In March 2021 Ethical Consumer viewed the John Lewis Partnership website for the company's animal testing policy. No policy could be found. A questionnaire returned to Ethical Consumer in December 2018 stated:

“John Lewis have an established animal welfare policy which stipulates that we will not test any own-brand cosmetics, toiletries, personal care products, on animals nor will we commission others to do so on our behalf. Our branded suppliers have their own policies; however we encourage them to adopt an approach similar to our own."

In May 2018 a response for Waitrose had also stated "We operate a fixed ‘cut-off’ date of 11th March 2013 for cosmetic products and 4th July 2014 for household products."

It continued “While we have not in the past commissioned or undertaken any animal testing, we have now adopted the above fixed cut-off dates because this is the date from which our own label cosmetics and household products have been certified by Cruelty Free International's HCS and HHPS, symbolised by the 'Leaping Bunny' logo.” Waitrose was listed on the Leaping Bunny website when viewed in November 2020.

Whilst the company was considered to have a robust animal testing policy with regard to its own brand products, it also retailed non own brand products such as Estee Lauder, which faced criticism for animal testing as recently as 2020.

It therefore received a middle Ethical Consumer rating for its animal testing policy and lost half a mark in the Animal Testing category.

Reference: (19 November 2020)

In March 2021 Ethical Consumer viewed Waitrose's website and found that it sold meat that was not labelled free-range or organic.

However it was noted that Waitrose went into great detail about its animal welfare policies. The company went further than other companies in the same industry in ensuring that meat and dairy products for its own-brand products were raised to higher standards. Waitrose stated that "Close confinement systems, including farrowing crates and caged hens, are not used and stocking densities are lower than average across the supply chain."

"Production is kept as natural as possible by providing environmental and social enrichment, utilising a high forage diet for ruminant species and ensuring that dairy cows graze for at least 120 days out of the year."
"Since 2015 we have been one of a small number of businesses that have achieved Tier 1 status for the Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW)".

"Waitrose and its suppliers have won the Compassion in World Farming Good Chicken Award, Good Egg Award, Good Pig Award, Good Dairy Award have also been awarded the CiWF Best Marketing Award for our Dairy Grazing Campaign in 2016.

"In 2017 we were proud to receive an inaugural CiWF Cage Free Award. This is an industry-leading award made possible by our partnership with Winterbotham Darby, who supply our authentic continental pig meat."

Although it was taking positive steps, as it sold meat and dairy, and that was not labelled free-range or organic, Waitrose lost a whole mark under Ethical Consumer's Factory Farming and Animal Rights categories.

Reference: (4 June 2020)

In March 2021 Ethical Consumer viewed the Animal Welfare Policy available on the John Lewis website. The company's latest Corporate Responsibility Report (2018/19) was also viewed.

The CSR report stated, "John Lewis & Partners use a wide mix of materials to make their products. Buying and technical Partners work with suppliers to source these materials in a more sustainable way including timber, cotton, recycled polyester, leather and feather and down. To help our buyers navigate the complexities of sourcing sustainable materials, we’ve developed Materials Matter - a guide for buyers to use when developing new ranges, looking at new suppliers or reviewing existing assortments. The guide is designed to support the sourcing process as we transition our supply base to more sustainable materials. We are currently expanding the guide further and moving it to a new online platform for our Partners and suppliers to access. In 2019, we’ll also be focusing on improving the traceability of some of our key raw materials with a focus on cashmere and mohair, working with our supply chain to guarantee traceability back to the farm. We’ll report more on our progress next year."

The company's Ethics and Sustainability Progress Report 2019/20 was also viewed, which stated with regard to down: "We continue to work with all our own-brand feather and down suppliers to implement certified responsible standards in their supply chains, and are on track to meet our target and report this as a percentage by the end of the 2020/21 financial year." The company's target was "100% of feather and down used in own-brand products to be from certified responsible sources by the end of January 2021." No further detail was provided on this.

The Materials Matter guide was not found online. Due to the fact that the company sold leather, it lost half a mark under Ethical Consumer’s Animal Rights category.

It also lost half a mark in the Pollution and Toxics category for the following reason: leather, as the hide of a dead animal, naturally decomposes. To prevent this decomposition the leather industry uses a cocktail of harmful chemicals including trivalent chromium sulphate, sodium sulphide, sodium sulfhydrate, arsenic and cyanide to preserve it. Tannery effluent also contains large amounts of other pollutants, such as protein, hair, salt, lime sludge and acids. These can all pollute the land, air, and water supply making it a highly polluting industry.

Regarding feather and down, the company sold own-brand feather and down products including duvets and pillows, with no information in the product details online about animal welfare. According to campaign group Four Paws, animal suffering from the live-plucking and force-feeding of geese and ducks was present in the general down supply chains. In order to avoid these practices, a company was expected to adopt a standard that would trace and audit their whole supply chain, including higher-risk parent farms, to ensure such cruelties are excluded. Four Paws had found that certificates and audit reports from suppliers themselves 'do not provide sufficient guarantees that animals have a cruelty free life.' As the company had not adopted a down standard that included higher-risk parent farms, it lost a whole mark under the Animal Rights category.

The company therefore lost a whole mark under Ethical Consumer's Animal Rights category for sale of leather and inadequare poicies on feather and down. It also lost half a mark under Pollution & Toxics for selling leather that was not LWG gold certified.

Reference: (4 June 2020)

The John Lewis retail website, viewed by Ethical Consumer in November 2020, showed a number of garments on sale which were made with the use of merino wool. Ethical Consumer searched for updates in March 2021 and none was found.

No policy related to merino wool was found.

According to PETA, the production of Austrailian merino wool involved the cruel practice of mulesing. Merino sheep are specifically bred to have wrinkled skin, which means more wool per animal. Attracted to the moisture, flies lay eggs in the folds of skin, and the hatched maggots can eat the sheep alive. In order to prevent this condition called “flystrike,” Australian ranchers perform 'mulesing' which involves carving huge strips of skin and flesh off the backs of unanesthetized lambs’ legs and around their tails. This is done to cause smooth, scarred skin that won’t harbor fly eggs, yet the bloody wounds often get flystrike before they heal.

In the absence of a clear stated policy against using Australian merino wool, the company lost half a mark under the Animal Rights category.

Reference: (19 November 2020)