In October 2020, Ethical Consumer searched on The Wonderful Company's website and conducted an internet search but found no evidence of a supply chain policy besides the following statement, which was under CA transparency in supply chains: “The Wonderful Company LLC and its affiliated companies are complying voluntarily with California Civil Code 1714.43 even though the companies are not required by law to do so. The companies comply with all applicable laws and regulations concerning human trafficking and slavery in supply chains and will make every effort to include contractual terms with any third party contractors certifying that no outside third party contractor engages in human trafficking or slavery when dealing with our products. The companies do not audit third party contractors for compliance or provide training to our employees in these areas, but the companies are currently reviewing options to conduct audits and provide training.”

Supply chain policy (poor)
A strong policy would include the following commitments: no use of forced labour, permission of freedom of association, payment of a living wage, the restriction of working hours to 48 hours plus 12 overtime (without exception), no use of a child labour (under 15 or 14 if ILO exempt), no discrimination by race, sex or for any other reason. The Wonderful Company's statement above only mentioned forced labour therefore it was rated as having a poor supply chain policy.

Stakeholder engagement (poor)
Ethical Consumer deemed it necessary for companies to demonstrate stakeholder engagement, such as through membership of the Ethical Trade Initiative, Fair Labour Association or Social Accountability International. Companies were also expected to engage with Trade Unions, NGOs and/or not-for-profit organisations which could systematically verify the company's supply chain audits, and for workers to have access to an anonymous complaints system, free of charge and in their own language. The Wonderful Company discussed none of these and was rated poor in this section.

Auditing and Reporting (poor)
Ethical Consumer deemed it necessary for companies to have an auditing and reporting system. Results of audits should publicly reported and quantitatively analysed. The company should have a scheduled and transparent audit plan that applies to their whole supply chain, including some second tier suppliers. The company should also have a staged policy for non-compliance. The costs of the audit should be borne by the company. The Wonderful Company discussed none of this and was rated poor in this section.

Difficult issues (poor)
Ethical Consumer also deemed it necessary for companies to address other difficult issues in their supply chains. This would include ongoing training for agents, or rewards for suppliers, or preference for long term suppliers. It would also include acknowledgement of audit fraud and unannounced audits, and measures taken to address the issue of living wages, particularly among outworkers, and illegal freedom of association. The Wonderful Company discussed no difficult issues and was rated poor in this section.

The Wonderful Company received Ethical Consumer’s worst rating for Supply Chain Management and lost a whole mark in this category.

Reference: (20 October 2020)

In October 2017 Ethical Consumer accessed an article on the Forbes Magazine website dated 2nd May 2015 which reported that the U.S. Supreme Court had made a ruling that upheld an FTS ruling that The Wonderful Company had misled its customers through its claims that “POM Wonderful and POMx supplements treat, prevent or reduce the risk of heart disease, prostate cancer or erectile dysfunction”. The FTS stated that The Wonderful Company was making claims that were not based on a scientifically conducted randomized control trial, as required. A federal judge had ruled that the claims made were misleading to consumers.
Ethical Consumer also accessed an article in the Guardian dated 12th September 2016 which stated that the claims were based on studies funded by The Wonderful Company and that the methodology of these was flawed. Ethical Consumer also found that the story was reported in other news sources such as the LA Times and Business Insider.

As a result, The Wonderful Company lost half a mark under Irresponsible Marketing.


The Verdict: POM Wonderful Misled Its Customers, A Blow To Its Billionaire Owners (2 May 2016)

In October 2020, Ethical Consumer viewed the Wonderful Company's family tree on the D&B Hoovers website, which stated that the company had operations in the following countries: China and Mexico.
At the time of writing Ethical Consumer considered each country listed to be governed by an oppressive regime. The company therefore lost half a mark in the Human Rights category.


Generic Hoovers ref (2020)