In April 2021, Ethical Consumer sent Bentley Organics Ltd a questionnaire, requesting information about the company’s environmental reporting. No response was received. Ethical Consumer therefore searched the company’s website for publicly available information. No report could be found.

The ‘About us’ section of the website stated that "we stand by two key philosophies; firstly that all products are Soil Association certified as a guarantee to our consumers of their organic integrity. And secondly that we are ‘Of the Earth, not costing the Earth’, as an integrated manufacturer and supplier we are able to offer our customers a better value product – we believe organic products should be reasonably, not premium, priced".

In addition, it stated that Soil Association certification meant that products were: "Not tested on animals and do not contain ingredients of animal origin; Parabens free; GMO free; Do not contain SLS or SLES; Free from petro-chemicals"

As a company with a turnover under £10.2million which offered an environmental alternative, the company was awarded an exemption in this category and therefore received Ethical Consumer's best rating for Environmental Reporting.

Reference:

bentleyorganic.com (26 April 2021)

On 3rd May 2021, Ethical Consumer viewed the Bentley Organic 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.

1. No mention was found on the company's website regarding carbon emissions, energy efficiency, renewable energy, transportation or the sourcing of raw materials.

2, 3 and 4. The company had not published any data regarding its carbon emissions or published a target to reduce its emissions in line with international agreements.

The company was a small company providing organic certified cosmetic and household cleaning products, as such it was judged to be offering an environmental alternative. It did not meet any of Ethical Consumer's rating criteria for carbon management and reporting, therefore it received Ethical Consumer's middle rating and lost half a mark under Climate Change.

Reference:

bentleyorganic.com (26 April 2021)

On 3rd May 2021, Ethical Consumer searched the Bentley Organic website for the company's policy on the use of microplastics and non-biodegradable liquid polymers. The company was also sent a questionnaire but did not respond.

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.

A recent report by Code Check found that 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.

The company's website stated "Soil Association certification means that our products are: Free from petro-chemicals" . Although no specific mention was made of microplastics or non-biodegradable liquid polymers these substances were derived from petro-chemicals and were therefore believed to be covered by this policy statement.

The company was considered to have a positive policy approach to the use of microplastics and non-biodegradable liquid polymers.

Reference:

bentleyorganic.com (26 April 2021)

In April 2021 Ethical Consumer sent Bentley Organics a questionnaire, requesting information about the company’s approach to the use of the chemicals parabens, triclosan and phthalates. No response was received. Ethical Consumer therefore searched the company’s website in for publicly available information.

Triclosan is an antibacterial and is a suspected endocrine disruptor. Parabens are also endocrine disruptors and have been linked to breast cancer and 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.

All of the company’s products were certified organic by the Soil Association. It stated that as a result its products were paraben free and did not contain SLS or SLES or petro-chemicals.

The Soil Association website listed parabens and phthalates as ingredients that may be in non-organic cosmetics.

Ethical Consumer assumed the company continued to not use triclosan (confirmed in previous communications in 2017) as no evidence of it could be found on its website.

Overall the company received Ethical Consumer's best rating on toxics and was not marked down in this category.

Reference:

bentleyorganic.com (26 April 2021)

On 26th April 2021, Ethical Consumer sent Bentley Organics Ltd a questionnaire, requesting information about the company’s palm oil sourcing policy. No response was received. Ethical Consumer therefore searched the company’s website for publicly available information.

The FAQ section of the website stated "some Bentley Organic products contain palm oil. The palm oil we use is certified organic and comes from a sustainable source in Columbia." No further information could be found and Bentley Organic was not listed as a member of the RSPO.

Although all of the company’s palm oil appeared to be certified organic, it failed to specifically mention palm oil derivatives, which are commonly used in the personal care industry. Ethical Consumer searched the company's website for words (palm, glyc, stear, laur) that could indicate that it used palm oil derivatives. The company's HydraVitality Conditioner product was found to contain Glyceryl Stearate SE and Cetyl Palmitate, both of which were not listed as organically certified.

As the company appeared to use non-certified palm oil derivatives without a narrative to justify this, it received a worst rating for its palm oil policy and lost a whole mark in this category.

Reference:

bentleyorganic.com (26 April 2021)