High street clothes retailer Primark, which is owned by Associated British Foods, is always in and out of the news. Every year we hear stories of abuse at supplier factories, usually on the Indian sub continent. 

Is Primark ethical?

Our research highlights several ethical issues with Primark, including climate change, environmental reporting, habitats & resources, palm oil, pollution and toxics, human rights, workers' rights, supply chain management, animal rights, animal testing, factory farming, anti-social finance, controversial technologies and political activities. 

Below we outline of some of these issues. To see the full detailed stories, and Primark overall ethical rating, please sign in or subscribe.


Primark is a signatory to the Bangladesh Accord which is a legally binding agreement between global brands and retailers designed to make all garment factories in Bangladesh safe workplaces.

It was set up in response to the Rana Plaza disaster which killed over 1000 people.


Primark receives a middle rating for environmental reporting. Primark has an ethics page on its website and has commited to a number of targets by 2020 such as a 15% carbon footprint reduction, 15% waste to landfill reduction and a 3.5 reduction in waste arising over the whole product life cycle. 


As of June 2017 Primark states that "Animal testing is not permitted on any Primark products".

However, in the absence of a fixed cut-off date for the testing of ingredients, the company receives Ethical Consumer's middle rating in this category.


In June 2017 Ethical Consumer viewed the family tree for Associated British Foods (Primark's parent company) on the corporate website The site listed many high risk subsidiaries based in jurisdictions considered by Ethical Consumer to be tax havens at the time of writing. They included:

  • Investment subsidiaries in Guernsey & Jersey
  • a holding company in Hong Kong (Associated British Foods Asia Pacific Holdings Limited),
  • a holding company in Luxembourg (Abf European Holdings & Co) and

The company therefore received Ethical Consumer's worst rating for likely use of tax avoidance strategies.

Image: Primark
  • Ethical Consumer Best Buy: No
  • Boycotts: No

Company information

Company Ethiscore

Company Address:

Weston Centre, 10 Grosvenor Street, London, W1K 4QY

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Associated brands

  • Primark

Ownership structure

Ethical stories