In July 2020 Ethical Consumer searched the Tesco PLC website for its animal testing policy. A webpage called ‘Maintaining and improving animal welfare’ was found, dated 1/08/2019.

It stated: "We do not commission or carry out testing on animals for pharmaceutical, cosmetic or household products. Where animal testing is required by law for food safety purposes, we require that these are carried out in line with applicable regulation".

In January 2020 this statement was also found: "We do not carry out, commission or fund testing on animals for consumer products. Where animal testing of chemicals is required by law for safety purposes, these are carried out in line with applicable regulation. This applies across the Group". However, this statement could not be found in July 2020.

The company's Corporate Responsiblity Report 2010 stated: "We do not support testing on animals forcosmetic or household products and do not carry out or commission such tests on ourown-brand products or the ingredients theycontain.Tesco Naturally and Natural ranges donot use any ingredient that has been tested orretested on animals for cosmetic purposes,since 31 December 1990. All otherTesco products operate a fixed cut-off date, for ingredients, of 31 December 2007". However, as the report was ten years old and no more recent mention could be found as to whether Tesco had maintained the use of a fixed cut-off date this was not taken into consideration.

The company was also selling non own-brand products made by companies which were directly involved in testing their products on animals at the time of writing. Tesco received Ethical Consumer's worst rating for its Animal Testing policy and lost a mark under this category.

Reference: (10 January 2020)

In July 2020 Ethical Consumer searched Tesco's website It displayed a number of meat and dairy products for sale that were not labelled as free range or organic. It consequently lost whole marks under the Factory Farming and Animal Rights categories.

Reference: (21 July 2020)

According to an article on the Guardian website on 30 January 2015, the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) had criticised Tesco for its poor availability of certified sustainably caught fish. While the market leading supermarket sold 163 certified products over the last financial year, Tesco (with nearly a quarter of the certified fish market) increased its product line by just one, from 17 to 18.
The MSC reported that "71% of UK consumers thought it important for supermarkets to sell sustainably caught seafood" and that "sustainably fished popular species such as cod, haddock, tuna and prawns were making their way on to UK supermarket shelves in record numbers, driven by the progress made by the leading retailers." However, some retailers were not following the example set. MSC's senior UK manager said "Safeguarding the world’s oceans is essential if we are to maintain healthy fish populations, economies and ecosystems. ... Only through the blue MSC ecolabel can consumers be sure that what they choose to put on their plate will be from an MSC certified sustainable fishery." It lost half a mark under Habitats and Resources and a whole mark under Factory Farming.


UK supermarkets failing to stock enough sustainable fish, says report (30 January 2015)

In July 2020 Ethical Consumer searched Tesco’s website,, for a bee welfare policy, as the company sold own-brand honey. No specific information could be found within the company’s sustainability reports and policies.

The company’s animal welfare policy was viewed, updated 1/08/2019 . The policy stated that Tesco’s Animal Welfare Policy endorsed the “Five Freedoms” concept, proposed by the Farm Animal Welfare Council. However the animal welfare policy contained no section specific to bees and honey production processes. Considering the bee welfare issues associated with honey production (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.

Tesco lost half a mark under Animal Rights.

Reference: (21 July 2020)

In July 2020 Tesco’s consumer website was searched. The company was found to be selling products containing feathers or down, for example a "Fox & Ivy Duck Feather Pillow". In September 2019 Ethical Consumer had also noted that the company was selling duvets and jackets using down or feathers.

Tesco PLC’s website was searched for an Animal Welfare policy. A page was found titled ‘Maintaining and improving animal welfare’, dated  01/08/2018. It covered both food and non-food (as a by-product of food production) products and stated its approach to animal welfare was based on the Five Freedoms: Freedom from hunger and thirst, Freedom from discomfort, Freedom from pain, injury or disease, Freedom to express normal behaviour and Freedom from fear and distress.

It stated ‘feather and down obtained from the live plucking of birds must not be used’. However no further information was provided on how Tesco enforces or certifies this policy in its supply chain.

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 were excluded.

As Tesco had not adopted a sufficiently robust down standard, it lost half a mark under Ethical Consumer’s Animal Rights category.

Reference: (25 September 2019)