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Category Definitions

Within the broad areas of the environment, animals, people and politics we have a number of categories into which we place criticisms of companies:

ENVIRONMENT
Environmental Reporting
Nuclear Power
Climate Change
Pollution and Toxics
Habitats and Resources

ANIMALS
Animal Testing
Factory Farming
Other Animal Rights

PEOPLE
Human Rights
Workers' Rights
Supply Chain Policy
Irresponsible Marketing
Armaments

POLITICS
Political Activity
Boycott Call
Genetic Engineering
Anti-Social Finance
Company Ethos

PRODUCT SUSTAINABILITY
Organic Product
Fairly Traded Product
Positive Environmental Feature
Other Sustainability Features
Animal Welfare Features

Environment

Environmental Reporting
A whole circle indicates that the company or parent company:
i) did not respond to a request by ECRA for a copy of its environmental policy or report and did not display such a policy or report on its website, OR
ii) supplied to ECRA or displayed on its website an environmental policy or report which contained neither specific targets nor discussion of impacts specific to the company.
A half circle indicates that the company or parent company supplied to ECRA or displayed on its website an environmental policy or report which contained specific targets and/or discussion of impacts but:
i) was not dated within the last two years, OR
ii) failed to demonstrate a reasonable understanding of the company's main impacts,
OR
iii) was not independently verified.
A blank space indicates that the company or parent company:
i) supplied to ECRA or displayed on its website an environmental policy or report which
(a) contained specific time and performance targets, and
(b) which demonstrated a reasonable understanding of the company's main impacts, and
(c) was dated within the last two years, and
(d) was independently verified.
ii) is a small business specialising in the supply of products with low environmental impacts or which are of environmental benefit or which offer other social benefits.

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Nuclear Power
A large circle indicates that the company is involved in:
i) design, construction, decommissioning, ownership or operation of nuclear power stations, and/or
ii) nuclear fuel and related equipment - the mining, processing or reprocessing of uranium; nuclear fuel fabrication; fuel rods etc, and/or
iii) nuclear reactor products and services - such as nuclear reactors, reactor cores, neutron detectors, control rods, steam generator, and/or
iv) the transport of waste from the nuclear industry, and/or
v) membership of a nuclear power industry association such as British Nuclear Industry Forum and World Nuclear Association
A half circle indicates that the company is involved in:
i) production of other nuclear related equipment for example monitoring and testing equipment; electricity and communications cabling, insulation, seals; temperature and pressure measurement devices; gas and water analysers; air coolers, compressors, pumps, valves and IT products, and/or
ii) the supply of radioactive waste services such as treatment, handling and storage.

Climate Change
Negative ratings in this category indicate that the company has been criticised for involvement in sectors considered by Ethical Consumer to contribute significantly to climate change, such as fossil fuels, aviation, cars or cement, or that it has been criticised for having high levels of contribution to climate change emissions, by direct emissions, through its products, or by making misleading claims about climate change.

Pollution & Toxics
Negative ratings in this category indicate that a company has been prosecuted or criticised by government or campaign groups for emissions of toxic or damaging substances into the environment, AND/OR a company is involved in the manufacture or sale of chemicals or products containing chemicals which are a cause of concern because of their impacts on human and animal health and the environment (eg toxic or bioaccumulative chemicals, ozone depleting chemicals or pesticides and herbicides.)

Habitats and Resources
Negative ratings in this category indicate that a company has been criticised for activities which: destroy or damage the environment through unsustainable resource extraction and mining, or detrimental land use, OR destruction of specific habitats, depleting biodiversity and reducing the ability of ecosystems to renew themselves, including unsustainable fishing and forestry or impacting severely on the habitats and lives of endangered species.

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Animals


Animal Testing
A whole circle indicates that the company:
i) conducts or commissions tests on animals for non-medical products or ingredients, OR
ii) conducts or commissions tests on animals for medical products or ingredients, OR
iii) sells animal-tested cosmetics, toiletries or household products, OR
iv) operates in a sector where animal testing is common and has no written animal testing policy statement, or did not reply to our request for a copy of one, or sent us a policy with standards less stringent than those required for a half mark.
A half circle indicates that the company operates in a sector where animal testing is common and has a policy of not testing products or ingredients on animals, and of not commissioning such tests but does not have a fixed cut-off date (i.e. a specific date set by the company after which it will not use any new ingredients tested on animals).
A clear mark indicates that the company EITHER does not operate in a sector where animal testing is common OR operates in a sector where animal testing is common and has a fixed cut-off date policy.

Factory Farming
A whole circle indicates that the company:
i) is a factory farmer of meat, poultry (broilers and eggs), fish or fur, OR
ii) manufactures or supplies intensive farming equipment such as battery cages, beak trimmers, pig crates, OR
iii) supplies breeding stock, OR
iv) sells or processes meat, poultry (broilers and eggs) or fur that is not labelled as free range or organic
A half circle represents a lesser degree of involvement relative to the other companies on the table.

Other Animal Rights
A whole circle indicates that the company is:
i) a farmer of non-intensive or free range meat, poultry or fish
ii) a slaughterhouse owner or user of slaughterhouse by-products such as leather and gelatine
iii) involved in the supply of other products requiring the killing of animals such as fur, skin, and ambergris.
A half circle indicates that the company is:
i) a supplier of animal feedstuffs, OR
ii) is a dairy farmer or egg producer, OR
iii) in involved in the sale or processing of free range meat, poultry or fish, OR
iv) is involved other activities which lead to the suffering of animals such as zoos and circuses and the production of musk and civet.

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People

Human Rights

Our lowest rating, a whole circle, will indicate involvement in one or more of the following:
i) operations in six or more oppressive regimes taken from the list below
ii) human rights abuses, through any of the following:
a) the use of its equipment, staff or facilities in perpetrating human rights abuses
b) human rights abuses perpetrated by security forces associated with a company´┐Żs operations
c) involvement in projects that have proven links with human rights abuses
d) collaboration with a government and/or military in perpetrating human rights abuses
e) allegations of human rights abuses by company staff
iii) land rights abuses; specific instances where indigenous peoples have been or may be removed from their land, or whose livelihoods may be threatened, to facilitate corporate operations (either extant or planned)

A company will receive our middle rating, a half circle, if it has operations in two or more of the following regimes on our 2006 list of Oppressive Regimes: Belarus, Burma, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, China , Cote D'Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Guatemala, Haiti, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Laos, Lebanon, Libya, North Korea, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Togo, UAE, USA, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Zimbabwe. A company will not receive a mark in this column if all its products sourced from these regimes are marketed as fair trade. Our Oppressive Regimes listing has been compiled from different human rights and workers' rights reports. Our exact methodology was printed in the Jan/Feb 2006 issue of Ethical Consumer magazine and the report can be download as a pdf - Oppressive Regimes.

Workers’ Rights
A whole circle or half circle represents criticism of the company or its suppliers for infringement of workers’ rights, which includes: intimidation of workers by management; use of forced or slave labour; payment of wages below a level which is adequate to live on; a working week of over 48 hours; forced and/or excessive overtime; exploitative use of child labour; denial of the right to associate, form unions or bargain collectively; discrimination on the grounds of race, sex, sexuality or creed; the provision of inadequate or dangerous working conditions.

Supply Chain Policy
In industries where supply chains commonly stretch into low wage economies we expect companies to have developed a publicly available supply chain policy addressing workers' rights at supplier companies. We look for the following elements in each policy:
1) no use of forced labour
2) freedom of association
3) payment of a living wage
4) working week limited to 48 hours and 12 hours overtime
5) eliminations of child labour (under 15 years old)
6) no discrimination by race, sex etc
7) independent monitoring
Codes with all 7 clauses will receive the best rating.
4-6 clauses get a middle rating (half circle).
0-3 clauses or no code at all receive a worst rating (whole circle).

Irresponsible Marketing
A whole circle indicates marketing of products in a way that has been criticised for causing severe physical harm.
A half circle indicates marketing of products in a way that has been criticised as being detrimental to health.

Armaments
A whole circle represents involvement in the manufacture or supply of nuclear or conventional weapons including: ships, tanks, armoured vehicles and aircraft; weapons systems components; systems aiding the launch, guidance, delivery or deployment of missiles; fuel; computing; communications services.
A half circle represents the manufacture or supply of non-strategic parts for the military, not including food and drink.

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Politics

Political Activity
A whole circle indicates that the company has made a donation of £50,000 or more to a political party, either direct or indirect or in ‘soft money,’ in the last five years, or has membership of 3 or more lobby groups, or has directly lobbied governments or supranational institutions on trade liberalisation issues.
A half circle indicates membership of 2 or less lobby groups, or a donation of less than £50,000 to political parties in the last 5 years, or secondment of staff to political parties, governments or supranational institutions.
A lobby group is defined as a corporate lobby group which lobbies for free trade at the expense of the environment, animal welfare, human rights or health protection. A current list of such groups includes:
l American Chamber of Commerce/AMCHAM-EU l Bilderberg Group l Business Action for Sustainable Development l Business Round Table l European Round Table of Industrialists l European Services Forum l International Chamber of Commerce l Transatlantic Business Dialogue l Trilateral Commission l US Coalition of Service Industries l World Business Council for Sustainable Development l World Economic Forum
Boycott Call
A whole circle indicates that a boycott of the brand name featured in the report has been called somewhere in the world or a boycott of the entire company group has been called.
A half circle indicates that a boycott of one of the parent company’s subsidiaries or brands has been called somewhere in the world.
Genetic Engineering
A whole circle indicates involvement in:
i) the non-medical genetic modification of plants or animals, and/or
ii) gene patenting, and/or
iii) xenotransplantation.
A half circle indicates:
i) the manufacture or sale of non-medical products involving or containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and/or
ii) the manufacture or sale of non-medical products likely to contain GMOs and the lack of a clear company group-wide GMO free policy, and/or
iii) public statements in favour of the use of GMOs in non-medical products.
iv) the development or marketing of medical procedures or products involving genetic modification, which have been criticised on ethical grounds.

Anti-Social Finance
Ratings are based on criticisms for activities which are likely to impact negatively on the economic well-being of the societies that companies operate in. Such criticisms include: tax evasion and use of tax havens; bribery and corruption, insider share dealing, involvement in Third World debt, price fixing, irresponsible marketing of financial products, excessive directors' remuneration.

Company Ethos
This category is intended to draw the attention of consumers to companies who, by structural innovation or clear product policies, demonstrate an ethos committed to sustainability. We understand sustainability to include both environmental and social justice elements.
A large star may indicate a policy to only sell fairtrade products, to only sell organic products, or a combination of both of these.
A large star may also indicate a formalised not-for-profit trading structure.

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Product Sustainability

Organic Product
1 point indicates that the product is certified organic.
Fairly Traded Product
1 point indicates that the product is labelled with the Fairtrade Mark (UK) or equivalent FLOI symbol.
Half a point indicates that the product is marketed as fair trade.
Positive Environmental Features
1 point indicates that the product has been recommended by an independent environmental organisation, or that the product has received the TCO environmental label.
Half a point indicates that the product has received either an A+ (or better) EU Energy Label, the Blue Angel Label of the Nordic Swan label.
Other Sustainability Features
1 point indicates that the product embodies other significant sustainability feature.
Half a point indicates that the product embodies other less significant sustainability features.
Animal Welfare Features
1 point indicates that the product is certified by the Vegan or Vegetarian Society.
Half a point indicates that the product is marketed as vegan or vegetarian.

 


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