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Finding environmentally friendly batteries: ratings for 12 brands of rechargeable and non-rechargeable batteries, with recommended buys and what to avoid.

We look at how bad disposable batteries are for the environment, the cost of rechargeable batteries and if they're cheaper over all, and the problems of the minerals used in batteries. We also look at how to recycle batteries.

About Ethical Consumer

This is a shopping guide from Ethical Consumer, the UK's leading alternative consumer organisation. Since 1989 we've been researching and recording the social and environmental records of companies, and making the results available to you in a simple format.

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What to buy

What to look for when buying batteries:

  • Is it conflict-free? We expect companies that produce electrical goods to have robust conflict minerals policies so consumers can be sure they aren't sourcing materials that exacerbate conflict.

Best Buys

There are no Best Buys for batteries.

Recommended buys

We are only recommending rechargeable batteries because of the financial and environmental cost savings.

Varta’s Recharge Accu Recycled AA and AAA batteries have the highest level of recycled content, score joint highest on the table and are Nordic Swan-certified. Its other rechargeables score well too. Varta was the only company to get best for Tax Conduct.

GP Recyko gets a middle rating for Conflict Minerals and Environmental Reporting, all the batteries have recycled content, the packaging is plastic-free, and they are Nordic Swan-certified. Its Recyko Pro batteries can be recharged 1,500 times.

Philips is the only company to get a best rating for Conflict Minerals and also gets best for Carbon Reporting and middle for Environmental Reporting. But its batteries had no recycled content, nor plastic-free packaging, nor Nordic Swan-certification.

What not to buy

What to avoid when buying batteries?

  • Is it single use? Rechargeable batteries can be recharged up to 1000 times saving both energy and resources.

Companies to avoid

Amazon and Duracell both scored zero. We are calling for a boycott of Amazon over its tax avoidance.

  • Duracell
  • Amazon

Score table

Updated live from our research database

← Swipe left / right to view table contents →
Brand Score(out of 100) Ratings Categories

GP Recyko rechargeable batteries [R]

Company Profile: GP Batteries International Ltd

Varta Recharge ACCU Recycled batteries [R]

Company Profile: Varta AG

GP batteries

Company Profile: GP Batteries International Ltd

Varta batteries

Company Profile: Varta AG

Eneloop batteries

Company Profile: Panasonic Corporation

Panasonic batteries

Company Profile: Panasonic Corporation

Energizer rechargeable batteries [R]

Company Profile: Energizer Holdings

Energizer batteries

Company Profile: Energizer Holdings

Rayovac hearing aid batteries

Company Profile: Energizer Holdings

Amazon Basics batteries

Company Profile: Inc

Duracell batteries

Company Profile: The Duracell Company Inc

Our Analysis

How to find environmentally friendly batteries

All the brands in this guide make both disposable and rechargeable batteries. Three brands appear on the table twice, as their batteries with recycled content gain an extra product sustainability mark.

This guide covers household batteries like AAs and AAAs, as well as button cells and hearing aid batteries. It does not cover lithium-ion (Li-on) battery packs for laptops and mobile phones, or car batteries.

All the brands also make powerbanks and battery chargers for rechargeable batteries.

Battery brands included in this guide

Most of the companies specialise in making batteries but there are a couple of general electrical companies – Philips and Panasonic – and there is the retail behemoth Amazon, subject of our long-running boycott call for its tax avoidance strategies.

The two bestselling brands are Duracell and Energizer, with Duracell selling twice as many batteries as its rival. But Duracell is one of our Brands to Avoid because of its poor ethical performance. We compare these two brands further down in the guide.

We have not included any supermarket own brands. Only Morrisons sells rechargeable batteries and, when we last reviewed supermarkets, they were not a Recommended Brand. Co-op and Waitrose were, but they don’t sell own-brand batteries. See our guide to supermarkets to see how they compare.

What are rechargeable batteries?

Most batteries sold are single-use alkaline batteries. According to 2019 data, sales of alkalines were worth £230 million whilst rechargeables were only worth £18 million. But by 31 December 2030, the EU Commission will assess whether to phase out the use of non-rechargeable batteries for general use.

Nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries are the most common type of household rechargeable battery on the market today, along with the Lithium-ion battery in your phone or laptop and in powerbanks.

In many high-drain consumer applications, nickel metal hydride (NiMH) rechargeable batteries are replacing alkaline batteries as they offer better performance and last much longer than the disposable alkaline batteries.

However, there are no NiMH flat button and coin cells for use in watches and hearing aids.

More and more devices are available now with inbuilt rechargeable batteries and, as long as they can be replaced, that can only be good news.

One downside of rechargeables is that they lose charge when not in use. On average a NiMH might lose 30% of its charge over 12 months. We look at how best to recharge different rechargeable batteries further down in the guide.

Are rechargeable batteries cheaper than disposable batteries?

Although rechargeables are more expensive initially, (around three or four times more), because they can be recharged 500-1,000 times or more, they are more cost effective. Rechargeables work out cheaper in the long run, but the lower initial cash outlay is one of the reasons that people buy disposables.

Rechargeables’ total lifespan is much longer than disposables thereby saving on resources and energy to manufacture.

Price comparison of AA batteries (rechargeable and single use)

A Duracell rechargeable battery costs £4.12 but can be recharged 400 times at a cost of just 0.08p per recharge making a total cost for the lifespan of the battery of £4.44.

To buy 400 Duracell single use alkaline batteries at £1.19 each would cost £476.

Even if you add on the cost of a Duracell charger at £23.99 and ascribe all of that cost to just that one rechargeable battery, a rechargeable is still nearly seventeen times cheaper than disposables.

What capacity rechargeable battery do I need?

The capacity of rechargeable batteries is measured in mAh (milliampere/hour). In general, the higher the mAh, the less often the battery will need to be charged.

Different battery-driven devices will require different capacity batteries.

For example, cordless phones are frequently charged, so don’t usually get a chance to run completely flat, therefore a low- to mid-capacity battery would be suitable. Other devices which can use a low-capacity battery include garden solar lights and remote controls.

Devices which require high-capacity batteries include, for example, digital cameras and some electronic toys. If you find you are replacing batteries frequently, a higher-capacity battery will provide longer lasting power.

Typical low- to mid-range capacity batteries are AA size batteries (800-1300 mAh) and AAA size batteries (400-800 mAh).

Typical high-capacity batteries are AA size batteries (1950-2700 mAh) and AAA size batteries (950-1100 mAh).

Chargers and powerbanks for rechargeable batteries

You’re going to need a charger for your rechargeable batteries and all the brands make these. A ‘smart’ charger will tell you how much charge a battery has. When it is fully charged, it will stop charging and change to a trickle charge to keep the battery topped up.

A powerbank is essentially a mobile battery charger for use with mobile phones, laptops, and tablets. All the brands make these apart from Panasonic.

Varta also makes a battery tester to check the charge level of any battery.

Battery charger with batteries inside

Prolonging battery life

The following table provides a quick run-down on how not to run-down different types of batteries as well as some general information about how long you can expect them to last.

  Alkaline Lithium-metal NiMH Lithium-ion
Rechargeable? Non-rechargeable Non-rechargable Rechargeable: 700-1,000 life cycles Rechargable: 600-1,000 life cycles
Run-time (Devices vary so comparison based on number of photos taken on a digital camera with an AA battery) 100 690 600 Unknown (AA have not been available long enough)
How to charge N/A N/A

It is better to fast charge if possible.

Stop charging if battery becomes warm.

Always use the charger designed for your battery.

A partial charge is better than a full charge.

A partial discharge is actually also better than a full discharge (no 'memory effect' like old NiCad batteries which used to lose capacity if not used).

Turn off devices when charging the battery. Always use the charger designed for your battery.

Shelf-life 5-10 Years 10-12 Years 3-5 Years 2-4 Years
Self-discharge rate Should lose around 2-3% per year. Should lose around 10% of it's charge over 5 years if not in use. Should lose 10-15% in 24h, then 10-15% per month Should lose 5% in 24h, then 1-2% per month.
How to store for prolonged shelf-life and reduced self-discharge Remove from the device and store below 25 degrees celcius (do not freeze). Remove from the device and store below 25 degrees celcius (do not freeze).

Remove from the device and store below 25°C (do not freeze).

Can be stored with any charge level but should be fully recharged once a year if storing long term.

Remove from the device and store below 25°C (do not freeze) with a charge of around 40-50%.

You may need to recharge to this level about once every 6 months.

Types of battery AA, AAA, C, D, N, 9 Volt and button/coin batteries. AA, AAA, 9 Volt, button/ coin batteries. AA, AAA, C, D & 9 Volt.

Mostly button batteries and power banks (as well as phone/laptop batteries).

Other sizes like AA/AAA are just coming onto the market.

Are disposable batteries bad for the environment?

There are different types of disposable batteries available, depending what they are made of.

Zinc carbon vs alkaline

The difference between these two is the type of electrolyte used in the battery – alkaline electrolyte for alkaline batteries, acidic for zinc carbon.

Alkalines pack in more energy than zinc carbons so can produce the same amount of energy but last twice as long. They are designed for appliances that use a lot of energy like cameras.

Zinc carbon batteries are cheaper than alkalines and designed for appliances that don’t use much energy like remote controls, clocks, smoke detectors and torches.

Lithium single-use batteries

Lithium batteries (not to be confused with lithium-ion or Li-on batteries which are rechargeable and are used in mobile phones and electric cars) possess higher-energy density, thereby offering better performance and lasting longer compared with alkaline batteries.

You can buy AA and AAA lithium batteries (all the brands except Philips, Rayovac and Duracell) but you are most likely to see them as button or coin cells for things like watches. They are more expensive than alkaline batteries.

Hearing aid batteries

Disposable zinc air batteries are a popular choice. Rechargeable NiMH batteries generally cannot match the energy needs of today's digital hearing aids. Even when fully charged, an NiMH battery is not able to deliver enough power to operate most modern hearing aids for a full day.

But you can buy hearing aids with rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that are recharged using a charging station or a micro-USB cable, like a mobile phone.

Mining for battery minerals

Household batteries contain a mix of minerals, including those listed below. The mining sector has long been criticised for its violations of the environment, human rights, and Indigenous populations. But there has been an increasing tension between human and environmental justice and the mining of minerals which are key to ending our reliance on fossil fuels, such as lithium-ion batteries in electric cars to replace petrol vehicles. Whilst the move away from fossil fuels is essential, it should not be done in a way that reproduces or creates new injustices.

Recommendations and demands have been made by the Ibero-American Federation of Ombudsman and Amnesty International to include and strengthen human rights requirements alongside environmental assessments of mining projects from extraction to end-of-life, which have been widely supported by civil society groups from across the world.

As battery technology becomes even more important and mining increases, companies need to feel the pressure. See our latest guides to cars, vacuum cleaners and solar panels for more information on their relationship with mining minerals for batteries.

Mining for Lithium in Cornwall, England
Cornish Lithium’s exploration site at Trelavour Downs (c) Cornish Lithium

Minerals used in batteries

The world’s largest producer of cobalt is the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Although cobalt isn’t classified as a conflict mineral (tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold) it is still associated with multiple human rights violations. Much of the cobalt from the DRC comes from unregulated artisanal mines, with a recent investigation highlighting the severe social and environmental damage caused by such mines. An estimated 200,000 people work informally as miners in the country.

Hazardous working conditions and workers’ rights violations in the mines include digging tunnels by hand, having no protective equipment against hazardous substances and pollution, long working hours with no pay for overtime, and child labour. Research has also highlighted violence against women and girls in artisanal mines and their surrounding areas in the DRC. Landscapes have changed dramatically as the mines are eating away local neighbourhoods.

Campaigners are urging companies to try and improve working conditions rather than avoiding purchasing from these mines, in order to protect those whose livelihoods depend on mining and whose choices are often limited. Initiatives include the Fair Cobalt Alliance and Responsible Minerals Initiative, which added cobalt to its remit in 2017.

Graphite is used as a cathode (the positive end) in many batteries, including alkaline and lithium ones. Graphite can be produced naturally through mining or synthetically. Natural graphite production can cause dust emissions and the purification for its use in batteries requires high quantities of reagents such as sodium hydroxide and hydrofluoric acid which can harm both human health and the environment.

Synthetic graphite production is much more energy intensive and often leads to operators seeking out cheaper power sources that tend to be coal dominant.

In 2021, one report stated that “the true climate change impact of producing battery grade graphite can be as much as ten times higher than published values”.

Lithium demand is increasing, with one report forecasting a 12.3% annual growth rate in the global market from 2023 to 2030. In 2022 it was worth just under £7 billion. According to one estimate, the global annual demand for lithium is predicted to reach 1.5 million tonnes by 2025. A lot of this demand is due to the increased interest in electric vehicles, which use lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries. Although we aren’t covering lithium-ion batteries in this guide, the processes of extraction for lithium are the same.

The list of damaging effects that lithium mining has on the environment and surrounding communities is long. Lithium is mostly extracted from brine under salt flats, where water is evaporated off. This method of processing uses a lot of water and, because it comes from some of the driest places on earth, local and Indigenous communities are often left with very little water. Processing also causes pollution, waste, and disruption to ecosystems.

Researchers have suggested that the atomic signature of lithium could be used to determine where it was mined, making it traceable, to know whether it was mined ethically. Currently this isn’t possible because reference samples on a database are needed first, but it should be possible in future.

The big producers of lithium are China, the USA, Australia and South America (Argentina, Bolivia and Chile) but lithium has more recently been attracting increasing corporate interest in the UK. British Lithium and Cornish Lithium have been causing mixed feelings in the Cornish community, with plans to extract thousands of tonnes of lithium each year. Local climate activist Nichola Andersen, speaking to the BBC, said, "It's just another example of people extracting value out of Cornwall. The money goes out of Cornwall and never comes back."

Similar sentiments have been made across communities all over the world, where the story of extraction mostly stays the same.

Nickel is essential for NiMH batteries but its extraction has been linked to high environmental and social costs including habitat destruction, high levels of toxic air and water pollution, the release of carcinogenic dust, and birth defects.

There are also numerous reports of the devastating impacts nickel mining has had on Indigenous and local communities globally. In 2020, a Nornickel (the largest producer of Nickel in the world) power plant failed, releasing 21,000 tons of diesel oil into local rivers. In 2016, a suspected broken Nornickel pipe caused a Russian river to turn red. Nornickel operates on Indigenous lands and both disasters resulted in environmental and social devastation for the local communities. In 2016, the New Internationalist reported on the effects nickel mining was having on local communities in Columbia, including increases in birth defects, miscarriages, and cancer. Dayro Romero, governor of the Indigenous community of Pueblo Flecha told the publication: “we feel environmentally massacred”.

With the demand for nickel projected to grow up to 40 fold by 2040, it is even more crucial environmental and social regulations are enforced.

Zinc is found in the Earth’s crust, often alongside copper and lead, so mining typically takes place through extraction underground. In metric tonnes, China is by far the world’s leading zinc producer, followed by Peru and Australia.

A study in China that looked at the environmental and human health effects of zinc and lead mining (often mined together) found significant water pollution from waste water, soil pollution affecting plants and crops, and an association with long-term health effects including kidney damage and cancer.

Cartoon of Duracell bunny underneath Energizer bunny
Battle of the battery bunnies (c) Cartoon by Andy Vine for ECRA

Battle of the bunnies: Duracell or Energizer?

You might find that in a lot of shops there are only a couple of choices, usually between the two brand leaders Duracell and Energizer.

Both companies use a rabbit as their mascot, but which bunny is the most ethical?

Although there is not a big points difference between the two, Energizer does score better for several categories, for example, Energizer rechargeables have some recycled content, whereas Duracell rechargeables have none. Energizer also has plastic-free packaging.

So where you have a choice between these two, go for Energizer.

If Duracell is the only choice, it might be better to hold out if possible, because all other brands, apart from Amazon, score better than them.

Full online access to our unique shopping guides, ethical rankings and company profiles. The essential ethical print magazine.

Reduce, reuse and recycle batteries

When it comes to batteries, even rechargeable ones, ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ is a good approach:

  • It is always useful to question which battery-powered devices are actually necessary at all.
  • Buying rechargeable batteries means you can reuse them multiple times.
  • All batteries, rechargeable and nonrechargeable, should be recycled at the end of their useful life.

Reduce – use mains electricity and wired devices

Batteries are always more expensive than mains electricity, especially disposable ones.

Even with the recent increase in electricity prices, figures show that even a bulk purchase of 100 cheap Amazon Basics AA alkaline batteries is 235 times more expensive than using mains. If you use a rechargeable battery, it is still around 10 times more expensive than the mains, even though you can recharge it, because of the initial cost of the battery.

It therefore makes sense to use mains-powered devices rather than battery-powered ones, wherever possible, not only for the financial savings but also to save on the unnecessary use of minerals and resources.

So choose wired devices over wireless ones, corded over cordless: for example, traditional vacuum over cordless, wired computer mouse rather than wireless; wired headphones over wireless; mains-run clocks, smoke alarms and doorbells.

Reduce – use mechanical devices

Mains electricity is not suitable for things that need to be mobile but there are mechanical alternatives available that don’t need batteries:

  • There are loads of battery-free toys, and games consoles can have wired controllers rather than wireless ones.
  • Mechanical hand-wound watches or automatic watches powered by wrist movement.
  • Dynamos, for example, for bike lights.
  • Some wind-up torches have a spring you charge rather than a battery.

Recycling batteries at the end of their life

Each year in the UK, we throw away around 600 million batteries. Laid end-to-end these batteries would reach from the UK to Australia and back again.

In the UK, around 40,000 tonnes of batteries were sold in 2020, with only around 18,000 tonnes (45%) being recycled. That leaves 22,000 tonnes ending up in landfill via rubbish bins or hidden in houses – it’s worth looking around to see if you have any old batteries that could be recycled.

Our battery recycling rate of 45% is low for Europe meaning we come in at 14th on a league table. The top five are:

  1. Belgium: 71%
  2. Luxembourg: 63%
  3. Hungary: 53%
  4. Lithuania: 53%
  5. Czech Republic: 52%

New EU battery regulations will set a target recycling rate of 63% by 2027, and 73% by 2030 but it’s not clear whether post-Brexit UK will adopt this target.

Why recycle batteries?

When batteries begin to decompose in landfill sites chemicals like lead, cadmium, zinc, lithium and even mercury may leak into the ground, which can cause soil and water pollution.

Batteries are made from non-renewable, finite materials and the mining of these materials has an environmental and human rights impact.

Recycling means the materials will be used again, although not usually to make more batteries. More likely the recovered materials will be used in the steel industry.

How and where can I recycle batteries?

Since battery recycling laws came into force in February 2010, most shops and supermarkets that sell batteries have collection bins in-store for used batteries. In addition, some town halls, libraries, and schools may have also set up collection schemes.

You can also recycle batteries at many Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs). Type your postcode into the recycle-more website recycling locator to find where you can recycle your batteries.

Four AA batteries

Do batteries come in sustainable packaging?

Some manufacturers are getting rid of plastic in their packaging (except for coin batteries for child-safety reasons) and are using recycled material in their cardboard packs.

In the table below we compare who's doing what about reducing plastic in their packaging and use of alternatives.

Batteries and packaging
Brand Plastic-free packaging? Cardboard used
Duracell 88% in Western Europe, 2024 target of 100% plastic free* “Made from recycled material”
Eneloop All plastic-free FSC Mix (virgin and recycled paper)
In Europe, AA, AAA, C, D and 9-volt battery packing is 100% plastic-free*
Up to 50% post-consumer recycled content in most packs
GP Recyko battery packing is plastic-free 100% FSC
Varta 21% of battery packs are plastic-free 95% recycled content
Philips No information found No information found
Panasonic No information found No information found
Amazon No information found No information found

* Does not apply to US operations

Highlights from some of the ratings for battery brands

Recycled battery content

In a step forward since our last battery guide, three brands of rechargeable batteries now get an extra half a Product Sustainability mark for using recycled content:

  • Energizer: 15% recycled content in AA and AAA rechargeable batteries and 7% in C, D, and 9-volt.
  • Varta: 21% recycled content in Recharge Accu Recycled AAA and AAs.
  • GP: more than 10% recycled materials in Recyko AA, AAA, C, D and 9 volt.

These content levels should go up by 2030, when new EU regulations come into force requiring a set percentage of recycled materials in all batteries.

Carbon emissions

Only Panasonic and Philips got our best rating for carbon reporting. They had concrete targets and discussed steps made towards reducing emissions, such as the installation of renewable energy systems. Carbon reporting was transparent and disclosed in full, enabling them to be held to account for targets and progress made.

Tax conduct

All the companies, apart from Varta, got our worst rating for Tax Conduct. Varta stands out for getting a best.

Amazon and Berkshire Hathaway (Duracell) are both incorporated in the tax haven of Delaware.

We calculated that in 2021 the UK public purse lost up to half a billion pounds due to Amazon’s tax avoidance. The Fair Tax Mark and The New York Times have others been critical of Amazon’s tax avoidance in Luxembourg, where its European headquarters are based and it pays no corporation tax.

Conflict minerals

All except Panasonic and Philips got a worst rating for their conflict minerals policies. Only Philips scored a best. It was continuing to support audited, conflict-free mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It also had a robust due diligence process and published a full list of its smelters and refiners, which are a key pinch point in the global supply of minerals as they can more easily be audited.

Supply chain management

All of the companies we rated scored our worst rating for their supply chain management policies.

Berkshire Hathaway (Duracell) had practically no information. Being so huge, Amazon has perhaps featured most prominently in the media for issues with how it treats its workers. It was criticised in a 2022 report by the University of California Berkeley Labor Center and Berkeley Law for breaking its own policies about respecting workers’ rights to freedom of association, a policy which the report also states is “non-compliant with international labor standards.” It said that actions from Amazon’s management aimed to instil fear in its workers around union activity. In April 2022, the JFK8 Amazon warehouse in New York was the first to officially unionise, with 2,654 workers voting in favour of organising against the company.

Directors’ pay

In 2021 Amazon's Andrew Jassy, who took over from Jeff Bezos in 2021, took home a whopping $200 million.

The highest paid director at Berkshire Hathaway (Duracell) received just under $20 million, while at Energizer it was a mere $9 million!

All the brands in this guide were marked down in the Antisocial Finance column for excessive pay.

Nordic Swan ecolabel logo

Nordic Swan Ecolabel

Companies can apply for a Nordic Swan Ecolabel for batteries.

This is an independent assessment of the environmental impact of batteries over their life cycle, from raw material to disposal and recycling, and includes third-party certification. To be eligible batteries must:

  • Have a low content of mercury, cadmium, and lead, lower than is required by the EU Battery Directive.
  • Not contain PVC.
  • Meet the Nordic Swan Ecolabel CSR policy to ensure responsible use and sourcing of limited raw materials and conflict-free minerals and have a code of conduct for workers’ rights at suppliers.
  • Meet stringent requirements for both battery operation time, shelf life, safety, and quality.
  • Be fully charged [applies to Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries and cells] when leaving the production site.

Most of the batteries with this Ecolabel are disposables but the following brands of rechargeable batteries are also included:

  • Varta Recharge Recycled AA & AAA and VARTA RECHARGE ACCU Power AA.
  • Energizer Rech Power Plus AA & AAA, Rech Extreme AA & AAA.
  • Duracell Ultra Power Rechargeable AA & AAA.
  • GP – Recyko AA & AAA.

Search the Nordic Swan Ecolabel website for a full list of all Nordic Swan batteries.

Child safety warning

Increasing numbers of children have been admitted to hospital having swallowed button batteries. The consequences can be very serious and sometimes fatal. If a lithium battery becomes lodged in the oesophagus it can create an electric circuit, due to its higher voltage, which can cause serious burns.

Visit Button Battery Ingestion website for advice on ensuring batteries are kept out of harm’s way and what to do if you suspect a child has swallowed one.

Charging forward – what’s next for batteries?

Battery technology is the focus of intense research, due to the urgent need to transition to renewable energy and the rising demand for portable electronics.

Most research is being done into replacing lithium-ion battery technology, especially with the surge in demand for electric cars and storage for renewable energy. More abundant materials like sodium and sand are being looked at which can be sourced locally and less destructively.

Other technologies such as metal-air batteries, solid-state batteries and the use of silicon are all vying to try and increase capacity, and also safety, while reducing production costs.

For household batteries, the future is rechargeable batteries rather than single use disposables. Even the EU thinks so.

The fact that rising demands for batteries are, in part, fuelled by a desire to reduce environmental impact, could mean that ethical considerations are given more scrutiny in the battery industry than in others.

However, we may not be buying separate batteries for that much longer, as more and more products are switching to inbuilt rechargeable batteries. This does mean that people are forced to use rechargeables, but all batteries are perishable, and it can make the whole product die with the battery.

Perhaps there will be a renaissance of wind-up and mechanical things where batteries or any sort of electric power is not needed. Until then, we can all do our bit to make that a reality sooner rather than later.

Amazon muscles in on more products

We have included Amazon in this updated batteries guide as it is now selling its own-brand batteries. However, it is one of the worst scoring brands in the table and scores poorly across all ethical and environmental categories.

In the last year, Amazon spent a whopping £17 million on lobbying, and also made headlines a number of times for its treatment of workers and the working conditions they face.

One driver for Amazon reported that in the two years since joining, he has logged 30,000 miles, telling The Guardian that one shift can involve delivering to around “70 separate three-story buildings” with over 350 packages.

The Guardian has also reported on Amazon’s dismissal of labour union representatives in New York. Meanwhile, the GMB union has been working to push Amazon to recognise a trade union for its workers in the UK for the first time.

We have been calling for a boycott of Amazon since 2012 for its tax avoidance. Read more about Amazon's aggressive tax campaign, poor treatment of workers and disregard for the environment on our Amazon campaign page.

Company behind the brand

Berkshire Hathaway, owner of Duracell.

With over 6,000 companies in its corporate portfolio, Berkshire Hathaway is a giant private equity firm. As well as Duracell, some of the companies it owns include Kraft Heinz, Brooks Sports, American Express, Bank of America, Chevron, Coca-Cola, HP Inc., Moody’s, Occidental Petroleum, and Paramount Global. It is also a significant investor in Apple Inc.

This corporate empire is headed by Warren Buffet, who has been its CEO since 1970. Now at age 92, he is the 5th richest person on Earth. The company has also spent millions on political donations and lobbying.

In 2022, the Department of Justice in the US ruled that Trident Mortgage Co., a division of Berkshire Hathaway’s Home Services of America, discriminated against Black and Latin homebuyers by deliberately avoiding writing mortgages for them. The company was also accused of using racial slurs.

Want to know more?

If you want to find out detailed information about a company and more about its ethical rating, then click on a brand name in the Score table. 

This information is reserved for subscribers only. Don't miss out, become a subscriber today.

This guide appeared in EC magazine 203. The [R] in the score table after a brand name means the product has been awarded a sustainability point for using recycled materials in rechargeable batteries..

Additional research by Louisa Gould and Sorcha Perris.