In November 2020, Ethical Consumer downloaded the Princes 'Business Report 2019/20' to find information on its environmental reporting.

The report contained pages on food waste, packaging and seafood sustainability. 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 some environmental reduction targets:
- Reduce primary energy from group controlled sites manufacturing sites by 10% by 2020 (measured by case produced from baseline 2014/15). However this was said to have been exceeded and no new target had been set.
- Zero food waste and packaging sent to landfill by 2020.

The report did not appear to be independently verified.

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

Reference:

https://www.princesgroup.com/csr/ (23 November 2020)

On 17th June 2021, Ethical Consumer viewed the website of Mitsubishi Corp, looking for information on what the company was doing to tackle climate change.
Ethical Consumer was looking for the company to satisfy the following criteria in its public statements and reports:
1.a For the company to discuss its areas of climate impact, and to discuss plausible ways it has cut them in the past, and ways that it will cut them in the future.
1.b For the company to have relevant sector-specific policies in place.
1.c For the company to not be involved in any particularly damaging projects like tar sands, oil or aviation, to not be subject to damning secondary criticism regarding it’s climate actions, and to have a policy to avoid investing in fossil fuels.
2. For the company to report annually on its scope 1&2 greenhouse gas emissions (direct emissions by the company).
3. For the company to go some way towards reporting its scope 3 emissions (emissions from the supply chain, investments and sold products).
4. For the company to have a target to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions in line with international agreements (counted as the equivalent of at least 2.5% cut per year in scope 1&2 emissions), and to not count offsetting towards this target.
1.a The company's 2020 Integrated Report included some reference to the companies activities around its carbon emissions and management. Throughout the report the company referred to the movement "toward low-carbon and decarbonized societies". The company stated "MC [Mitsubishi Corporation] is working to address these potential impacts, while at the same time actively pursuing businesses that facilitate the transition to a low-carbon society as well as reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions." It went on to state that "Specifically, MC has set targets related to fields including renewable energy, plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles, carbon capture and storage technologies". The company also highlighted its support for electric car infrastructure and renewable energy projects. The company's reporting lacked information about steps being taken internally to address the carbon impact of the business, such as energy efficiency of its buildings and manufacturing and the impact of carbon intensive business activities such as the coal industry.
1.b No sector specific policies were found.
1.c The company was found to be engaged in several high impact sectors, namely: coal, aviation, cars, LNG and oil exploration.
Overall it was not considered to have met part 1 of Ethical Consumer's criteria.
2. The company reported its carbon emissions data with the Carbon Disclosure Project. Its Scope 1 and 2 emissions were 9,436,886 metric tons of CO2e.
3. The company also reported on its Scope 3 emissions in its CDP report.
4. The company's target was: "to reduce emissions per total assets by 25% by 2030". This was calculated as a 2.5% annual reduction which met Ethical Consumer's requirements.
If a company met all of these criteria it would receive a best rating. If it met parts 1&2 (impacts and annual reporting CO2e) it would receive a middle rating. Otherwise it would receive a worst rating.
Overall, Mitsubishi Corporation received Ethical Consumer’s worst rating for carbon management and reporting and lost a full mark under Climate Change because it had fossil fuel interests so did not meet part 1.

Reference:

Integrated Report 2020 (2020)

In January 2021, Ethical Consumer viewed a completed questionnaire that had been returned by OVO Energy. The questionnaire included links to the company's Plan Zero (2019) and included a progress update for 2018/19 against the targets in the report.
Ethical Consumer was looking for the following:
1. For the company to discuss its areas of climate impact, and to discuss plausible ways it has cut them in the past, and ways that it will cut them in the future.

For the company to not be involved in any particularly damaging projects like tar sands, oil or aviation, to not be subject to damning secondary criticism regarding it’s climate actions, and to have relevant sector-specific climate policies in place.

The questionnaire discussed the company's impacts through its energy supply, and actions it was taking to address this: for example, removing coal from its energy supply in 2015, increasing the percentage of energy backed by PPAs (as opposed it REGOs). It also discussed moving towards a electric vehicle fleet.
All OVO tariffs were renewable. The company was considered to be demonstrating ways in which it had cut and would continue to cut emissions, and was not considered to be involved in any particularly damaging climate actions.

2. For the company to report annually on its scope 1&2 greenhouse gas emissions (direct emissions by the company), and,

3. to go some way towards reporting on its scope 3 emissions (emissions from the supply chain, investments and sold products).
The Plan Zero reported on its scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions for 2018. It stated: "Scope 3 emissions are all indirect emissions (not included in Scope 2) that occur in the value chain, which in this case is the emissions associated with the provision of electricity and gas, such as transport and distribution losses." Its 2019 Accounts gave figures scope 1&2 emissions for 2019. However, it did not appear to give scope 3 figures.
Ethical Consumer expected companies to report annually, so OVO's scope 3 figures from 2018 were considered out of date. The company confirmed via email, "We're currently in the process of adjusting the reporting boundary of our carbon footprint to account for the SSE Energy Services acquisition. We hope to provide updated figures in our Plan Zero reporting later this year. Therefore, the data we have provided is the latest available."

4. For the company to have a target to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions in line with international agreements (counted as the equivalent of at least 2.5% cut per year in scope 1&2 emissions), and to not count offsetting towards this target.
The following targets were provided:
- "Net zero carbon emissions from our operations and from the energy we sell to our members by 2030, by achieving absolute emissions reductions in line with science-based targets for Scopes 1, 2 and 3 as a minimum and using greenhouse gas removals for the remainder."
- 50% absolute reduction in scope 1 & 2 emisisons by 2030 from a 2018 baseline
- 50% absolute reudction in scope 3 emissions by 2030 from a 2018 baseline
Although the first target referred to 'greenhouse gas removals', the other two targets did not include offsetting, and were considered valid targets in line with international agreements.

If a company met all of these criteria it would receive a best rating. If it met parts 1&2 (impacts and annual reporting CO2e) it would receive a middle rating. Otherwise it would receive a worst rating.

The company met criteria 1, 2 and 4, but not point 3. The company received Ethical Consumer's middle rating for carbon management and reporting and lost half a mark under Climate Change.

Reference:

2021 Questionnaire (January 2021)

In January 2021, Ethical Consumer viewed a completed questionnaire returned by OVO, for information on the company's approach to purchasing renewable energy. Renewable energy is often purchased using REGOs, meaning that the energy has already been paid for through everyone's electricity bills under the Renewables Obligation, and built by someone else.
OVO stated:
"All OVO Energy tariffs are 100% renewable electricity and one tree planted per member per year as standard."
With regards to its SSE Energy brand, OVO stated:
"Customers with the Go Green add-on are considered to have purchased a ‘green tariff’ product. Go Green delivers additionality (in line with regulatory obligations under our Supplier Licence) through:
- Tree planting. We plant five trees per customer for each year that a customer has the Go Green add-on. We enable tree planting by providing funding to our partners, Forest Carbon, who plant trees in woodlands and forests at rural sites in England and in Scotland. Trees planted with Forest Carbon are planted using sustainable forest management techniques including continuous forest cover and in line with the UK Woodland Carbon Code."
Tree planting was not considered a direct action to reducing the emissions from energy use, for customers who believed they were buying renewable electricity tariffs.
However, with regard to its OVO Energy brand, the company also stated:
"A small but growing proportion of our renewable electricity is purchased directly from UK renewable generators through Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs). This enables us to further support UK renewable industry. By March 2021, around 20% of the renewable electricity for our OVO Energy members will be purchased through PPAs with UK renewable electricity generators. By the end of 2021, we are aiming to increase this to almost 40%."
Although the company was taking a positive step in backing some of its electricity using PPAs, Ethical Consumer expected companies to be using PPAs for all electricity. The company was therefore considered to be making a minimal contribution to renewable energy development, and lost half a mark under Climate Change.

Reference:

2021 Questionnaire (January 2021)

On 17th June 2021 Ethical Consumer viewed Mitsubishi Corp's website which stated that its chemicals division makes the toxic and bioaccumulative PVC (polyvinylychloride) and its Industrial Materials division sells it for use in the construction and automobile industries.
The PVC lifecycle -- its production, use, and disposal -- results in the release of toxic, chlorine-based chemicals. These toxins are building up in the water, air and food chain. The result: infertility, immune system damage, impaired childhood development, hormone disruption, cancer and many other harmful effects.
Dioxin and dioxin-like compounds are unintentionally created whenever chlorine-based chemicals are produced, used or burned. Dioxin is known as one of the most toxic chemicals ever produced. In its ongoing study of dioxin, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggests that there is no safe level of dioxin exposure.
The company lost half a mark under Pollution & Toxics.

Reference:

www.mitsubishicorp.com (17 June 2021)

In January 2021 Ethical Consumer searched Mitsubishi Electric's website and Environmental Report 2020 for a policy on toxic chemicals such as PVC, BFR and phthalates.

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.

Ethical Consumer considered that a good policy on this matter must at least include:

(a) a priority list of hazardous and polluting chemicals
(b) a set of clear, dated targets to remove discharge of all hazardous and polluting chemicals
(c) a requirement that suppliers disclose information on the release of hazardous chemicals
(d) publicly disclosed data on the hazardous chemicals used and progress towards removing them
(e) a discussion of alternatives to current hazardous chemicals used (ie. not reducing their use, but replacing them)

The website stated:

"Mitsubishi Electric Group companies in Japan have been managing internally defined controlled chemical substances on a voluntary basis since 1997. Additionally, chemical substances contained in products are managed in Japan and abroad using the MelHARo-web chemical substance management system, which includes procurement information for both materials and parts. For example, in addition to the four phthalates added to the list of restricted substances pursuant to the EU RoHS Directive, further restrictions will be introduced in July 2020 in accordance with the European REACH regulation. Ahead of this, we have completed replacements for relevant products in the European market."

The company's Environmental Report featured a list of chemical substances released into the atmosphere. It had reduced its emissions of SOx and "controlled chemical substances" annually since 2018.

As the report mentioned the restriction of four phthalates, and appeared to somewhat meet criteria (a) and (d) for solar PV producers, Mitsubishi Electric received a middle rating for Pollution and Toxics and lost a half mark under this category.

Reference:

Environmental Report 2020 (2020)

On 14th June 2021 Ethical Consumer searched the Olam International Limited website for a cotton sourcing policy. The company stated that it was "a universal supplier of cotton to the world’s textile markets."

It also stated: "We source from the four major growing regions - Africa, Asia, the Americas and Australia – and are supported by significant investments in gins and logistics infrastructure [...] We are committed to the traceable and sustainable supply of cotton. We are a member of the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), a progressive step to formalising a sustainable cotton supply to consumers. Through the BCI, we have helped farmers and retailers verify their cotton standards, improving their marketability."

According to Anti-Slavery International (ASI) website viewed by Ethical Consumer in August 2018, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan were two of the world’s largest exporters of cotton, and every year their governments forcibly mobilised over one million citizens to grow and harvest cotton. Olam's website stated: "We are the leading supplier of medium and extra-long staple cotton from Central Asia. We transport cotton from the region’s land-locked countries to major markets worldwide." It had not signed up to the Responsible Sourcing Network's cotton pledge. A locations webpage stated: "Our focus in Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan is sourcing and exporting cotton." Due to the high proportion of cotton likely to have come from Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan and the prevalence of forced labour in its production, the company lost half a mark in the Workers Rights category.

The Organic Trade Association website, www.ota.com, stated in July 2018 that cotton covered roughly 2.78% of global arable land, but accounted for 12.34% of all insecticide sales and 3.94% of herbicide sales. No policy regarding pesticides or organic cotton could be found. Due to the impacts of the widespread use of pesticides in cotton production worldwide the company lost half a mark in the Pollution & Toxics category.

According to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA), a non-profit pro biotech organisation, genetically modified cotton accounted for 80% of cotton grown in 2017. No policy regarding GM cotton or organic cotton could be found. Due to the prevalence of GM cotton in cotton supply chains and the lack of any evidence that the company avoided it, it was assumed that some of the company's cotton products contained some GM material. As a result it lost half a mark under the Controversial Technology category.

Overall Olam International Limited received Ethical Consumer's worst rating for its cotton sourcing policy.

Reference:

Cotton webpages (14 June 2021)

On 17th June 2021, Ethical Consumer viewed Princes'website, which suggested that the company still bought fish that was caught using purse seines and FADs (fish aggregation 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.

The Mitsubishi Corp website listed Mitsubishi as a group company.

It lost a whole mark under Habitats & Resources.

Reference:

www.princes-tuna-mauritius.com/fishing-sourcing/how-our-tuna-caught (17 June 2021)

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 2021, it published its latest 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.

The Forest 500 ranking and analysis helps inform, enable and track progress towards deforestation free supply chains.

Mitsubishi was one of the 350 companies rated in the report covering 2020.

It received an overall approach score of 30%.

Its scores in each category were as follows:
Overall approach 3/16
Commodity score: 27/84
Palm oil: 38/84
Soy: 27/84
Leather: 10/84
Paper: 35/84
Commitment strength: 12/28
Reporting and implementation: 8/38
Social considerations: 7/18

Mitsubishi lost half a mark under Habitats & Resources.

Reference:

forest500.org (28 January 2021)

Princes ACOP report for 2017 was viewed in October 2020. 2017 was the most recent ACOP available at that date.
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)