our capacity as a minority shareholder, MC understands that Antamina not only ensures strict regulatory compliance, but also works to fulfil the highest levels of technical, environmental and social standards in its mining operations…MC will continue to follow project developments closely, together with Antamina and other shareholders…"

The company lost half a mark under Pollutions and Toxics.

Reference:

Alleged contamination of water supply in Peru (February 2019)

Princes' 'Wild caught responsibly sourced seafood' update of September 2019 suggested that the company still bought fish that was caught using purse seines and FADs, fish aggreagation devices even though it also sourced pole and line caught fish and MSC certified fish and claimed to be actively involved in Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs) around the world with the aim of improving fisheries management.
It also stated that it played "an active role in the debate over catch methods, bycatch and sustainability and shape our approach based on the latest scientific information" and that it does not "Permit long-line caught fish in our branded products."

Reference:

Wild caught responsibly sourced seafood (September 2019)

In 2016 Greenpeace released an updated version of its Tuna League Table . Greenpeace sent questionnaires to each of the eleven major supermarkets and tuna brands in the UK. The companies were judged over seven criteria: 1. Traceability 2. Sustainability 3. Legality 4. Equity 5. Sourcing Policy 6. Transparency and customer information 7. Driving change.

Princes ranked tenth in the report. Greenpeace said “Only a quarter of its tuna is pole-and-line or free-school-caught, despite its commitment to source 100% sustainable tuna by the end of 2014. Traceability from sea to shelf is commendable, but there could be more information on tins to allow customers to make the most informed choices."

As a result Princes lost a whole mark under Habitats and Resources.

Reference:

Tuna League Table 2016 (27 February 2017)

Forest 500, ‘the world’s first rainforest rating agency’, is a project of the Global Canopy Programme. In 2018, it published its fourth annual rating. It ranks 350 of the biggest companies in forest-risk supply chains and the 150 biggest investors in these companies.

Tropical rainforests cover 7% of the earth, but contain 50% of global biodiversity. Their ecosystems regulate global water systems and the climate, and they directly support the livelihoods of over a billion people. The social and economic benefits of these services are estimated to be in the trillions.

Over two thirds of tropical deforestation is driven by the production of a handful of commodities including; palm oil, soya, timber, paper and pulp, beef, and leather. These commodities are in products we use every day and are present in more than 50% of the packaged products in our
supermarkets.

Companies and financial institutions have been assessed and ranked in respect to their policies addressing potential deforestation embedded in forest-risk commodity supply chains. The report stated that "the Forest 500 methodology was updated in 2018 to better distinguish between companies who have set commitments, and those that have taken the next step towards implementation. This new methodology has meant that many companies have received lower scores this year."

The Forest 500 ranking and analysis will be repeated annually until 2020, to help inform, enable and track progress towards deforestation free supply chains.

Each company was rated from 0-5, across five categories:

Mitsubishi was one of the 350 companies rated in the 2018 report.

It received an overall score of 2. Its scores in each category were as follows:
Intent and awareness 3 out of 5
Commodity policies 1 out of 5
Scope and ambition 1 out of 5
Reporting and implementation 1 out of 5
Social Considerations 2 out 5

The company had not signed up to the New York Declaration on Forests signatory but was a Consumer Goods Forum member.
It lost half a mark under Habitats and Resources.

Reference:

Forest 500 - 2018 ranking (April 2019)

Princes ACOP report for 2017 was viewed in January 2020. It showed that 98% of the palm oil it used was certified and segregated and it had a target to be 100% certified by 2020.
It therefore received our middle rating for palm oil policy and practice.
In its questionnaire response of December 2019 it further stated: "Archer Daniels Midland are our main supplier in terms of palm oil volume tonnage. ADM are a 50/50 partner in our Edible Oils Limited business.
We use small quantities of RSPO certified palm oil in multiple food ingredients. The names of direct suppliers, their sub suppliers and their palm oil suppliers further down the chain are commercially sensitive which we do not routinely disclose to media on request."
Princes is a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Corp which reported to the ACOP separately and received a worst rating.

Reference:

2017 ACOP Report (9 January 2020)