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In January 2021 Ethical Consumer viewed the Joule UK website for the company's environmental policy or report. The website contained a Corporate Social Responsibility page and an Environmental Policy page.

The Corporate Social Responsibility page stated "At Joule our products are designed to be eco-friendly and have as little impact on the environment as possible. Within the organisation we either recycle or re use waste where we can and are committed to maintaining being environmentally friendly."

The Environmental Policy (May 2019) stated "We will manage all processes in a responsible manner that minimises potential environmental and health impacts and fully considers the following: – relevant environmental legislation and regulations, legal requirements, relevant government policies, ethical trading, sustainability, process alternatives and customer expectations and concerns... This policy will be implemented by, investing in plant that offers an environmental benefit, the use of processes, materials and products that reduce or control pollution, the safe disposal of waste, recycling where possible, energy efficiency, fuel efficiency and the reduction of chemicals used on site(s). We shall maintain records of all waste disposal activities and shall only use approved methods and companies."

No further information was found. The above statements were not considered to have provided adequate detail to have demonstrated a reasonable understanding of the company's environmental impacts. Nor were any targets or environmental performance data provided.

An environmental policy was deemed necessary to report on a company's environmental performance and set targets for reducing its impacts in the future. A strong policy would include two future, quantified environmental targets, demonstration by the company that it had a reasonable understanding of its main environmental impacts, be dated within two years and have its environmental data independently verified.

Joule did not meet any of these criteria therefore it received Ethical Consumer's worst rating for Environmental Reporting and lost a whole mark in this category.

Reference:

jouleuk.co.uk (8 January 2021)

In January 2021 Ethical Consumer viewed the website of Joule UK, looking for information on what the company was doing to tackle climate change.

Ethical Consumer was looking for the following:
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 a policy to avoid investing in fossil fuels.

For the company to report annually on its scope 1&2 greenhouse gas emissions (direct emissions by the company), and to go some way towards reporting on its scope 3 emissions (emissions from the supply chain, investments and sold products).

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 company's Environmental Policy (May 2019) stated that it would be implemented by "investing in plant that offers an environmental benefit, the use of processes, materials and products that reduce or control pollution, the safe disposal of waste, recycling where possible, energy efficiency, fuel efficiency and the reduction of chemicals used on site(s)."

No further information was found. The above statements were not considered to have provided adequate detail to constitute an adequate discussion of the company's climate impacts. Nor were any targets or carbon emissions data provided.

However, the company was only engaged in the supply of renewable heating systems such as heat pumps and solar thermal. AS such it received a partial exemption in this rating.

Overall, Joule received Ethical Consumer’s middle rating for carbon management and reporting and lost a half a mark under Climate Change.

Reference:

jouleuk.co.uk (8 January 2021)

In January 2021 Ethical Consumer searched the Joule UK website for the company's policy on the use of potentially hazardous chemicals such as, BFRs and PVC and/or phthalates, as electronic items such as Joule solar controllers were amongst the product range on the company's website.

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 BFRs and PVC and/or phthalates; as well as clear, dated targets for ending their use.

As the company had no policies on the use of toxic chemicals in electronics it lost a whole mark under Ethical Consumer's Pollution and Toxics category.

Reference:

jouleuk.co.uk (8 January 2021)

In January 2021 Ethical Consumer viewed the Joule UK website for the company's conflict minerals policy, as electronic items such as Joule solar controllers were amongst the product range on the company's website. It had not published a conflict minerals policy.

Conflict minerals are minerals mined in conditions of armed conflict and human rights abuses, notably in the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The minerals in question are Tantalum, Tin, Tungsten and Gold (3TG for short) and are key components of electronic devices, from mobile phones to televisions.

Ethical Consumer expected all companies manufacturing electronics to have a policy on the sourcing of conflict minerals. Such a policy would articulate the company's commitment to conflict-free sourcing of 3TG minerals and a commitment to continue ensuring due diligence on the issue. The policy should also state that it intended to continue sourcing from the DRC region in order to avoid an embargo and that the company had membership of, or gave financial support to, organisations developing the conflict-free industry in the region.

Due to the fact the company had no policy it received Ethical Consumer's worst rating for its policy on conflict free minerals and lost a whole mark under the Habitats and Resources and Human Rights categories.

Reference:

jouleuk.co.uk (8 January 2021)