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Top 5 Ethical High Street Shops

The high street isn’t renowned for its ethics, but a handful of brands are doing something different. 

We list the top 5 ethical mainstream brands, to help you support the high street. The list is compiled using our unique Ethiscore ranking system.

Lush

You can smell Lush shops from a mile away and their ethics are as sweet-smelling as their products. This company refuses to test on animals and supports campaign organisations and initiatives like the Climate Defence Project, Demilitarise Education and The Lush Prize, a yearly event that funds research to replace animal-testing.

It tries to use only natural ingredients and has taken action to ensure that it does not use ingredients like mica that are linked to human rights abuses. And the reason that you can smell them from a mile away is that they minimise packaging with some of their shops only selling products that are packaging free.

Image: Lush cosmetics

Ethical score: 11

You can find Lush in a selection of our beauty shopping guides:

Patagonia

Patagonia is a B-Corp, or ‘Benefit Corporation’. This means that employees, communities and the environment are considered alongside shareholders in decision making processes. In September 2022, its owner donated the $3 billion company to the climate – ensuring that all profits will go towards supporting climate action.

The company has worked hard to change things in the high street clothing and outdoor gear world, where ethics are notoriously low.

It champions more ethical down – meaning that feathers used in your jacket aren’t from live plucking. It uses recycled plastic in the vast majority of its polyester fabric, including for its trademark fleeces.

image: patagonia tshirt go organic ethical clothing best buy

Ethical Score: 10.5

You can find Patagonia in a number of our clothing shopping guides:

The Co-op Group

The Co-op sell everything from food to electricals. They now have food stores in most town centres and are a leader in supermarket ethics  including for fair trade ingredients. They are also owned by an active membership (rather than shareholders) and have a strong internal democracy.

They have started publishing a yearly report and action plan called the "Co-operative Way". This sets out their latest commitments to a tackling a number of issues including climate change, loneliness and waste.

Image:co-op blue branding shop front ethical consumer

Ethical Score: 5.5

While they have a low score of 5.5, they tend to be the best out of a bad bunch when it comes to supermarkets. 

See how the Coop score in a range of our includes, particularly for food and home products.

Oxfam

Oxfam Books is a top ethical option in our ‘Alternatives to Amazon’ Booksellers Guide. Second-hand is undoubtedly the most ethical option on the High Street, and Oxfam sells a wide range of pre-loved books, clothes, furniture and electronics in its shops.

For products it does sell new, it’s making sure that workers are treated fairly, and receives our best rating for its Supply Chain Management.

Oxfam logo

Ethical Score: 11.5

You can find Oxfam in a number of our retailers shopping guides:

John Lewis

The John Lewis' Partnership company structure makes it one of the more progressive shops on the high street. The Partnership is an employee-owned business with the workers sharing in company profits and having a say in how the business is run.

While its Ethical Score leaves a fair bit of room for improvement, it does outrank many of the other high street alternatives with its Waitrose brand in our supermarkets guide. 

Image: johhn lewis st pancras store front

Ethical Score: 4.5

John Lewis feature in many of our home and garden product guides: 

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