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Company Profile FAQs

Here are some FAQs about our company profile pages

What does the company score mean?

We score companies out of 100.

The higher the score, the more ethical the company is.

There is a simple traffic light system on the scores to give you a rough guide to how a company is doing.

  • Red is for scores of 0 - 25. The companies need to do much more to improve their ethics, and we suggest you avoid buying from them where possible.
  • Amber is for scores of 25 - 59 The companies are doing some positive work but could do more.
  • Green is for scores of 60+. We consider these to be ethical companies that are worth supporting.

If you are comparing scores of companies, we recommend doing this within a shopping guide [link to guides], which is how we rate them. The scores do not necessarily compare neatly between guides, as different ratings categories are used in different market sectors.

Updating our scoring system

We are currently updating our rating system. 

Some companies will be rated using the new system, and some using the old one.

Both systems now score companies out of 100, but each rates companies differently.

You can see this in the “stories” section at the bottom of the guide.

Companies rated using the new system will have their stories marked as “new rating system”

Companies rated using the old system will have their stories marked as “pre 2024 ratings”

How scores are calculated using the new system

Each company will be scored out of 100, starting at 0 and gaining or losing marks depending on their policies and practice. 

Each company will always be rated on Climate, Workers, Animals, Tax and Company Ethos, as well as additional bespoke categories depending on the markets they are covered in. 

For example, Amazon, which operates in several markets, will have additional ratings due to its inclusion in the clothing guide and tech guides. 

You can see the stories used to calculate the score at the bottom of the profile page.

How are scores calculated in the old system?

We previously scored companies out of 15. To make the guides compatible with our new rating system we have used a multiplier to create a score out of 100. New guides rate companies out of 100 

We use a negative-based scoring system. A company starts with 14 and then loses marks if it is criticised in one of our categories.

Companies can also score a positive mark under Company Ethos if they commit to certain things (e.g. all products are Fairtrade or vegan) across their whole company group.

Details of why a company has been deducted or awarded points can be found under 'Ethical Stories' (subscribers only).

What is the scoring based on?

We rate companies, brands and products based on the brand owner known as the ultimate holding company (UHC). This means you can see exactly where your money goes when you buy a product and also reflects the fact that the UHC ultimately has power over what a brand does.

Some websites or magazines look at ethical products, but Ethical Consumer is the only organisation which provides fully transparent rankings of the companies behind the brands.

Some products might be considered 'ethical', but the company that owns the brand might not be. Isn't it better to buy a cruelty-free product from a company that doesn't test its other items on animals, or recycled toilet paper from a firm that isn't cutting down virgin forests for its other ranges?

The scoring is based on 300 topics in 5 main areas:

  • animals
  • environment
  • people
  • politics
  • product sustainability.

Every company starts with a score of 14, we then take points off if they get criticised in one of the categories. The stories relating to this scoring are in blue on the table.

Plus points are awarded for product sustainability (e.g. the product is vegan) Or company ethos (e.g. the company is a co-operative).

If there is no category heading it means that there are no stories in that category for that brand.

See a full explanation about our Ratings and Categories here

How do I see more information on the stories behind the scores?

We pride ourselves on the fact our rating system is fully transparent, so you can see exactly why a company has scored the way it has.

Click on a story heading to see the stories that make up the score. On company profile pages you’ll need to subscribe to see these.

How often do you rate companies?

We are rating companies every day and scores on the tables update every 24 hours. However, we don’t rate every company every day (there are over 3000 in our guides!).

We rate all the companies on a guide and update the text at least once every three years to make sure everything is up to date.

What are ‘related brands’?

Related brands are those that are owned by the company. Some companies such as Nestle may own many brands, others such as Faith in Nature may only own one brand.

What are ‘related shopping guides’?

Related shopping guides are those shopping guides that include brands that are owned by the company.

Some companies such as Nestle may own many brands and will, therefore, appear in many guides, while others  may only own one brand and appear in a single guide.

How does the ownership structure work?

The ownership structure shows who owns the company. This ownership could be by one company or by several.

What are ‘ethical stories’?

Stories are the main recent references to our research for this company. They are organised according to the 5 main and 19 sub-categories. 

If you click on an individual story name you can see the reference, along with the date.

If there is no category heading it means that there are no stories in that category for that company.

Why do I see stories for other companies and brands in the ethical stories?

As mentioned above, we rate companies at the UHC (ultimate holding company) level. 

This means that a company or brand can pick up marks from its parent company, and other companies which have the same ownership. For example organic brand Pukka Herbs is 100% owned by chemicals giant Unilever, and so picks up marks from Unilever and other companies owned by Unilever.

Some companies are just partly owned by another company. For example Good Energy is 25% owned by Ecotricity and so stories for Ecotricity may appear under Good Energy and visa versa.

See a full explanation about our Ratings and Categories here

What is a ‘Best Buy’?

In every shopping guide, we give our independent Best Buy recommendations. These are based on our research and expert knowledge of consumer markets and help consumers to buy the most ethical products in each market.

On the company pages, we acknowledge any companies that have been awarded Best Buy status in our guides.

Why include boycotts?

We adopt an approach that says even if you can't buy the most ethical in each market you can often boycott the very worst.

On some company profile pages, we mention when companies are the subject of a boycott call from a campaign group

Find out which companies are under a boycott call in our list of consumer boycotts.

What is the Tweet / Email tool for?

You can contact some companies on our site using the twitter and email buttons on this page. You can either use the pre-filled text in the tweets and emails or write your own message.

We believe that an important part of ethical consumption is contacting companies to let them know about your buying habits. For good companies it lets them know you value their ethical stance.

For companies that you are avoiding it lets them know that they are losing custom due to their lack of ethics and that you expect them to take action to improve their ethics.

Why do you have a paywall?

We are an independent not-for-profit co-operative and need the revenue generated by subscribers to fund our research and campaign work.

You'll find some of the company profile pages have some free information about companies available to all users. This helps give users an overview of some of the most searched for companies.

For access to all the information we have on each company you'll need to subscribe.

I can't find the company I want to know about

We are only able to research a finite number of companies. The companies that currently have company profile pages are limited to those that appear on our shopping guide pages.

What is Ethical Consumer?

Ethical Consumer is a not-for-profit co-operative based in Manchester, UK. Since 1989 we’ve been researching companies and brands to help people make informed ethical choices. Find out more about us.