In April 2021 Ethical Consumer viewed the Bio-D website for the company's environmental policy or report.

Ethical Consumer also sent a questionnaire to the company and a response was received in April 2021 along with other company policy documents.

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.

The company's latest report dated 08/11/19 was viewed.

The company demonstrated a good understanding of its main impacts. It specifically mentioned: use of recycled plastics, packaging, transportation and sourcing locally, pollution, carbon and recycling.

The company's most recent report was dated within two years.

No quantified and dated future targets for impact reduction were found.

There was no evidence of independent verification of data or reporting.

It was however considered to offer an environmental alternative as alll its products were vegan certified, and it scored best ratings for palm oil policy and carbon management and reporting.

As a small company (turnover of less than £10.2m) providing environmental alternatives the company was exempted from Ethical Consumer's Environmental Reporting rating and scored a best rating in this category.

Reference:

Questionnaire April 2021 (15 April 2021)

In April 2021 Ethical Consumer viewed the website of Bio-D Company, 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.

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.

1. The company stated that it had reduced emissions by introducing concentrated products. It stated that it aimed to implement its own source of renewable energy in order to reduce emissions in future.

2. The company's 2020 sustainability report was sent to Ethical Consumer in an email on 7th May 2021. This listed the company's overall carbon footprint in CO2e. Total CO2e emissions had increased from 2019-2020 but emissions had reduced per product produced. The company was also all vegan and palm-oil free.

Overall, as a small company that met criteria 1, reported on its carbon emissions, showed some evidence of having reduced emissions in the past and a way it would cut them in future, and as it was a vegan company, Bio-D received a best Ethical Consumer rating for carbon management and reporting and lost no marks under Climate Change.

Reference:

2020 Sustainability Report (2020)

In April 2021 Ethical Consumer searched the Bio-D corporate website for the company's policy on the use of the hazardous chemicals parabens, triclosan and phthalates. A questionnaire response received from the company in April 2021 was also viewed.

Some forms or uses of these chemicals were banned or restricted in the EU or the USA.

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.

A strong policy on toxics would be no use of these chemicals or clear, dated targets for ending their use.

The company stated that it did not use any of these substances. It therefore received Ethical Consumer's best rating for its toxic chemicals policy and lost no marks under Pollution & Toxics.

Reference:

Questionnaire April 2021 (15 April 2021)

In April 2021, Ethical Consumer received a completed company questionnaire from Bio D. The company website was also viewed for information about its approach to microplastics and liquid polymers.

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.

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.

In answer to a question about microplastics and non-biodegradable liquid polymers the company stated: "We package our products in 100% recycled plastic bottles and do not use any plastics in the internal products."

This was assumed to mean that the company does not use microplastics or non-biodegradable liquid plastic polymers in any of its products.

A site search of the following common polymers yielded no results: Acrylates/C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, Acrylates copolymer, Carbome, Cyclohexasiloxane, Cyclopentasiloxane, Polyquaternium-7, Sodium polyacrylate).

As such the company was deemed to have a positive policy on the use of microplastics.

Reference:

Ethical Consumer Questionnaire (March 2020)

In May 2021 Ethical Consumer searched for information on Bio-D’s use of palm ingredients. The mass production of palm oil has relied on the destruction of rainforests, which has wide ranging impacts including contributing to climate change, as well as loss of biodiversity and human rights.

The company questionnaire stated "We became RSPO certified October 2020 so we are still in the process of collating an annual quantity."

The company's 2019 Sustainability Report stated "The Round Table of Sustainable Palm is a global, multi-stakeholder initiative on sustainable palm oil. As members we are helping to drive the change to ensure that only sustainable palm oil is used."

The questionnaire stated "Our raw material suppliers supply us with ingredients – some of which are palm oil derivatives."

A site search was conducted for the following terms: palm, glyc, stear and laur and no results emerged. Ethical Consumer viewed the ingredients lists of two products. One of them 'Bio-D Lavender Fabric Conditioner' contained Laureth 7, which was a palm oil derivative. No information was provided to state that this was certified. Several other fabric conditioners appeared to contain Laureth 7. Several handwashing products appeared to contain sodium laureth sulphate (for example Bio-D Sanitising Hand Wash). Similarly, no information about certification or sustainability was identified in relation to this ingredient.

The company's palm oil policy was viewed. This stated "Because we do not believe in using synthetic ingredients we therefore choose natural or plant based options a few of which do have a percentage of palm oil. However, all ingredients that have an element of palm oil are carefully selected from suppliers who have the RSPO accreditation, ensuring the protection of the oil, the workers and the land".

An email dated 6/5/21 stated that 99.30% of its products was certified. Ethical Consumer asked if this figure included derivatives. The company responded "Yes, to confirm we include all ingredients that may include any palm oil and calculate the figures by taking the percentage of palm in the raw material and then multiplying it by the quantity of raw material used."

The company achieved a best rating and lost no marks in this category.

Reference:

Questionnaire April 2021 (15 April 2021)