Our response to the recent Which? article

It's been a challenging week for our team. In their April Edition, Which? published a review of sustainable toilet rolls, where they suggested that our supply chain is not adequately controlled, and our bamboo products are not made from bamboo.

We want to assure all of our customers that we only use bamboo to make Naked Sprout bamboo products, and share this statement from our founder Leila:

"Myself & the team are incredibly disappointed to see the recent article in Which?, suggesting our amazing Naked Sprout bamboo toilet paper isn’t bamboo.

At Naked Sprout we go to significant lengths to ensure what we tell you and what we sell you is the very best – especially in terms of sustainability.

We’re aware the test done by Which? suggests that our bamboo toilet roll doesn’t contain any bamboo. So we wanted to take this opportunity to share a little about the test. And a lot about our methods to ensure our bamboo supply chain is robust.

So let’s start with the test.

There’s no perfect way right now of testing unbleached bamboo toilet paper. We’ve been looking for a test that’s accurate, reliable and implementable within our supply chain for a long time.

The problem is, unbleached bamboo can show very similar properties to softwood and hardwood. This makes visual recognition by the laboratory particularly difficult. Especially when, like us, you don’t bleach your toilet roll.

On the question around the validity and reliability of the test. Some of our competitors are calling it a “cop out” to challenge the results. But even the people that accredit the test admit that it has limitations and say ‘considerable variation in the precision is to be expected’ (source).

We have been reassured to see TAPPI’s recent statement that they would be open to developing a bamboo-specific fibre test and we've contacted their team to start the process of creating a specific peer-reviewed test method to add to their catalogue.

We understand that just because the test is unreliable we shouldn’t expect you to believe us when we say our toilet roll is bamboo.

We know that trust requires evidence.

Therefore, we are moving to a policy of radical transparency. So every one of our customers can see our Forest Stewardship Council (FSCC007915) independently verified, full supply chain data.

This means that you’ll be able to see exactly where our bamboo is grown, exactly how it comes to our factory, and exactly what goes into our products to produce your toilet paper. This will make us the first toilet roll brand to do so.

Over the next few weeks we will make our supply chain data easy to access and easy to understand. But in the meantime, here’s the raw data. We have it, so you should have it too.

We have a full lifecycle analysis of the carbon footprints of our products, in line with ISO14067. You can view this here. We would love for other companies to publish their lifecycle analysis to help consumers make informed choices.

Our factory is a B Corp. As well as ISO50001 compliant so you can trust us when we talk about our energy use. We have rigorous environmental management systems in place in line with ISO14001 and you can see proof of that too.

We strive to ensure independent verification in everything we do. From being a B Corp ourselves, to our supply chain and our production at a B Corp certified factory. At every stage, we at Naked Sprout aim to ensure everything we do is provable.

We will continue to ensure absolute transparency around our green claims & with our customers."

You can read our full response to the Which? article here.

Radical Transparency

Naked Sprout has committed to radical transparency. What is this approach to ethical business, and what will it look like for Naked Sprout? 

In business, radical transparency is an open approach to corporate information. Traditionally, businesses have kept their processes carefully guarded in an attempt to gain an advantage over competitors. In contrast, a radically transparent approach assumes that openness, in itself, builds resilience in a company and brings value to its customers and the wider community. 

If we were a software developer we'd be publishing our code, if we were a drinks manufacturer we'd be sharing our recipe. At Naked Sprout, we make environmentally friendly toilet rolls, so we're providing the details of the specific forests and recycling depots that our raw materials come from, the way that these raw materials travel, and the CO2e cost of every part of our operations.

In a way, it's what we'd already been doing. The detail that we provided in our Life Cycle Assessment, and the CO2e figures we're using to label our packaging have depended on an ethic of openness and accuracy in our reporting. Now the documentation and information we share with B Corp, the FSC, the Science-Based Targets Initiative and the scientists who carry out our Life Cycle Assessments will be shared with you, as well. 

Is there a better raw material we could be using? Is there a different way of transportation? Are there other glues or packing materials we should be aware of? We want to hear it all, and we want our customers and peers in the sustainable business community to be able to have meaningful input. The only way you can judge how well we are doing, and how we can do better, is if you can see everything. 

We would love to see other brands in our industry make the same shift, so we can learn from one another's processes, and continue to drive change in our sector.

For now, thank you for hearing us out. If you have any feedback about Naked Sprout, or any questions at all, you can reach us at hello@nakedsprout.uk

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