At Ethical Consumer, we always rate companies based on their ownership so you can be sure you’re not buying vegan products from a company involved in factory farming, or your green energy from a company involved in fossil fuels.
We have updated our list of ten ‘ethical’ companies that are owned by unethical companies, with a bonus five! These additional five companies are at the start of the list, which is not in any particular order in terms of ethics or type of brand.
1. Vivera (JBS)
Meat-free burger company Vivera was bought by the world’s biggest meat producer JBS in summer 2021.
Vivera is Europe’s third largest plant-based food company, founded in the Netherlands in 1990, with over 100 products sold in 25 different countries, and available in most UK supermarkets.
Vivera previously scored 12 in our ratings for meat-free burgers and sausages but its score has dropped to a measly one mark following the takeover.
JBS scored our worst ratings across virtually every category.
Numerous investigations have exposed extreme animal suffering at various stages of its supply chain, and it had the highest number of animal welfare violations for any meat company in the USA according to a 2020 report by the Animal Welfare Institute.
It is notorious for links to farms involved in illegal deforestation of the Amazon. Several supermarkets are boycotting Brazilian beef after investigations linked JBS and other major meat companies in Brazil to illegal deforestation.
It’s also been fined for bribing government officials such as the Brazilian Finance Minister, and has been accused of being linked to modern-day “slave labour”. In 2021 it also paid a $5.5m sum to settle claims that the company harrassed workers based on their ethnicity and religion.