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Sustainability

Trusted Reviews maintains that Global Warming is not a myth as a core company value and endeavors to factor the impact we as a business and the products we review have on the planet into everything we do.

As a part of this we send every company making products we review a questionnaire designed to gauge its sustainability. The answers we receive will be displayed on the review, making it clear to readers what measures have been taken to reduce the product’s impact on the environment. In the event we do not have the answers a placeholder text will be used saying we are waiting to hear back from the firm.

No product is ever going to be perfect and the work will be ongoing but it’s our hope that this will help improve the transparency around the impact consumer tech has on the environment. As an added benefit, we also hope it will at the very least get the companies involved asking the questions, even if they don’t have the answers straight away.

The questionnaire is based on research done on key topics including the right to repair, European Energy grading and sustainable design guidance as well as interviews with experts from the industry leading sources, including Business Green.

They focus on five key areas: the materials used, the supply chain making it, its repairability and recyclability. Those that meet set standards will be offered accredited badges from Trusted Reviews which can be used for marketing purposes.

At launch these will include badges for 3 key categories:

  • Using sustainable materials
  • Repairability
  • Recyclability

Products that secure all three of these will be awarded an overarching “Sustainability” badge. You can see what the badges will look like in the image below. You can see what the badges look like in the image below.

These questions are a work in progress that we will continually update based on the latest research, science and guidance around sustainable product development and environmental best practice. If you have any suggestions or questions please contact Trusted Reviews Editor-in-Chief, Alastair Stevenson (alastair.stevenson@trustedreviews.com). In all instances we ask the companies to provide evidence supporting the answers provided.

You can see a full breakdown of the questions we currently ask below.

Company questions

These questions apply to the companies’ overarching sustainability practices and over a holistic view of what measures are being taken.

  1. Do you have an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) or equivalent public product sustainability policy? If so, please share it.
  2. Are you a carbon neutral company, if not do you have a roadmap to become one?
  3. To the best of your knowledge is every employee in your company on a living wage? If so, provide what accreditation you use to determine this (example: https://www.livingwage.org.uk/)
  4. To the best of your knowledge does your supply chain pay employees a living wage under the same criteria?
  5. Does the company have a net zero target in place?
  6. What supply chain policies does the company have in place to avoid the sourcing of conflict minerals and guard against human rights violations?
  7. Does the company disclose environmental data through the CDP platform?
  8. Does the company have a 100 per cent renewable energy sourcing commitment in place?

Materials used

The purpose of this section is specific to the product being reviewed. The goal is to ascertain what measures have been taken to use sustainably sourced, recycled materials in the product.

  1. What proportion of the materials used have been responsibly sourced? (Please include as detailed stats as possible for plastic, metal etc and address the below points).
  2. What proportion of the metal used was recycled?
  3. What proportion of the plastics used were recycled?
  4. What proportion of the materials were responsibly sourced?
  5. For example: Does it use reclaimed, post-industrial grades of plastic instead of virgin materials when possible?
  6. Is the product made from renewable resources?
  7. What percentage of the materials used are biodegradable?
  8. Is the packaging biodegradable?
  9. Is the product’s packaging responsibly sourced?

Repairability

Trusted Reviews believes tech shouldn’t be thrown away the moment something goes wrong. Products should be easily repairable and receive company support for as long as possible. This section of the questions focuses on what guarantees are being made to ensure this on the specific product being reviewed.

  1. How long will the product be officially supported with software and security updates?
  2. How long is it guaranteed to be covered by an official repair policy?
  3. Can all parts of the device be replaced or upgraded using publicly available tools?
  4. Are replacement parts readily available to the general public?
  5. Does home repair void the product’s warranty?

Recyclability

The purpose of this section is to establish what efforts have been made to ensure the product can be safely and sustainably disposed of.

  1. How many of the components/what materials used can be fully recycled?
  2. Are any components or parts permanently attached/unremovable to the point they cannot be recycled?
  3. Do you have an official recycling programme customers can use to ethically dispose of the product?
  4. Does your company offer incentives (cash on a new device etc) for people to recycle their old device?
  5. Is the packaging recyclable?

Supply chain

Though we don’t offer a badge for the supply chain questions, we believe they are a key factor that readers should be aware of which is why we still ask what measures have been taken to ensure it is as sustainably run as possible.

  1. Have you undertaken a carbon foot-printing exercise for the product?
  2. To the best of your knowledge, was it manufactured using ethically sourced labour?
  3. Does the product use any hazardous chemicals or materials that cannot be recycled or need specialist disposal? If so, what are they?
  4. How much electrical and chemical waste is produced manufacturing the product?

FAQs

Why is Trusted asking questions about sustainability on every review?

Consumer tech is far from green at the moment, despite great work from some parts of the industry. We want to help increase transparency on what work has been done and get every company we review products from thinking about how to diminish the industry’s impact on the planet.

Do the badges mean a product is 100% sustainable?

No, our badges use criteria that rewards companies making steps in the right direction. There are currently very few, next to zero, companies in consumer tech with a completely neutral, 100% sustainable footprint.

What is Trusted Reviews as a business doing about its own carbon footprint?

We’re in the midst of looking at our own business practices in a bid to practice what we preach. We’ll update this page when we have more concrete details to share.

Do you make money off the badges?

The badges are given if the company meets our sustainability criteria regardless of if they’ve paid for them. We do charge businesses to use them for marketing purposes however. Any business looking to do this after receiving an award should contact chris.walsh@trusetdreviews.com.

Why trust our journalism?

Founded in 2004, Trusted Reviews exists to give our readers thorough, unbiased and independent advice on what to buy.

Today, we have millions of users a month from around the world, and assess more than 1,000 products a year.

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Editorial independence

Editorial independence means being able to give an unbiased verdict about a product or company, with the avoidance of conflicts of interest. To ensure this is possible, every member of the editorial staff follows a clear code of conduct.

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Professional conduct

We also expect our journalists to follow clear ethical standards in their work. Our staff members must strive for honesty and accuracy in everything they do. We follow the IPSO Editors’ code of practice to underpin these standards.