Last updated: January 2015
What's the difference between Sainsbury's and ASDA?
Guns and more...
Here we take a dive into some of the data behind our recent report on supermarkets and introduce our range of consumer tools.
Our main product report (you can find that here) looks at whether the need to compete with Aldi and Lidl is forcing other UK supermarkets to abandon what little ethical progress they've made.
We'll focus on one surprising result of the research, that Sainsbury's is sitting so near the bottom of the table.
Let’s begin with the basic, un-customised score table:
The whole sector scores badly - as a rule of thumb any score below 10 is poor.
It's no big surprise to see the three at the top, but one thing really stands out, Sainsbury's score is very low.
For a supermarket that trades on a more ethical image (it's the biggest stocker of Fairtrade products in the UK), you might not expect it to be worse on ethics than Tesco or Aldi.
A more detailed view
If we expand the table then we can see that Sainsbury’s performs badly across nearly the whole range of categories and topics:
One of the few thing that roots Asda to the bottom, below Sainsbury's, is having a full mark deducted under ‘Arms & Military Supply’.
If we click on the big circle we discover why; its parent company sells weapons:
There is one area where Sainsbury's actually scores worse than ASDA - supply chain management.
Surprisingly ASDA scores a best rating here where as Sainsbury's gets a middle rating.
Again if you click on the circle you read the detailed research behind the scoring .
Those at the top, Co-op and Marks and Spencer, score a best rating in this category.
Tough at the top
Its also worth comparing Sainsbury's to those at the top of the table more closely and look at some other points of difference.
- Sainsbury's score a middle rating for their environmental reporting. The top three score a best mark.
- It scores half marks across three categories for its use of uncertified palm oil. Waitrose for example sources 100% sustainable palm oil in own brand products.
- It also scores our worst rating for tax avoidance whereas the Co-op and Waitrose score best.
So those are the general ratings, but what about particular concerns we might have?
Let’s see what happens if we customise these scores.
Let’s give maximum importance to 'Environment' by moving that slider to the right:
Wow! The top four are unchanged, but all the others, including Sainsbury's now score zero and are lined up in alphabetical order.
Let’s do the same with 'Animals':
Let’s have a closer look at what areas are giving these scores.
Under ‘Animals’ we have animal testing, factory farming and animal rights.
What if factory farming is less of an issue for me?
Below we see what happens if we put ‘Factory Farming' to zero.
Sainsbury's the company
Let’s find out a little more about Sainsbury's as a company.
If we click on the brand name in the score card it will take us to the company overview page:
Here you can see that they are part owned by a sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority!
You can also send an email to Sainsbury's (or any of the other poorly performing companies) directly from the site using the brickbat tool.
This allows you to send a personalised message to the company.