In March 2020, Ethical Consumer viewed the Hain Celestial Sustainability Report 2018.

The report discussed climate change, water use, greenhouse gas emissions (including a breakdown of where emissions came from covering ingredients; processing; packaging; distribution; use and end of life), packaging, recycling and food waste. It also stated that it had a commitment to organic brands, although not exclusively, with 40% of the companies products certified in 2015. The report contained a link to the company's climate policy which also discussed the sourcing of raw materials and deforestation. It also provided performance data for many of these topics. Hain Celestial was considered to have demonstrated a reasonable understanding of its main impacts.

No future-dated, quantified environmental reduction targets with baselines could be found. A strong policy would contain at least two of these.

The report did not appear to have been independently verified.

As the report did not contain any targets, Hain Celestial received Ethical Consumer's worst rating for Environmental Reporting and lost a whole mark in this category.

Reference:

Sustainability Report 2018 (2018)

In May 2015 Ceres produced a report called “Feeding ourselves thirsty: How the food sector is managing global water risks. A benchmark report for investors.” According to the report producing food was the most water-intensive business on earth. It stated that “seventy percent of the world’s freshwater was used to irrigate crops and raise animals” and “one-third of total food production was in areas of high or extremely high water stress, or competition.” It went on to state that the run-off of fertilizers from farm fields was one of the most common causes of “water pollution worldwide, causing dead zones, harming fisheries, affecting human health and raising water treatment costs.”

The report analysed food sector companies against actions taken in four categories of water risk management, using indicators and scoring drawn largely from the Ceres Aqua Gauge:

1) governance and management: board members with oversight of water-related issues and had a water strategy
2) direct operations: reports data on water use and wastewater discharge for direct operations; assess risks; sets standards and goals on water water use, wastewater and impacts on watersheds
3) manufacturing supply chain: assesses water risks facing manufacturing suppliers; had policies for suppliers to improve water management; incentives manufacturing suppliers to strengthen practices
4) agricultural supply chain: assess water-related risks facing key agricultural inputs and sourcing regions; had policies for suppliers to improve water management and report their water use and pollution impacts; incentives manufacturing suppliers to strengthen practices

Companies were scored on a 0-100 point scale, using publicly available information from company financial statements, corporate sustainability reports and 2014 CDP water survey responses.

Hain Celestial received an overall mark in the packaged foods sector of 8. It scored the following in each section:

Governance and Management – 0/25
Direct Operations – 1/30
Manufacturing Supply Chain – 0/20
Agricultural Supply Chain – 7/25

Companies which scored 20 or under in agricultural supply chain lost half a mark under Ethical Consumer's Pollution and Toxics category due to the fact “erosion of topsoil and associated fertilizer run-off, both chemical and manure, is the most significant source of agricultural water pollution.”

Reference:

Feeding ourselves thirsty: How the food sector is managing global water risks. (May 2015)

In March 2020, Ethical Consumer searched the Hain Celestial website and viewed the company's website and Sustainability Report 2018. Ethical Consumer expected companies selling personnel care products to have a policy on toxics, particularly parabens, phthalates and triclosan. Triclosan is an antibacterial and a suspected endocrine disruptor. Parabens are also endocrine disruptors and have been linked to breast cancer. They are used as preservatives. Phthalates, usually DEP or DBP, are used in fragrances and are endocrine disruptors.

The website contained information on the company's brands, some of which were personnel care brands. It stated that these did not contain parabens or phthalates. The Sustainability Report also stated that all products were free from parabens and phthalates. It also stated that its products were free from the following:
GMO Ingredients; Petroleum Derived ingredients; Synthetic Dyes; Formaldehyde donors; MEA, DEA, TEA; PEG Derivatives; Glycols; Copolymers; Sodium Laureth Sulfate or Sodium Myreth Sulfate; Talc; Nanoparticles; Irradiated processes; Animal testing after 1996; Substances listed in Annex II of EU Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009; CMR Ingredients*; Artificial Colors; Synthetic Plastic Micro Beads

The company did not mention triclosan. However, in the US, where the company is based, the use of triclosan in such products was already banned by law. The company did also sell its products in other markets, such as the UK, where triclosan had not been banned. Ethical Consumer conducted an internet search using the three personnel care brand names, 'Live Clean', 'Alba Botanica' and 'Avalon Organics', and 'triclosan'. Ethical Superstore listed products of the latter two brands as "triclosan free". Live Clean was listed on www.londondrugs.com as triclosan free. Ethical Consumer was satisfied that Hain Celestiel personnel care products were likely to be triclosan free and that it was not mentioned due to the existing ban in the US where the company is based.

Hain Celestiel received Ethical Consumer's best rating for its personal care toxics policy.

Reference:

Hain Celestial website (9 January 2019)

In March 2020 Ethical Consumer viewed the Hain Celestial Sustainability Report 2018 which stated that materials such as synthetic plastic microbeads and copolymers “should not be included in the raw material composition” of the company’s personal care products. This was deemed to be a positive policy addressing this issue. This story was marked as information only.

According to Beat the Microbead, there are more than 500 known microplastics ingredients that can be found in our personal care products such as toothpastes, face washes, scrubs and shower gels. They are tiny plastic particles that are added for their exfoliating properties, but sometimes purely for aesthetic purposes only.

According to a recent report by Code Check, non-biodegradable liquid polymers were also prevalent across a wide range of cosmetic products. Like microplastics, these materials degrade with a similar difficulty in the environment and may cause similar harm.

In 2018, the UK government banned the use of microbeads in toothpastes, shower gels and facial scrubs. However, some products classified as “leave on” were not subject to the ban, this would include lotions, sun cream and makeup, as well as abrasive cleaning products. This ban did not extend to non-biodegradable liquid polymers.

Reference:

Hain Celestial website (9 January 2019)

In March 2020, Ethical Consumer viewed the RSPO website and Hain Celestial's website for information about its palm oil policies and practices.
Hain Celestial’s 2017 Annual Communication on Progress (ACOP) report provided a breakdown of the company's use of palm oil, kernel oil and derivatives for both its own brand products. 87% of the company's palm oil was certified in some form, with 40% being segregated. The company did not disclose suppliers or discuss significant sustainability initiatives.
In December 2019 Hain Celestial had submitted its 2018 ACOP to the RSPO. The company had put N/A in every field requesting data on quantities of palm oil and palm derivatives used and with which certification type. The company stated that "We previously reported 100% RSPO-certified palm oil and oil palm products in our supply chain in our 2018 [2017] report. In 2019 [2018], we have started collecting data for 3rd party manufactured personal care products and food products from Canada. This data, which will now be inclusive of all palm usage globally, will be reported in 2020." It also stated "We have extended our timeline from 2020 to 2024 as we have expanded the scope of our palm usage reporting to cover 100% of our global operations. This will ensure adequate time to address the formulation and supply chain actions needed to achieve 100% RSPO-certified palm oil in our physical supply chain."
While the company stated that it had previously reported 100% RSPO certified palm oil in its 2017 ACOP, that report actually reported 87% certified and 13% uncertified. It was not clear why no data at all had been provided in the 2018 ACOP.

Overall the company received a worst rating for its palm oil policy and lost a whole mark in the Palm Oil category.

Reference:

Hain Celestial website (9 January 2019)