The document 'GSK Public Policy Position Statement on Nanotechnology' (May 2019) was downloaded from the GlaxoSmithKline website,, in April 2020.

The document stated that the company had no products on the market that contained deliberately engineered nanomaterials but also stated that it sold sunscreen containing "nano-sized titanium dioxide" and that it was "using nanotechnologyin our development programmesto explore ways of enhancing the effectiveness of new antigensor to potentially expand the uses of existing commercial vaccines".

Ethical Consumer considered nanotechnology to be a technology that carried potential environmental and health risks, and had not yet been sufficiently established as safe. The company therefore lost half a mark under the Controversial Technologies category.

Reference: (16 April 2020)

In April 2020 Ethical Consumer viewed the profile of GlaxoSmithKline on the Open Secrets website, run by the Center for Responsive Politics.
It stated that, in 2019, GlaxoSmithKline had donated $318,636 to political parties and candidates. 64.02% of this was through PACs (Political Action Committee) and 35.98% through individuals associated with the organisation. GlaxoSmithKline donated to both Republican and Democrat parties.
It stated that GlaxoSmithKline had spent $4,690,000 on lobbying in 2019. It also stated that 34 out of 41 GlaxoSmithKline lobbyists in 2019 have previously held government jobs.
The company lost a whole mark under Political Activities.


Open Secrets generic ref 2020 (2020)

An investigation by The Times published on April 15 2017 disclosed that FTSE 100 groups had spent more than £24 million on lobbying in Brussels and about £335,000 funding all-party parliamentary groups in Westminster. The research examined political spending between January 2015 to March 2017.
Less than £10,000 of identified political and lobbying spending in the EU was disclosed to shareholders in the companies’ recent annual reports.

According to the report GlaxoSmithKline spent 1,750,000 euros on EU lobbying.
The company did not donate any fund to all-party parliamentary groups.
When contacted, the company did not reply.
The company lost half a mark under Political Activities.


Big business spends £25m on lobbying politicians (15 April 2017)

In February 2020 Ethical Consumer saw that GlaxoSmithKline was listed as a member of the World Economic Forum on the organisation's website. The World Economic Forum was considered by Ethical Consumer to be free trade lobby groups able to exert undue influence on governments to the possible detriment of people and the environment.
As a result GlaxoSmithkline lost half a mark under Political Activities.


February 2020 Members list (February 2020)

In April 2020 Ethical Consumer viewed the GlaxoSmithKline Annual Report 2019. It stated that three people had been paid salaries of over £1 million in 2019. The highest paid received a total of £8,369,000.
As Ethical Consumer deemed any annual salaries over £1 million to be excessive, GlaxoSmithKline lost half a mark under Anti-Social Finance.


Annual Report 2019 (2019)

In April 2020 Ethical Consumer viewed GlaxoSmithKline's family tree on the D&B Hoovers corporate database. This showed that the company had numerous subsidiaries in jurisdictions considered by Ethical Consumer to be tax havens at the time of writing. These were in Switzerland, Bermuda, Singapore, Hong Kong, Ireland, Netherlands, Curacao, Mauritius, Malta, Cyprus and Delaware. Of these, at least seven were holding companies, which was a high risk company type for likely use of tax avoidance strategies:
GSK Consumer Healthcare S.A. in Switzerland
GlaxoSmithKline Far East B.V. in the Netherlands
Glaxo Wellcome International B.V. in the Netherlands
An internet search using the search terms “GlaxoSmithKline tax policy statement country” found no country-by-country financial information or reporting (CBCR). Ethical Consumer viewed the company's Tax Strategy document which stated "We do not engage in artificial tax arrangements –those without business or commercial substance –and we do not seek to avoid tax using ‘tax havens’ or transactions we would not fully disclose to a taxauthority." This was considered an acceptable clear public tax statement confirming that it was this company’s policy not to engage in tax avoidance activity or to use tax havens for tax avoidance purposes. However, the company did not provide a narrative explaining what each group entity located in a tax haven was for, and why it was not being used for purposes of tax minimisation. It stated that it supported CBCR reporting and the sharing of this information with tax authorities. It also stated "We are aware of the ongoing debate around public disclosure of CBCR data and continue to monitor developments in this area" implying that the company was not yet making this information publicly available.
Given that GlaxoSmithKline had two or more high risk subsidiaries in jurisdictions on Ethical Consumer's tax haven list and provided no country-by-country financial information, nor narrative explanation of the purpose of each entity, the company received Ethical Consumer's worst rating for likely use of tax avoidance strategies and lost a whole mark under Anti-Social Finance.


Generic Hoovers ref (2020)