Tesco: Company Profile

Tesco is the UK's largest supermarket chain.

From sales of live turtles in China to the treatment of suppliers, the company has been the target of many campaigns over its approach to business. Tesco say they are doing all they can on sustainability but how do the company's ethics really stack up? 

Last updated: July 2015

Annual Revenue£63.55 billion a year


Other BrandsGiraffe, Blinkbox.


Company Score2.5 out of 20




Ethical Consumer Best Buy?No


Ethical issues by category

In 2015 the company scored an Ethical Consumer best rating for its supply chain management.

In 2014 however, Who Profits reported that Tesco in September 2012 sold produce supplied by the Hadiklaim company, which grew and exported produce from the occupied Jordan Valley and Golan Heights, an area with well documented human and workers rights abuses.

The company also failed to have a cocoa sourcing policy despite child labour being rife in the sector, or a conflict minerals policy. In addition Tesco had been the target of protests over its use of the Workfair program in the UK.


In 2014 the company received a worst rating from Ethical Consumer for its lack of policy on the use of toxic chemicals in the manufacture of textiles. However the company did have a best rating for the use of palm oil, with a commitment to only source sustainable palm oil. In addition it scored a middle rating for both its timber sourcing policy and environmental reporting. 

The company retails factory farmed meat and non free range eggs. The company scored a middle rating on animal testing, as it did not test own brand products on animals but did sell other branded products from companies that did still test on animals.

Concerns were raised by a number of shareholder groups in 2015 after Tesco’s remuneration report revealed that the company paid £4.13m in bonuses and salary to its chief executive Dave Lewis, for his first six months’ work, and a £1.2m payout to his predecessor who oversaw diving sales and profits.

In 2015 Ethical Consumer gave Tesco a worst rating for the likely use of tax avoidance strategies. The company had two joint ventures which were property investment companies based in Jersey, and a company based in the British Virgin Islands in which Tesco held 20%. 

The company also had many subsidiaries in tax havens, including one in Jersey, one in Hong Kong and four in Luxembourg, which Ethical Consumer considered likely to be used as part of a tax avoidance strategy.

In Depth Information

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