On 26th April 2021, Ethical Consumer viewed the Ecoliving website and that of its sister company Boobalou for the company's environmental policy or report. We also sent a questionnaire to the company in April 2021. No response was received. The company's FAQ and About Us webpages contain a limited amount of information about the company's approach to its environmental impact.

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 stated that it was carbon neutral, and had achieved this by offsetting "any carbon footprint we have by working with Carbon Footprint to fund organisations which work to remove carbon from the atmosphere." It also worked with Eden Reforestation Projects to aid the removal of carbon. The company's own products were largely environmental alternatives such as plastic free, biodegradeable, FSC-certified, organic or recycled. Ecoliving also retailed other company's product which were also found to be largely environmental alternatives.

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

Reference:

www.ecoliving.co.uk (26 April 2021)

On 26th April 2021, Ethical Consumer viewed the Ecoliving Trading Limited website, looking for information on what the company was doing to tackle climate change.

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.
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).
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.
Small companies (annual turnover below £10.2 million) were only required to meet part 1 in order to receive a best rating. Small companies that did not directly meet any criteria would receive a middle rating if they were offering an environmental alternative.
Companies of any size whose whole focus was climate change mitigation were also only required to meet part 1 to receive a best rating and would receive a middle rating if not directly meeting any criteria.

1. The company stated on its About Us page "We are committed to doing the least harm to the environment. Our company is carbon neutral, we also plant trees through Eden Reforestation Projects for the purpose of reforestation, agroforestry and reducing extreme poverty through the employment of local villagers." The company's FAQ page provide more detail, "Our entire operation is carbon neutral, meaning we have a net zero carbon footprint. Put simply, we offset any carbon footprint we have by working with Carbon Footprint to fund organisations which work to remove carbon from the atmosphere. We also contribute to the removal of carbon emissions through our partnership with Eden Reforestation Projects. The ecoLiving offices are run entirely on renewable energy sources, and we drive electric cars. At ecoLiving, we are committed to operating consciously and sustainably in every possible we can." Although the company covered some aspects of its carbon management, it failed to discuss energy efficiency, transportation of goods or the impact of its supply chain, it also appeared to rely heavily on carbon offsetting to achieve its goals without providing sufficient analysis of how this was being done responsibly. As such it did not meet requirement one.

2, 3 and 4. The company did not report on its scope 1, 2 or 3 emissions, nor did it have a carbon emissions reduction target.

Ecoliving was found to be a small company with an annual turnover below £10.2 million did not meet any of the above criteria therefore it received Ethical Consumer's middle rating for carbon management and reporting and lost half a mark under Climate Change.

Reference:

www.ecoliving.co.uk (26 April 2021)

On 26th April 2021, Ethical Consumer searched the Ecoliving and Boobalou websites for the company's policy on the use of the hazardous chemicals parabens, triclosan and phthalates. No such policy was found. Ethical Consumer also sent the company a questionnaire but no response was received.

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. No policy information was found which covered the company's entire product range. Some of Ecoliving's own-brand household and personal care products were listed as free from parabens, but no mention was found of phthalates or triclosan.

The company appeared to have no policies on the use of toxic chemicals in household and personal care products, therefore it lost a whole mark under Ethical Consumer's Pollution & Toxics category.

Reference:

www.ecoliving.co.uk (26 April 2021)

On 26th April 2021, Ethical Consumer searched the Ecoliving and Boobalou websites for information about whether the company had a policy against the use of microplastics and non-biodegradable 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 only.

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.

No policy statement was found although a blog article about microplastics was found on the Boobalou website. Some of the company's household and personal care products were listed as "biodegradable", however this did not appear to applied to all of the company's own-brand products. As such the company lost half a mark under Pollution & Toxics.

Reference:

www.ecoliving.co.uk (26 April 2021)

On 29th April 2021, Ethical Consumer viewed Ecoliving's website for the company's policy on timber sourcing. The company was found to retail many own-brand timber products such as washing up brushes and wooden toothbrushes. The company's 'sister company' Boobalou also retailed many own-brand timber products. The company lacked a clear timber sourcing policy. Some of its goods were FSC-certified but others were simiply listed as "sustainable" without any certification.
Ethical Consumer's timber sourcing ranking required companies scoring a 'best' to cover six of the below issues:
1. Having a timber sourcing policy that covers all timber and timber-derived products
2. the exclusion of illegal timber or that sourced from unknown sources and...
3. ...a discussion on how a company ensures/ implements this
4. clear targets for sourcing timber from sustainably managed sources
5. a discussion of a good minimum standard
6. preference given to certified sources
7. a discussion about tropical hardwoods (THW) and the percentage of THW sourced that are FSC certified
8. involvement with a multi-stakeholder initiative or bridging programme such as the World Wildlife Fund- Global Forest Trade Network
9. use of reclaimed or recycled wood/ paper
10. a high total percentage (50%+) of FSC certified timber sourced by the company.
As the company did not meet any of Ethical Consumer's requirements for a robust timber sourcing policy, it received a worst rating and lost a whole mark under Habitats & Resources as a result.

Reference:

www.ecoliving.co.uk (26 April 2021)

On 26th April 2021, Ethical Consumer searched the Ecoliving and Boobalou websites for information on Ecoliving's approach to palm oil. The company was also sent an Ethical Consumer questionnaire but no response was received.

All of the company's own-brand products were listed as palm oil free. No further information was found. The company did not specifically mention the use of derivatives, which were highly prevalent in household and personal care products. Ethical Consumer searched the company's product ingredient lists for evidence of common palm oil derivatives (palm, glyc, stear, laur), the company's Washing-Up Soap Bar was found to contain "naturally occurring glycerin". Although the product was labelled as palm oil free, the company did not specifically mention derivatives. As such it received a worst rating for palm oil and lost a whole mark in this category.

Reference:

www.ecoliving.co.uk (26 April 2021)