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.