Dutch Wholesaler De Nieuwe Band chooses Sonett and Bioclean and stops with Ecover

Press release De Nieuwe Band March 2015

As you are used from us, for over 30 years we have chosen for products that are good for mankind and nature. That is why we completely work with products from organic (and biodynamic) agriculture where organic needs to go hand in hand with durability on the social and environmental area. This often challenges us in making our choices.

Recently we have decided to delist all products from Ecover per 1 November. That has not been an easy choice. It is a complex matter and in the first instance this choice will be accompanied with loss of turnover. Yet we do unambiguously choose for brands that match with our principles like Sonett and Bioclean. With these brands we still offer you a complete range of cleaning products that take nature and the environment more into account.

Ecover and synthetic biology
Crucial for our choice to only work with Sonett and Bioclean, are the advanced plans from Ecover to start using an algae oil that is made by the way of synthetic biology (syn bio) (international environmentalist groups also call this ‘extreme genetic manipulation’). This algae oil is meant to be a cheaper alternative for palm oil and coconut oil and according to Ecover it is supposed to be more durable. However, according to a large group of environmental organisations (*1) it is far from natural and threatens the biodiversity on earth. Furthermore Brazilian non-organic monoculture cane sugar is uses as ‘host’ for these algae. Besides that, environmental organisations claim that there are too few guarantees that this won’t result in further deforestation of the rainforests in the Amazon region. These environmental organisations have requested Ecover to stop with this. When discussions with Ecover proved fruitless, this summer they have made an online petition which in no time was signed by tens of thousands of consumers. Subsequently Ecover has postponed the introduction of this algae oil to spring 2015.
It adorns Ecover that they have postponed the introduction. However, according to the environmental organisations their main motivation for this step is to deploy a public offensive in order to get synthetic biology accepted instead of refraining from this technology. On a meeting of syn bio companies (including Ecovers supplier Solazyme) in May this year they discussed the possibilities of having consumers accepting syn bio. The current name should have to change because synthetic biology raises unpleasant associations. Several alternative names came forward like ‘natural’ and ‘obtained by fermentation’ because these names suggest that it is a natural process.

Ecover no certification label
Brands like Sonett and Bioclean have amply overtaken Ecover in the field of durability and environmental friendliness. In the beginning of 2000 the Ecogarantie-label is founded to counteract the proliferation of claims of green detergents (e.g. Klok European Ecolabel) and to wield controllable strict standards. Almost all well-known pioneer brands (like Sonett, Bioclean, Sodasan) have deliberately chosen for the standards of this certification label (*2). Initially Ecover was also involved in setting the standards, but pulled out because they could not comply with the stricter requirements with regards to the use of natural ingredients and production techniques.

Ecover partially contains petrochemical raw materials
Ecover products partly contain synthetic perfumes and petrochemical detersive surfactants like natriumlaurylethersulfate and 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol (*3). In addition, the question remains how natural the production process of the enzymes Ecover uses is.
Besides that, enzymes have the disadvantage that they remain behind as residue in clothing and can be harmful for the skin. As it possibly harms the skin fat and skin protein, allergic reactions can occur.