Our Ethical Policies

We pride ourselves on ensuring we minimise our own environmental impacts and carefully assess our supply chain.

Below you can find information on all our ethical policies.

Our Ethical Policies

Main products/processes/activities:

Production of printed material
Distribution of printed material
Production of a rating database and websites

About Ethical Consumer

ECRA Publishing Limited is a multi-stakeholder co-operative (Company Registration Number 30575 R) which was formed in 1989 to research and publish information on the companies behind brand names, and to promote the ethical use of consumer power.

We are aware that our activities have an impact on the environment and seek to minimise this.

We respect the principle of Sustainable Development and aim to work in away that meets the needs of today’s generation whilst ensuring that future generations can also meet their needs.

We are committed to:

  • Minimising resource use by using only 100% post-consumer waste, chlorine-free paper, and vegetable-based inks for the printing of magazine
  • Maximising recycling / composting of office consumables
  • Minimising residual waste produced
  • Minimising our energy and water use
  • Supporting the least carbon-intensive transport options for business travel and commuting
  • Purchasing goods and services that are screened for compliance with our ethical/environmental standards; purchase from other co-ops where possible
  • Driving environmental improvements through our supply chain
  • Being a meat/fish-free organisation in terms of our office and events
  • Training co-op members, staff and volunteers as required
  • Publishing an environmental report on our website

Ethical Consumer Environment Report 2017


The following is Ethical Consumer Research Association's code of conduct (supply chain policy) for workers in its supply chain.

This code is a direct copy of the headings in the ETI Base Code. For the details under each heading we use the ETI definitions available here.

We have communicated this code (below) to all our first tier suppliers.

  • Employment is freely chosen
  • Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining are respected
  • Working conditions are safe and hygienic
  • Child labour shall not be used
  • Living wages are paid
  • Working hours are not excessive
  • No discrimination is practised
  • Regular employment is provided
  • No harsh or inhumane treatment is allowed


ECRA is not a member of any multi-stakeholder initiatives.

ECRA is yet to formally audit any of its suppliers but does carry out an ethical screening of each one for purposes of due diligence. As a result our first tier suppliers have been deemed low risk as they are mostly UK-based, or technology companies, and not industries known for exploiting vulnerable groups such as illegal immigrants.

We have long term, face to face, relationships with many of our suppliers. Ethics are taken into consideration when we choose suppliers.

We screen suppliers against the standard ethical consumer rating criteria and will only work with companies scoring below 10 when there are exceptional circumstances.

We have a policy of complete disclosure of all our first tier suppliers.

Technology and computer systems

  • Openplan IT
  • Bandicoot
  • Idonix
  • Orange Tree Digital
  • Gordon & Gotch BT
  • The Phone Co-op
  • Ad Butler
  • Google
  • Mailchimp


Printing and print distribution

  • Rap Spiderweb (The paper in the magazine is from Cyclus and Lenzing Papier)
  • Paperback
  • Modern Bookbinders Ltd
  • INK
  • Central Books
  • Spring Global Mail
  • Royal Mail
  • Moonloft Design


Office and business

  • Co-op Bank
  • Triodos Bank
  • simonbirch.net
  • Mike Stocks (bookkeeping)
  • EMERGE Recycling
  • Work for Change
  • Limited Resources
  • Wesley Community Furniture



We are an accredited Living Wage employer.



Last updated November 2017

We are committed to paying all the taxes that we owe in accordance with the spirit of all tax laws that apply to our operations.

We believe that paying our taxes in this way is the clearest indication we can give of our being responsible participants in society. We will fulfil our commitment to paying the appropriate taxes that we owe by seeking to pay the right amount of tax (but no more), at the right rate, in the right place and at the right time.

We aim to do this by ensuring that we report our tax affairs in ways that reflect the economic reality of the transactions we actually undertake in the course of our trade.

What we will not ever do is seek to use those options made available in tax law or the allowances and reliefs that it provides in ways that are contrary to the spirit of the law. Nor will we undertake specific transactions with the sole or main aim of securing tax advantages that would otherwise not be available to us based on the reality of the trade that we undertake.

As a result the company will never undertake transactions that would require notification to HM Revenue & Customs under the Disclosure of Tax Avoidance Schemes Regulations or participate in any arrangement to which it might be reasonable anticipated that the UKís General Anti-Abuse Rule might apply. We believe tax havens undermine the UK’s tax system.

As a result whilst we will trade with customers and suppliers genuinely located in places considered to be tax havens we will not make use of those places to secure a tax advantage, and nor will we take advantage of the secrecy that many such jurisdictions provide for transactions recorded within them.

Our accounts will be prepared in compliance with this policy and will seek to provide all that information that users, including HM Revenue & Customs, might need to properly appraise our tax position. We will review this policy with our accountants annually to ensure that it is complied with.

Ethical Consumer was first awarded the Fair Tax Mark in November 2017, and the latest compliance statement for fair tax is available below.

Read the ECRA Fair Tax Compliance Statement 2019 to 2020 (pdf)

Last updated March 2019

Over the last few years, Ethical Consumer Research Association (ECRA) has regularly reported on Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel.  This movement began in 2005 with a call from Palestinian civil society; the call was endorsed by over 170 Palestinian political parties, organisations, trade unions and movements.

According to the BDS Movement website: "The call urges various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law by:

1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967 and dismantling the Wall;

2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and

3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194."

In June 2014 the ECRA management team, comprising of worker-members of the co-operative, passed a proposal to support BDS.  In doing so, two issues were of primary consideration:

1)  The grave human rights abuses committed by the Israeli state against Palestinians living in both the occupied territories and the state of Israel.  These violations include those which are illegal under international law.

2)  The fact that BDS is supported by a broad coalition of Palestinian civil society organisations.

ECRA recognises that:

  • The international boycott of South Africa was a key element in bringing to an end the apartheid regime.
  • The international community has failed to ensure that Israel complies with international law with regard to the treatment of Palestinians.
  • Boycott, divestment and sanctions are one of the few, but potentially highly effective, means by which international citizens can stand in solidarity with Palestinians and call for an end to the human rights abuses committed by Israel.

In supporting BDS, ECRA will not knowingly purchase goods or services that originate in Israel, or in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and Golan Heights.  We also support the academic boycott, which means that we will not accept materials for which any of the inputs have come from Israeli academic institutions.  In addition we will support the cultural boycott and not collaborate with any Israeli cultural or artistic institutions unless they expressly criticise Israeli human rights abuses and work for freedom for Palestinians.

For more information, please see the BDS Movement website.
Last updated June 2014

Ethical Consumer has shopping links to a number of online stores on our product guide and other pages.

Ethical Consumer makes a small amount of money from purchases you make from the sites we feature on the product guide pages specifically those featured in the “places to buy” box under the company score tables and a limited number on other pages that are marked with a *.

We encourage all our readers to use these links where possible as the money we make from these links helps fund our research and campaigning.

We ethically screen all the sites we link to. 

Below is a list of those companies we have shopping links to and their ethical scores.

Abel & Cole
Ethical Score: 10.5
Supermarkets, Bananas

John Lewis
Ethical Score: 5
Clothing, Appliances

Ethical Score: 12.5
Tea, Coffee, Food

Planet Organic
Ethical Score: -
Food, Drink

People Tree
Ethical Score: 14.5

Phone Co-op
Ethical Score: 14.5
Mobile Phones, Broadband

Ethical Score: 14
Ethical Online Retailers

Ethical Shop
Ethical Score: 15
Household, Books

Neal's Yard
Ethical Score: 14

Natural Store
Ethical Score: 14

Ethical Score: 10.5

Green People
Ethical Score: 13.5

Good Energy
Ethical Score: 12.5
Electricty and Gas

ETA Insurance
Ethical Score: - 

Ethical Score: 11.5

Brothers We Stand
Ethical Score: 13.5

We ethically screen our advertisers against our ethical ratings criteria before accepting advertising and reserve the right to refuse any advert.

Current advertisers on the site include:

Ecology Building Society
included in the following guides:
Savings Accounts

Triodos Bank
included in the following guides:
Current Accounts
Savings Accounts
Cash ISAs
Ethical investment Funds

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