Quick Guide to using Ethical Consumer



Ethics made easy - a simple way to find the products that reflect your principles.


Ethical Consumer is more than just the UK's leading ethical and environmental consumer magazine .

Our website holds information on over 40,000 companies, brands and products, with information and analysis to help you choose the most ethical products and services whenever you need them and where ever you are. 


You are unique, so are your ethics

Everybody has their own unique set of ethics and beliefs, so we've developed cutting-edge website tools which make for the world's most sophisticated and convenient ethical rating system. 



In just a few simple steps you can personalise our product guides to produce a shopping list that accurately reflects the issues that are most important to you - be that animal testing, climate change, sweatshop labour, GM crops, palm oil or whatever.

Take a few minutes to see watch the video above to see how our personal website tools work, then try it for yourself. Our Laptops product guide and Booksellers product guide are both freely available. 



Image: Score table


At your fingertips are more than 150 Product Guides, on products and services from bread to bank accounts, each with a score table of ethical ratings, best buy recommendations, and a written product report with links and references.

On the basic score table each product we've reviewed is rated from 0 - 20 marks.

0 is the worst possible rating, and 20 is the best. The score is calculated by how it rates against our 19 ethical rating categories.

Our ethical ratings are of the whole company behind the brand, not just the brand. So a vegetarian product may get marked down in the Animal Rights category because the company that owns it also makes meat products.

After all, isn’t it better to buy a cruelty-free product from a company that doesn’t test its other items on animals, or recycled toilet paper from a firm that isn’t cutting down virgin forests for its other ranges? A company-based approach allows consumers to influence decisions company wide. It also highlights those firms that try and promote themselves as ethical, while at the same time being involved in activities that might concern many customers.


The ground-breaking sliders next to our live score tables let you personalise the company rankings by adjusting the relative weighting of the five ethical ratings categories. 


A good way to watch how the sliders work is to set all five sliders to zero by moving them to the far left. All the companies will now automatically score 14 marks and sort themselves alphabetically:

Image: Scoretable sliders

score table with ethical ratings set to zero

Next, gradually introduce your most important issue by moving the slider to the far right with your cursor. You can now see which company falls down the list – and which moves up to the top. You can move the different sliders about to personalise these ratings.


Example 1 - Environmental Ethics

So for example if you feel that environmental issues are the most important issue to you, begin by setting all five sliders to zero on the far left. Next move the Environment slider to the far right. You can now see that the company scores have changed which in turn have affected the rankings of the companies: 

Image: Example Sliders


Example 2 - Human Rights

On the other hand if you're most concerned about human rights then no problem. Again set all five sliders to zero and then move the People slider to the far right. As before you can now see that the company scores have changed which in turn have affected the rankings of the companies:

ethical score table set to People

Image: Human Rights sliders

So why do the company scores change just because the sliders are moved?

The relative position of the sliders change the company scores simply because every company has a unique ethical and environmental record. 

For example some companies may have a good policy on climate change but have a poor record on workers' rights. Others may have a bad record on animal rights but make a product with which is highly energy efficient. 

Our sliders takes the hard work out of deciding which product best reflects your own personal ethics and beliefs.



Refining your personal scores

You may have noticed the + sign next to each category name. Clicking on this expands your options to personalise the ratings. 

Image: Environmental ratings


So for example under environment, you may be most concerned about climate change.



Saving your personalised weightings

Subscribers can permanently save their personalised weightings which will be used to calculate their personalised scores across the whole site.


Click on 'More Detail' on the scoretable to see the more detailed Scorecard. This shows the 'black marks' for each product, by category. The bigger the mark, the worse the score.

So for example a big black circle  under 'Worker Rights' shows that the company making this product has been severely criticised for worker abuses:

fully expanded scorecard

Image: More Detail example


Delve deeper into our data by clicking on a Brand name on the Score table.

This will take you to a Product page where you can see in more detail how we have rated a product. Again, you can use the sliders to customise the scores you see.

Click on a story under Category Scores (like in the table shown here) to see one of the research references.


Image: Example of stories

If you click on the name of the Company which owns the product, you'll be taken to the Company Details page. Here you can find company information and more research references.

You can also send a Brickbat or Bouquet...


part of the company details page for Amazon

This is a one-click tool for sending an email to the company, either praising or damning them for their ethics. 

We have created a generic email which you can edit, and even send a copy to yourself.

This kind of feedback is a powerful tool in getting companies to change how they operate.







Our back issue catalogue has pdf versions of every Magazine issue since May 2008.

These cost £4.25 each or are free to Subscribers.


The site search at the top of each page has 3 different search options:

site search boxpic of Site Search Box




  • Site: searches the whole site, for freely available content
  • Product: searches only for individual product details (only available to subscribers)
  • Companies: searches only for companies and takes you to the company data page (only available to subscribers)



Consumer Boycotts

Want to know which companies are being boycotted? The Boycotts section includes the only list of active consumer boycotts. You'll also find a wealth of other information.


Ethical Shopping

Being an ethical consumer is about rewarding good companies as much as boycotting the bad. This new Ethical Shopping section has tips, guides, and information on our best buy label and new ethical business directory.


Comment and Analysis

All of the features from the Magazine are here, usually from 6 months after they are first published. The Comment & Analysis section also includes specialist academic and market research about the ethical sector.




If you visit this website using a mobile device you'll automatically be served with a mobile-friendly version, giving quick access to stripped-down versions of over 150 unique ethical product guides, ethical scores and company data.


Access is exactly the same as for the desktop version of the website:

  • Most product guides are free to view.
  • Subscribers have full access to all reports, product data, company information, and can save their customised scores.


If you customise your scores, the new settings will be saved on the website too.

To sign in use your normal username and password.





free laptops report



Free Access Product Guides 

You can try out our site tools with two different product guides which we have made available to everyone. See our Laptops & Notebooks product guide or our Booksellers product guide.  



30 Day No-Risk Trial Subscription

Sign up now for the no-risk 30 day trial subscription offer and explore the whole site.



Ethical made easy

Detailed ethical ratings for over 40,000 companies, brands and products, plus Ethical Consumer magazine.

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