The Synergy Lab
Find out more about how we make our products in the Synergy Lab.take a look
We've answered some common questions about the Naturally Powered range below. If
you can't find your question, email
us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our helpline: 0845 072 4540.
- 1What is combination technology? Show answer
Our team of laboratory scientists found that using small amounts of several ingredients gave a much better cleaning performance – rather than using a lot of one single ingredient. This clever mix of ingredients is what we call 'Combination technology' and the way in which the ingredients work together is a 'Synergy'.
- 2What plants were used to create the Naturally Powered range? Show answer
Our formulas contain all sorts of natural goodies, including essential oils like citrus, eucalyptus, pine and orange; and ingredients derived from plants such as corn, wheat, coconut, palm kernel and potato.
- 3Where is the Naturally Powered range made? Show answer
All Naturally Powered products are manufactured in the UK.
- 4How have you made sure it performs as well as the leading brand? Show answer
All our products were developed by formulation chemists, who selected the best ingredients to give the performance you expect from cleaning products. They were then tested by an external laboratory, giving us independent data that Naturally Powered performs as well or better than the leading brands. Finally, every product was sent to 100 customers for testing – without any indication of what brand the product was. For each product, the customers rated Naturally Powered as good as or better than the leading brands.
- 5What about your eco credentials? Show answer
We have based the products on plant-derived cleaning ingredients and added some mineral and synthetic ingredients where necessary to give the required performance.
We worked closely with leading, independent environmental consultants ERM. They assessed the environmental impacts of the ingredients in each product formulation as well as the packaging. The assessment showed that Naturally Powered products are at least as good, if not better than other 'eco' brands and typical mainstream leading products for environmental performance.
Due to our deliberate choice to use plant-based ingredients where possible, we have made a conscious 'trade off' in environmental impacts for a few of the Naturally Powered products. For some of them, while they are still as good as or better than the mainstream brands on climate change and fossil fuel depletion, they didn't perform quite as well on environmental impacts on water. Plant-based ingredients can have greater environmental impacts on water use and water pollution (from irrigating, fertilising and protecting plants) than non-renewable, fossil fuel-derived ingredients. We have made this conscious trade-off, as we believe it is better for long-term sustainability to use renewable ingredients where possible.
- 6How did ERM do this? Show answer
ERM analysed data on the sourcing and amounts of each ingredient for every Naturally Powered product. They assessed the environmental impact from obtaining and processing those ingredients against eight different measures covering climate change; water use and water pollution; air pollution; land and soil pollution; and depletion of non-renewable resources. They then made an assessment of the typical 'eco' and mainstream brands available in a comparable way to provide a comparison of the environmental impacts.
- 7What were the different measures and why did you choose them? Show answer
We assessed environmental impacts using the following eight categories:
1. Climate change This is a measure of the impact from man-made emissions that can cause heat to be trapped in the Earth’s atmosphere, causing the surface temperature to rise. These emissions include carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O), among others.
2. Water depletion This is a measure of the volume of water used in the production of the product. This includes water required for the irrigation of crops.
3. Fossil depletion This is a measure of the impact from extracting and consuming non-renewable natural resources such as fossil fuels.
4. Particulate matter formation This is a measure of all the small particulate matter (covering particles with a diameter smaller than 10 micrometers) that can be released to the atmosphere through natural and man-made processes, such as the combustion of fuel. Due to their small size, particulate matter is able to penetrate the respiratory system and cause health problems in people and have negative effects on plants.
5. Photochemical oxidant formation This is a measure of non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC) that play a key role in the formation of ozone gas at ground level. Motor vehicle exhaust, industrial emissions and chemical solvents are the major man-made sources of these chemicals. While ozone in the high atmosphere shields the earth from the sun’s harmful radiation, ozone at ground level can affect human health and can damage plants and crops.
6. Freshwater eutrophication This is a measure of nutrient pollution in aquatic ecosystems leading to excess microbial consumption (eg algae blooms) that, in turn, results in oxygen depletion.
7. Freshwater ecotoxicity This is a measure of the impact that chemicals emitted to the water environment by human activity have on the health of our rivers, lakes and seas.
8. Terrestrial acidification This is a measure of the impact from acids that are emitted to the atmosphere and deposited in water and soil. The acids arise from air pollutants, such as sulphur dioxide (SOx) and nitrogen oxides (NOx), generally released in combustion from power stations and vehicles.
We chose these eight categories as they are the most relevant to the environmental impacts that household cleaning products and their ingredients are likely to cause during their lifecycle – from extraction of raw materials through production and use in the home to their ultimate end-of-life impacts in sewage systems. We took this approach because we wanted to understand the lifecycle of Naturally Powered and give you clear reassurances that using these products will reduce the overall impact on the environment that you have when cleaning your home.
- 8How does the range support the production of sustainable palm oil? Show answer
The cleaning ingredients in the range are derived from a range of plant sources including palm. The palm used is palm kernel oil, which is a by-product of the extraction of palm oil. Where palm kernel oil is used in the Naturally Powered eco range, namely in the surfactants that provide the cleaning power, we only use GreenPalm certificatified palm oils. This means that the manufacture of our products supports the cultivation and production of sustainable palm oil by paying a premium for every tonne of oil to the palm oil producers that are operating within the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil's (RSPO) strict guidelines for social and environmental responsibility. Moreover, these producers have been independently audited to verify compliance with these guidelines.
- 9Why are some of the products fragranced and are they natural? Show answer
The ingredients used to make the products have a smell of their own and would not leave clothes, plates or surfaces smelling fresh. Therefore we have chosen to add a small percentage of fragrance to the products apart from the fragrance-free fabric conditioner.
We have used a mixture of natural and synthetic fragrances. We use synthetic fragrances mainly in our laundry and washing-up products, as they less likely to cause an allergic reaction and we have ensured, where relevant, the products have been dermatologically tested.
- 10Why is there a bio laundry range? Show answer
Biological detergents include enzymes, which are produced naturally by micro-organisms. Enzymes help boost performance of the detergents on starch, protein and fat stains.
- 11The detergents include optical brighteners.
Aren't these harmful to skin and damaging to the environment?Show answer
Optical brighteners coat fabric in a reflective surface, making whites appear whiter. We have chosen to include them as they help provide the best performance. They are made from petrochemical sources, but are included in very small percentages. We have ensured that the optical brighteners included are biodegradable and used dermatological testing to make sure they are safe to the skin.