Top Five Ethical High Street Shops

We list the top 5 ethical mainstream brands, to help you support the high street


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 various campaign organisations such as the Hunt Saboteurs Association and Plane Stupid, which campaigns against the expansion of the airline industry. It tries to use only natural ingredients and most things are made in the UK so you know workers are unlikely to suffer.

Image: Lush cosmetics

Ethical score: 12

You can find Lush in a selection of our beauty 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 ethics. They are also owned by an active membership (rather than shareholders) and have an strong internal democracy. They recently released a new "Co-operative Way" action plan which sets out their commitment to a tackling a number of issues including climate change and waste.

Image:co-op blue branding shop front ethical consumer

Ethical Score: 5

While they have a low score of 5, they tend to be the best out of a bad bunch when it comes to brands on the high street. 

Marks and Spencer

Marks and Spencer is a cornerstone of the British high street. It is now a leader in terms of high street ethics and has been applauded from all sides for its Plan A commitments to the environment. In our recent guide to supermarkets it came second on both our scoretable and our sector specific supermarket ranking table. It also came second in our supply chain ranking on our clothes shops guide. 

Image: marks and spencer sign reflecting edinburgh

Ethical Score: 5

See our M&S score in the following guides:

WH Smith

WH Smith is the only large bookseller to score a best rating in our 'Alternatives to Amazon' bookshops guide for both their environmental reporting and supply chain management. While the company might not shout about its ethics it is clearly taking its social and environmental responsibilities seriously.

Image: wh smith

Ethical Score: 11

WH Smith feature in the following guide: 

John Lewis

The John Lewis' Partnership company structure make it one of the most 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.

Image: johhn lewis st pancras store front

Ethical Score: 4

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

Become a subscriber today

Ethics made easy - comprehensive, simple to use, transparent and reliable ethical rankings. A wealth of data at your fingertips.

Only £29.95 for 12 months web access and the print magazine. Cancel via phone or email within 30 days for a full, no-questions-asked refund!

Start your subscription - find out more