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Ethical alternatives: brands to buy from if you boycott Israeli apartheid

Boycotting brands that are complicit in Palestinian human rights violations is a powerful form of consumer activism, but how ethical is the product you buy instead?

“At least do us no harm”, says founder of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, Omar Barghouti. Part of what he means by this is for everyone to stop making purchases from or investing in companies that actively support Palestinian human rights abuses.

But even if we switch to a brand that isn’t complicit in apartheid, it may be complicit in other types of harm to people, the planet, and other animals.

For this article, we've used recommendations from our ethical shopping guides to enable people to find alternatives to boycotted brands that are a little, or a lot, more ethical than competitors in their sector. For our guides we analyse company performance against issues such as climate, workers’ rights, animal rights, tax conduct, excessive directors’ pay and more.

The boycotted brands we’ve found alternatives to – and why

We chose 20 boycotted brands to find alternatives to, but there are dozens more that could have been explored.

The leading authority on brands to boycott in support of Palestine are those led by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) National Committee, otherwise known as the BNC. The BNC is a coalition of Palestinian organisations which since 2005 has led impactful boycott campaigns against complicit brands, and it sits at the centre of the global BDS movement.

We prioritised providing alternatives to brands that: 

  • the BNC is targeting
  • are relevant to UK-based consumers
  • operate in sectors we have researched for shopping guides at Ethical Consumer.

Best Buy brands, recommended and the ‘best of a bad lot’

Secondhand or refurbished buys are nearly always our top recommendation, so you can assume that for every product type listed below we would endorse this option if possible. Buying from a more ethical local independent business is often another good choice.

The Best Buy brands listed scored positively across most of our ethical ratings categories, and recommended brands scored better than average in some. For products where few brands were operating ethically enough to recommend, we’ve named some that were at least not the worst rated.

If you want to know more details about how all the alternative brands score against specific ethical issues then you can subscribe to our website and magazine. A subscription (or donation towards a solidarity subscription) also supports our work in holding corporate power to account.

Six years of research

We generally only promote research we’ve conducted in the past couple of years, to ensure it’s up-to-date. But as millions of people worldwide are seeking ethical alternatives right now as the assault on Gaza continues, we’ve decided to share all relevant research from our guides published between 2018 and 2024.

If any new information comes to light, for example if a brand has a new owner or has drastically changed how it approaches ethical issues, we’ll update this list of alternatives accordingly on our website.
 

Palestine flag being held by group of people

Boycotted brands and alternatives

Ahava cosmetics has a production site, visitor centre and store in an illegal Israeli settlement.

Based on research for our skincare guide (2023):

Best Buy alternatives are Austin Austin, Badger, Caurnie, Conscious Skincare, Lucy Bee, Miniml, Neal Yard's Remedies, Odylique, PHB Ethical Beauty, Pure Nuff Stuff, Queenie Organics and SESI. 

Recommended alternatives are Bentleys Organic, Dr. Haushka, Faith in Nature, Green People, Lavera and Lush.
 

The Airbnb, Booking.com and Expedia brands all offer rentals in illegal Israeli settlements built on stolen Palestinian land. All were named in a 2023 UN report which listed companies involved in Israeli settlements that are considered illegal under international law.

Based on research for our travel booking companies guide (2022):

Best Buys are Canopy and Stars, FairBnB, Independent Hostels UK and YHA. Homestay is recommended. 

Amazon, alongside Google, signed a $1.2bn contract to provide cloud services for the Israeli military and government in 2021. The BNC says “By supporting Israeli apartheid with vital technologies, Amazon and Google are directly implicated in its entire system of oppression, including its unfolding genocide in Gaza.” Read more on the No Tech For Apartheid campaign website, which is run by the organisations MPOWER CHANGE (a Muslim grassroots movement) and Jewish Voice for Peace.

Based on research for our many guides as alternatives to Amazon:

  • Batteries (2023): Recommended brands are GP, Philips and Varta. Eneloop scored okay.
  • Bookshops (2023): Best Buys are Awesome Books, Better World Books, Biblio, ebooks.com, Guardian Bookshop, Oxfam, World of Books, and xigxag. Bookshop.com, Hive and Litalist are recommended. 
  • Delivery companies (2021): Parcelforce and Royal Mail are recommended. Deliveroo and JustEat scored okay.
  • Clothing – second-hand (2024): Preworn, Rokit, Thrifted and We Are Cow are Best Buy second-hand clothes stores. (In print magazine issue 207 only until end March)
  • Clothing – ethical companies (2024): Lucy and Yak, MUD, Rapanui, THTC and Where Does It Come From are just some of the Best Buy ethical clothing brands. (In print magazine issue 207 only until end March)
  • Clothing – high street (2024): For high street clothing brands, Nobody's Child, Patagonia and Seasalt are recommended. & Other Stories, COS, H&M and Marks & Spencers also scored okay. Historically M&S has been targeted by some campaigners regarding its connections to the Israeli state. We have not identified any current organised boycott calls against the brand, or stronger links between M&S and the Israeli state than other high street clothes brands. (In print magazine issue 207 only until end March)
  • Streaming Services (2018): Best Buys are Flix Premiere and Mubi. All 4 and BFI Player are recommended. 
  • Tablets and e-readers (2022): Best Buys are Kobo and Lenovo. Acer scored okay.
  • Video Conferencing (2020): Jami, Kopano, Whereby and Zoom are recommended.

According to the BNC, AXA “invests in Israeli banks financing war crimes and the theft of Palestinian land and natural resources.” The December 2023 Don’t Buy Into Occupation report named AXA as the 22nd largest European investor in companies named in the UN list of businesses involved in illegal Israeli settlements.

Based on research for our different finance guides:

  • Investment Funds (2023): Best Buys are Castlefield, Triodos Sustainable Pioneer Fund and WHEB Sustainability Fund. EdenTree and Impax are recommended. 
  • Fossil Fuel Free Investment Funds (2021): Best Buys are FP Wheb Sustainability and Triodos Pioneer Impact Fund. Castlefield Sustainable European Fund and EdenTree Amity International are recommended.
  • Car Insurance (2023): Aviva and its Quotemehappy brand are recommended. Admiral and Covea scored okay. Aviva has been criticised for having investments in weapons company BAE Systems which makes us reluctant to recommend it, but it is common for finance companies to be involved in arms. See our car insurance guide for more information about why we consider Aviva among the 'least bad' brands in its sector.
  • Home Insurance (2023): Best Buys are Ecclesiastical and Naturesave. Aviva (see above) and Quotemehappy are recommended.

Barclays owns shares worth over £1.3 billion in companies supplying Israel with weapons and military technology. Palestine Solidarity Campaign says “Barclays is bankrolling Israel’s genocidal assault on Palestinians through its financial ties with arms companies that sell weapons to Israel.”

Based on research for our different finance guides:

  • Mortgages (2022) Best Buys are Chelsea, Coventry, Leeds and Yorkshire Building Societies, Co-operative Bank and Ecology Building Society.
  • Bank Accounts (2022) The only Best Buy is Triodos. Cumberland Building Societies, the Co-operative Bank (including its Smile brand) and Nationwide are recommended.
  • Savings Accounts (2022) Charity Bank, Ecology Building Society and Triodos are all Best Buys. Chelsea, Coventry and Yorkshire Building Society scored quite well.
  • Cash ISAs (2022) Charity Bank, Ecology Building Society and Triodos are all Best Buys. Chelsea, Coventry and Yorkshire Building Society scored quite well.
  • Business Banking (2022) The only Best Buy is Triodos (not always available to new customers). The Co-operative Bank, The Cumberland and Unity Trust Bank are recommended.

The Airbnb, Booking.com and Expedia brands all offer rentals in illegal Israeli settlements built on stolen Palestinian land. All were named in a 2023 UN report which listed companies involved in Israeli settlements that are considered illegal under international law.

Based on research for our travel booking companies guide (2022):

Best Buys are Canopy and Stars, FairBnB, Independent Hostels UK and YHA. Homestay is recommended. 

The BDS National Committee says Burger King, Domino’s, McDonald’s, Papa Johns and Pizza Hut "are now being targeted in some countries by grassroots organic boycott campaigns, not initiated by the BDS movement. BDS supports these boycott campaigns because these companies, or their branches or franchisees in Israel, have openly supported apartheid Israel and/or provided generous in-kind donations to the Israeli military amid the current genocide."

Based on research for our coffee and food chains guides: 

  • Greggs was recommended when we researched it for our 2022 guide to coffee, and when we last rated food chains (2018) recommended buys were Itsu, Jamie’s Italian Kitchen and Wahaca. 

The BDS National Committee says that fossil fuel multinational Chevron, which owns the Texaco brand, “is the main corporation extracting gas claimed by apartheid Israel in the East Mediterranean. Chevron generates billions in revenues, strengthening Israel’s war chest and apartheid system, exacerbating the climate crisis and Gaza siege, and is complicit in depriving the Palestinian people of their right to sovereignty over their natural resources.”

Based on research for our diesel & petrol guide (2018):

Since we want to avoid endorsing any fossil fuel companies, we haven’t rated petrol and diesel companies since 2018. ExxonMobil was the worst-rated brand, so we’d recommend avoiding that. You can read more about the complexities of big oil company ethics in our feature on whether the big oil companies are serious about renewable energy.

Palestinian cultural organisations, including theatres and performing arts centres, are calling for “widespread boycotts” of the film Captain America: New World Order which is set to release in 2025 distributed by Disney. It features a superhero who “personifies” the Israeli state, according to the BNC, with the character’s backstory including working for Israel’s government and occupation forces. The BNC says “by reviving this racist character in any form, Marvel is promoting Israel’s brutal oppression of Palestinians”.

Based on research for our Streaming Services guide (2018): 

Best Buys are Flix Premiere and Mubi. All 4 and BFI Player are recommended. 

The BDS National Committee says Burger King, Domino’s, McDonald’s, Papa Johns and Pizza Hut "are now being targeted in some countries by grassroots organic boycott campaigns, not initiated by the BDS movement. BDS supports these boycott campaigns because these companies, or their branches or franchisees in Israel, have openly supported apartheid Israel and/or provided generous in-kind donations to the Israeli military amid the current genocide."

Based on research for our coffee and food chains guides: 

  • Greggs was recommended when we researched it for our 2022 guide to coffee, and when we last rated food chains (2018) recommended buys were Itsu, Jamie’s Italian Kitchen and Wahaca. 

The Airbnb, Booking.com and Expedia brands all offer rentals in illegal Israeli settlements built on stolen Palestinian land. All were named in a 2023 UN report which listed companies involved in Israeli settlements that are considered illegal under international law.

Based on research for our travel booking companies guide (2022):

Best Buys are Canopy and Stars, FairBnB, Independent Hostels UK and YHA. Homestay is recommended. 

Google, alongside Amazon, signed a £1.2bn contract to provide cloud services for the Israeli military and government in 2021. The BNC says “By supporting Israeli apartheid with vital technologies, Amazon and Google are directly implicated in its entire system of oppression, including its unfolding genocide in Gaza.” Read more on the No Tech For Apartheid campaign website, which is run by the organisations MPOWER CHANGE (a Muslim grassroots movement) and Jewish Voice for Peace.

Based on research for our bookshops guide (2023): 

Best Buys are Awesome Books, Better World Books, Biblio, ebooks.com, Guardian Bookshop, Oxfam, World of Books, and xigxag. Bookshop.com, Hive and Litalist are recommended. 

Based on research for our tech guides: 

  • Mobile Phones (2022): Fairphone is the Best Buy. Nokia is recommended. Otherwise, we'd recommend buying second-hand.
  • Email Providers (2019): GreenNet, Kolab Now, Posteo, Runbox and Tutan are Best Buys.
  • Hybrid laptop-tablets (2019): Lenovo TCO models were recommended. Acer, ASUS and Dell score slightly better than most brands.
  • Laptops (2022): Framework, and TCO-certified models by Acer and ASUS were recommended. Lenovo scored okay.
  • Video Conferencing (2020): Jami, Kopano, Whereby and Zoom are recommended.

Search engines

Although we don't have a shopping guide to search engines, we have reviewed and rated Ecosia, which has a higher company rating score than Google.

Hewlett-Packard Enterprise and HP Inc are both targeted by a BNC boycott call. They collectively provide services to the Israeli government, police and prisons services. The BNC says it “provides technology for Israel’s Population and Immigration Authority, a pillar of its apartheid regime.”

Based on research for our tech guides: 

  • Desktop computers (2022): TCO-certified models by Acer and Lenovo are recommended. ASUS and Dell score slightly better than most brands.
  • Laptops (2022): Framework, and TCO-certified models by Acer and ASUS are recommended. Lenovo scores okay.
  • Tablets and e-readers (2022): Kobo and Lenovo are recommended. Acer scores okay.
  • Hybrid laptop-tablets (2019): Lenovo TCO models are recommended. Acer, ASUS  and Dell score slightly better than most brands.

The BDS National Committee says Burger King, Domino’s, McDonald’s, Papa Johns and Pizza Hut "are now being targeted in some countries by grassroots organic boycott campaigns, not initiated by the BDS movement. BDS supports these boycott campaigns because these companies, or their branches or franchisees in Israel, have openly supported apartheid Israel and/or provided generous in-kind donations to the Israeli military amid the current genocide."

McDonald’s for example donated meals and beverages to Israeli military personnel and promoted the fact it was doing this on social media, according to the BNC. McDonald’s Malaysia has also allegedly sued BDS Malaysia for making “false and defamatory statements” about the company, which the BNC claims amounts to “bullying solidarity activists”.

Based on research for our coffee and food chains guides: 

  • Greggs was recommended when we researched it for our 2022 guide to coffee, and when we last rated food chains (2018) recommended buys were Itsu, Jamie’s Italian Kitchen and Wahaca. 

The BDS National Committee says Burger King, Domino’s, McDonald’s, Papa Johns and Pizza Hut "are now being targeted in some countries by grassroots organic boycott campaigns, not initiated by the BDS movement. BDS supports these boycott campaigns because these companies, or their branches or franchisees in Israel, have openly supported apartheid Israel and/or provided generous in-kind donations to the Israeli military amid the current genocide."

Based on research for our coffee and food chains guides: 

  • Greggs was recommended when we researched it for our 2022 guide to coffee, and when we last rated food chains (2018) recommended buys were Itsu, Jamie’s Italian Kitchen and Wahaca. 

The BDS National Committee says Burger King, Domino’s, McDonald’s, Papa Johns and Pizza Hut "are now being targeted in some countries by grassroots organic boycott campaigns, not initiated by the BDS movement. BDS supports these boycott campaigns because these companies, or their branches or franchisees in Israel, have openly supported apartheid Israel and/or provided generous in-kind donations to the Israeli military amid the current genocide."

Based on research for our coffee and food chains guides: 

  • Greggs was recommended when we researched it for our 2022 guide to coffee, and when we last rated food chains (2018) recommended buys were Itsu, Jamie’s Italian Kitchen and Wahaca. 

Following years of boycott pressure, Puma announced in December 2023 that its contract with the Israeli Football Association (which includes teams based in illegal settlements) would not be renewed in 2024. Until that happens, the boycott call continues. 

Based on research for our footwear and sportswear guides: 

  • Trainers (2024): Best Buys are Ethletic and SAYE. Recommended are Hylo, Oxfam, Pangaia, Preworn, Vegetarian Shoes, Veja, Vinted and Will’s Vegan Shoes. [This 2024 guide will be published in April] 
  • Sportswear (2024): Best Buys are 3rd Rock, BAM, Girlfriend Collective, Rapanui. Recommended are Community Clothing, Contra, Howies and Pangaia. [This 2024 guide will be published in April]

Siemens won a contract to connect Israel’s electricity grid with that of the EU (the EuroAsia Interconnector project). This would involve an Israel-EU submarine electricity cable that connects Israel’s illegal settlements to Europe, aiding the settlements’ maintenance and expansion.

Based on research for our appliances guides: 

  • Fridges & Freezers (2021): Best Buys are LG and Miele. John Lewis and Liebherr are recommended.
  • Dishwashers (2021): Miele is a Best Buy. Amica and Montpellier score slightly better than average.
  • Microwaves (2018): Miele is a Best Buy, and Belling recommended.
  • Gas & Electric Cookers (2021): Miele is a Best Buy, and Amica and Montpellier recommended. CDA scores okay.
  • Washing Machines (2021): Miele is a Best Buy, and LG recommended. Montpellier scores slightly better than average.
  • Coffee Machines (2022): Aeropress is a Best Buy. Bialetti, Bodum, La Cafetiere, Le’Xpress and Melitta are recommended.
  • Boilers (2023): Advance Appliances, EHC, Elnur, Heatrae, Sadia and Thermaflow are recommended for electric boilers. For gas boilers, Baxi, Glow-worm, Main, Potterton and Vaillant are recommended.
  • Heat Pumps (2023): Kensa is a Best Buy. Grant, MasterTherm, Stiebel Eltron and Vaillant are recommended.
  • Vacuum cleaners (2021): Beldray, Miele and Vax are Best Buys. Bissell, Ewbank, Henry and Numatic are recommended. 
  • Solar thermal (2021): AES Solar is a Best Buy. Apricus, Navitron, SolarUK and SunWin are recommended.

Sodastream faced a global boycott call due to owning a factory in the illegally occupied West Bank. In 2015 after intense public pressure Sodastream closed this factory and left the West Bank. However, the BNC says that Sodastream continues to be “actively complicit in Israel's policy of displacing the indigenous Bedouin-Palestinian citizens” through its factory in the naqab  (negev) region and “has a long history of racial discrimination against Palestinian workers.”

Based on research for our appliances guides: 

While we haven’t rated alternatives brands to Sodastream, the brand CO2 You appears to be a small, independent company that allows you to recycle cylinders. Philips is recommended in our batteries guide (2023). Other brands not targeted by an official BDS boycott call include: Aarke and DrinkMate.
 

The BNC says that Volvo machinery has been used by Israel in the “ethnic cleansing and forced displacement of Palestinians through the destruction of their homes, farms, and businesses, as well as the construction of illegal settlements on land stolen from them, a war crime under international law.”

Based on research for our car guide: 

Cars (2022): Citroen, DS, Fiat, Opel, Peugeot and Vauxhall are recommended. Mazda and Suzuki score slightly better than average. 

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