In October 2020, Ethical Consumer searched the campaign organisation Food and Water Watch website for information about its petition that called for a boycott against the Wonderful Company's products. Although an article was found dated September 2017 outlining the campaign against the company, the organisation's campaign page was no longer active and could not be opened.
The Food and Water Watch had set up a petititon asking signatories to boycott all Wonderful Company products until it ceased the practice of irrigating its fields with oil waste water. The organisation also reported that 'traces of cancer-causing chemicals like ethylbenzene were found in the wastewater, along with a host of other toxic substances' and that that there were no regulations requiring regular testing of this water. No further information could be found on this claim.
An article in the LA Times from 2015 also reported that environmental group, Water Defense, had been testing the water that the Cawelo Water District bought from Chevron (and then sold on to companies including the Wonderful Company) and had found compounds which were toxic to humans such as acetone and methylene chloride. The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board declared the crops safe in April 2020. However, this does not change the fact that wastewater from oil production is being used.
As a result The Wonderful Company lost half a mark under Pollution and Toxics.


The Fabulous Fight Against the Wonderful Company (29 September 2017)

In October 2020, Ethical Consumer found a statement on The Wonderful Company's website which stated that it did not use GMO in any of its products. This was considerd to be a positive policy addressing a Controversial Technology issue.

Reference: (20 October 2020)

In October 2020, Ethical Consumer viewed the entry for the Wonderful Co. on the website, which was published in the USA by the Centre for Responsive Politics. This stated that in 2020 the company had spent $100,000 on lobbying and made $1,006,473 in political donations. Of this, $13,420 was donated to Republican candidates and $816,750 to Democrats. NOTE: OpenSecrets states: “The organization itself did not donate, rather the money came from the organization's PACs, their individual members or employees or owners, and those individuals' immediate family members. Organizations themselves cannot contribute to candidates and party committees. Totals include subsidiaries and affiliates.”
In 2019-2020 1 out of 3 Wonderful Company lobbyists were said to have previously held government jobs.
The Wonderful Company lost a whole mark under Political Activities in light of this information.


Open Secrets generic ref 2020 (2020)

An article in The Guardian newspaper dated 22nd August 2015 reported on The Wonderful Company’s controversial use of water for its nut trees in California which was experiencing a major drought. The article stated that Stewart Resnick, owner and CEO of The Wonderful Company, has direct access to a major water source in California and had been using his ‘extensive network of political contacts’ to lobby for more.
The drought in California had led to more and more water being pumped from the ground and vast amounts of land was sinking. The article quoted Alan Scow of Food and Water Watch, who said that the land used by The Wonderful Company for growing nuts was not fit for farming and should be retired due to the amount of water required to use it. The article stated: “Resnick and his wife Lynda do not just have money. They are reaping the benefits of a closed-door deal struck in 1994 that has proved to be the very foundation of their agricultural empire and has endured despite legal challenges. The state’s department of water resources gave them de facto control of the Kern Water Bank, a large groundwater storage facility, fed in part by publicly subsidized northern Californian sources, that was originally intended as a fallback in times of drought and also a powerful political instrument with which to control agribusiness and property development.” The article reported that The Wonderful Company has been allowed to sell its waste water back to public water companies for profit.

The Wonderful Company therefore lost half marks under Habitats and Resources and Political Activities categories due to the criticisms related to its lobbying activities in this case.


Nut empire battles conservationists over water tunnel for California orchards (22 August 2015)

In October 2020, Ethical Consumer viewed The Wonderful Company's list of subsidiaries in its family tree on the D&B Hoovers corporate database. This showed that the company had two subsidiaries in jurisdictions considered by Ethical Consumer to be tax havens at the time of writing. Of these, one was a holding company type and the other was an internal finance company (pensions) , both company types were deemed a high risk for likely use of tax avoidance:
Paramount Farms Hong Kong Limited in Hong Kong (Holding company)
POM Wonderful B.V. in The Netherlands (Pensions company)
An internet search using the search terms “Wonderful Company tax policy statement country” found no country-by-country financial information or reporting (CBCR), nor clear public tax statement confirming that it was this company’s policy not to engage in tax avoidance activity or to use tax havens for tax avoidance purposes, nor did the company provide a narrative explanation for what each group entity located in a tax haven was for, and how it was not being used for purposes of tax minimisation.
Given that The Wonderful Company had two or more high risk subsidiaries in jurisdictions on Ethical Consumer's tax haven list and no country-by-country financial information, nor adequate policy statement and narrative explanation, the company received Ethical Consumer's worst rating for likely use of tax avoidance strategies and lost a full mark under Tax Conduct.


Generic Hoovers ref (2020)