In June 2020 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."
“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 June 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 from companies known to test on animals such as L'Oreal and Pfizer. It therefore received a middle Ethical Consumer rating for its animal testing policy.

Reference: (4 June 2020)

In June 2020 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."

However, 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 January 2020 Ethical Consumer viewed the John Lewis Sustainability Report 2016/17 and 2018/19. An Animal Welfare policy was sent in response to a questionnaire, however this was dated 2014 so gave no update on the traceability target below. The 2018/19 report only mentioned leather in passing as a material the company was looking to source more sustainably, the 2016/17 report stated:
"Leather has a considerable environmental footprint at every stage of the supply chain, from animal farming to hide processing and manufacturing of the final product. Our efforts are focused on overcoming the environmental impacts of the leather-tanning process as this is where we have the most leverage with our suppliers. In 2016 we joined the Leather Working Group (LWG) - an independent organisation of brands, retailers and suppliers which has developed an environmental audit for tanneries. Our initial aim is to ensure we have 100% traceability of the tanneries that produce leather for John Lewis products. Once this is in place we will work with our suppliers to ensure these tanneries have been audited to the LWG standard. This year we began mapping the tanneries that supply our suppliers in India and have conducted on-the-ground research to understand the issues facing the sector. In addition, we are developing more resources and training for our Buyers to understand the impacts of leather production."
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 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 2016/17 report stated:
‘we recognise the animal welfare risks associated with geese and duck farming. We have strict animal welfare standards in place and have been working with the animal welfare charity Four Paws since 2015 to help us improve our approach to feather and down sourcing.
In 2016 we committed to sourcing 100% of our feather and down from certified-responsible sources such as those covered by the Responsible Down Standard (RDS) by the end of 2020/21. These standards provide independent verification that the feather and down we use does not come from sources that practice live plucking or force feeding.’
The 2018/19 report restated this target and said that it was "We're working with all our feather and down suppliers to implement certified responsible standards in our feather and down supply chains and we're on track to meet our target".
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.


Our Responsibilities 2016-17 (January 2017)

In June 2020 Ethical Consumer searched Waitrose’s website for a policy on bee welfare. The company’s animal welfare policy provided general statements about the company’s commitments to animal welfare. These included the 'five freedoms': Freedom from Hunger and Thirst; Freedom from Discomfort; Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease; Freedom to Express Normal Behaviour; Freedom from Fear and Distress. However the animal welfare policy contained no section specific to bees and honey production processes.

The website stated that the company had published a Seven Point Plan for Pollinators in 2013. This covered the use of pesticides such as neonicotinoids. It also committed the company to monitor and develop bee/pollinator activity through its farm engagement and supply chain development work and investing in the development of organic farming.

The company had developed a bee app that it was promoting as part of a citizen science project to identify flowers that were most attractive to pollinators.

The company did not, however, appear to have a policy on bee welfare in relation to honey production. Considering the bee welfare issues associated with honey production such as bee mutilation and the killing of drones, colonies or brood to ensure maximum honey yield, Ethical Consumer felt it necessary for companies producing honey to have a policy ensuring this was not happening in their supply chain. The company lost half a mark in the Animal Rights category.

Reference: (4 June 2020)