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Ethical brand ratings and accreditation since 2001

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How ethical and sustainable is Boots? 

Boots is included in The Good Shopping Guide‘s Cold Remedies Ethical Ratings Table. Boots has yet to meet our ethical standards, but we believe that in the future, the brand will make the necessary changes to function as a more ethical organisation. Boots might increase consumer trust by applying for Ethical Accreditation, which would include a more complete examination and suggestions for ethical development.

More information on the ethical issues the cold remedy industry faces may be found in The Good Shopping Guide to Ethical cold and flu medicine.

What does Boots do?

Boots was founded in 1849 by herbalist John boot in Nottingham and most recently merged with Walgreens in 2014. The headquarters for the Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. are located in Illinois, United States. This brand sells a large range of beauty products as well as health and pharmaceuticals with a large reputation developed through products such as cold and flu medicine. The brand has over 2,200 stores such as small local pharmacies to large health and beauty stores.

For which criteria does Boots perform poorly? 

Boots received a low rating for Organic products, Animal Welfare, Irresponsible Marketing and Political Donations. The list of businesses by PETA that test on animals includes Walgreens, which contradicts claims made by the brand that all Walgreens Boots Alliance does not test on animals.

Past Criticisms of Boots’s ethical record

Boots faced criticism as Karex, a supplier of condoms to the NHS and a number of high-end British retailers such as Boots, has been charged with maintaining inadequate working conditions in its Malaysian factory. Factory workers from Nepal and Bangladesh who were interviewed by The Telegraph also claimed they were living in claustrophobic and degrading conditions, including sleeping in mouldy and dirty dormitories.

In what areas does Boots score well for its ethics?

The cold and flu provider receives a high score for its Environmental Report. The Walgreens Boots Alliance released an ESG report which included evidence of progress and several targets for the future. The brand also received a high rating for Genetic Modification, Nuclear Power and Armaments. Boots also sells Vitamins that are certified by The Vegan Society.

How can Boots improve its ethical rating?

The Ethical rating of a brand is divided into three categories by The Good Shopping Guide: the Environment, People and Animals. Find out more about how we rate. Boots might apply for Ethical Accreditation for more detailed guidance on how to improve.

Boots may improve its rating and fulfil our fundamental ethical requirements by ceasing all Political Donations and ensure that the brand does not test on animals at all.

Are you curious about how obtaining Ethical Accreditation could be beneficial for your brand? Accredited brands can display The Good Shopping Guide mark, showcasing to consumers that it can be trusted as an ethical and sustainable brand. Visit our Ratings Tables to learn about which brands within the Ethical Cold Remedies sector have been awarded with our ethical certification.

Would you like more information? Please get in touch or fill out a Free Initial Assessment form.

Ethical performance in category


GSG score


GSG category benchmark


Ethical Rating


  • Environmental Report


  • Genetic Modification


  • Organic


  • Nuclear Power


  • Fossil Fuels



  • Animal Welfare


  • Vegetarian/Vegan Verified



  • Armaments


  • Irresponsible Marketing


  • Political Donations



  • Ethical Accreditation


  • Public Record Criticisms


= GSG Top Rating = GSG Middle Rating = GSG Bottom Rating