How do you really know if a brand you’re shopping with is sustainable and ethical? The truth is, often you don’t. They might have a page on their website dedicated to their sustainability efforts, but if this is written in layer upon layer of buzzwords it starts to feel a little like greenwashing – pulling the sustainability wool over consumers’ eyes.
At Natracare, our environmental and ethical policy is detailed on our website, but to improve our transparency, we’ve broken it down into a simpler, more digestible piece. Read on to learn about what our policy means for us, you, and the planet.
What is an environmental and ethical policy?
Our environmental and ethical policy helps to guide the decisions we make at Natracare. We’re a brand that’s committed to making our practices as sustainable and responsible as possible, and our policy helps to check we’re doing just that. It acts as a benchmark that we can judge ourselves against, and that you can judge us against too.
The environmental and ethical policy is split into three key sections:
- General principles
- Objectives and implementation of principles
There are seven general principles, which are pledges we make to guide all activities carried out by the company. They are to:
1. Take full account for environmental values in the specification and selection of raw materials and subcontracted manufacturers.
This means that when choosing the raw materials we use to make our products and the manufacturers we work with to have them made, we take full account and consider the environmental values of the materials and the processes of manufacturers. By environmental values, we refer to protecting the biodiversity of species, pollution control, and the landscape, as well as organic and vegan status. These factors help us to understand the environmental impact our materials and manufacturers have and make decisions to minimise it.
2. Take into account other agricultural and forest related economic, cultural, and social values, as well as the environmental impacts.
When choosing our raw materials, where they’re sourced, and manufacturers for Natracare products, we don’t only consider the impact of these decisions from an environmental perspective. We also consider the economic, cultural, and social impacts of our work, including the farming of our raw materials, right through to the people manufacturing the end products. This helps to ensure that the production of Natracare products is sustainable in all senses of the term – economically sustainable, socially and culturally sustainable, and environmentally sustainable.
3. Use full life cycle analysis to help minimise load on nature and have a soft footprint approach to product development.
This principle means that we will always consider the entire lifecycle of a product when making decisions or developing new products. We do this because we believe we’re responsible for the entire life cycle of our products, not just for the time that they’re in use. We analyse their life cycle to ensure we can spot and action ways we could reduce the trace we’re leaving on the planet – from the making of a Natracare product, to the way it is used, and then to the way it is disposed of.
4. Maintain biodiversity and the functions of affected ecosystems in accordance to internationally and nationally approved principles.
Keeping and promoting both biodiversity and the ability for entire ecosystems to function and flourish is a priority for us at Natracare. This is why we follow standards and principles set across the globe to maintain biodiversity and ecosystems. This includes organic agricultural and fibre standards – the materials we use are rigorously tested through multiple award and certification bodies like the Soil Association and GOTS.
5. Source raw materials and manufacture products in an effective, ecologically sustainable, and economical manner.
When sourcing our materials and producing Natracare products, we consider how to make our processes as effective, sustainable, and economical as possible. This is because we want to minimise our impact on the planet and ensure we’re able to provide plastic free options at an affordable price.
6. Take responsibility for preserving the environment and for following the principles of organic sustainable development.
We want to be held accountable for our actions and know that the responsibility is often on brands to create practices that are kinder to the planet.
7. Take full account of the responsibility for maintaining Human Rights protocol for the entire Supply Chain.
Outside of ecological sustainability, we also ensure that any employees associated with the supply chain of Natracare products are afforded their Human Rights. We take full responsibility for ensuring that this is the case.
Objectives and implementation of principles
In order to be sure we can meet the seven principles above in our work at Natracare, we have set guidelines to adhere to. They are:
1. All agricultural sources of raw materials must be GMO free, preferably organic, and ISO certified or meet similar standards of good manufacturing practice. Forests and forestry products must be minimum PEFC, preferably FSC certified.
This guideline clearly states the minimum standard we set for our agricultural and forestry sources of raw materials. Without these minimum standards, we will not acquire or use raw materials from these sources.
2. Raw materials must be sourced as close to the places in which they are processed, manufactured, and distributed as possible.
We intend to minimise traffic and pollution caused by our product lifecycle as possible, by eliminating travel over excessive, unnecessary distances.
3. All processors of raw materials and manufacturers used by Natracare must adhere to good environmental standards.
We define good environmental standards as: using as few harmful chemicals as possible, emitting as little pollution as possible, disposing sensibly of waste in as ecologically friendly a way as possible and not testing any products on animals. It’s also preferred that they meet certified organic standards.
4. All products developed by Natracare must consist only of vegan ingredients and must not be tested on animals.
We see no reason why our products should be tested on animals or contain animal-derived ingredients. That’s why we ensure our products are all vegan and cruelty free.
Have a vegan period
A vegan lifestyle doesn’t have to start and end with your diet. Our products are all vegan too – from wipes to period products.
5 . Packaging of Natracare products must be free from petroleum-based plastics unless the safety or preservation of the product is at risk. Packaging must be compostable, or recyclable, and made from plant-derived or recycled materials wherever possible.
Similarly, our products shouldn’t add to non-recyclable, non-biodegradable waste – including the packaging they come in. Which is exactly why they won’t! All Natracare packaging is either compostable or recyclable.
6. Initial sales, marketing, and distribution of Natracare products by Bodywise (UK) Ltd should be managed from an in-house position and be carried out as efficiently as possible.
By efficiently, we mean: energy consumption must be kept to a minimum and ideally sourced from a “green” supplier, waste should be recycled where possible and otherwise disposed of in a way that causes the minimum necessary environmental damage, offices must not be located in a place where their presence will cause disruption or damage to the environment.
7. Natracare must actively co-operate and openly communicate with authorities, researchers, customers, and other interested groups to take account of the latest information available that allows the company to continually improve its environmental policies and practices.
Where the opportunity for us to improve our practices at Natracare, we will explore and take it, co-operating with any third parties with information that will help us to do so.
8. Contractors, the Supply Chain, and personnel should be trained, monitored, and evaluated to ensure they are familiar and in compliance with the company’s operating principles.
Anybody we work with at Natracare must know and understand the seven principles listed above, including how to meet them in their work. It is our responsibility to provide training and information to facilitate this, as well as monitoring and evaluating their ability to meet the principles.
It would be easy for brands to make claims like we have above once and never check in with how well they’re achieving them, only to fall back into unsustainable ways. That’s why we also make sure to monitor our work to maintain awareness of our principles and guidelines, and to assess areas of potential improvement. To monitor, we:
- Examine and verify the origins of raw materials and the manufacturing practices of sub-contractors annually.
- Set, monitor, and update operational and environmental objectives annually to support continued improvement to our practices. Targets should be set for achieving these objectives.
- Work to achieve external certifications that speak to the sustainability of our products. We’ve acquired and maintain an EPD (Environmental Product Declaration) which demonstrates a full life cycle analysis for the period pads, compostability certification, organic certification and the Nordic Ecolabel, which has the commission to promote a more sustainable consumerism with the goal of creating a sustainable society.
- Are independently audited by animal welfare organisations, e.g. the Vegetarian Society, to validate our cruelty-free processes.
- Regularly conduct full and thorough Supply Chain Analyses to monitor issues which include Human Rights and the adherence to key conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO).
Have you got any more questions about our environmental and ethical policy you want answered? Ask us in the comments below or contact us for more information.