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How ethical and sustainable is Church’s?

Church’s is a shoe brand, owned by Prada, that has been researched and rated for its company ethics sustainability and CSR by The Good Shopping Guide. Unfortunately, this shoe brand has not met our Ethical Benchmark, and so is not yet eligible for Ethical Accreditation. We encourage all brands, however, to apply for Ethical Accreditation, as this process opens a company up for even further investigation by The Good Shopping Guide, and results in tailored advice and consultancy on business ethics and sustainability in order to improve a brand’s Ethical Rating and impact on the Environment, Animals and People.

See how Church’s ranks on our Shoes & Trainers: Ethical Comparison Ratings Table, and compare it to other brands.

You can find out more about the ethical issues that the shoe and trainers industry faces in our comprehensive report on the sector.

About Church’s

Thomas Church established Church’s, a high-end shoe company, in Northampton, England, in 1873. In a US$170 million agreement, the company was taken over by the Italian luxury fashion house Prada in 1999.

Some have criticised Prada’s management of Church’s, pointing to a change in the fashion industry away from traditional designs and craftsmanship, which has led to a gradual decline in quality.

Church’s became actively involved in the growth of the footwear business in general between the two world wars. Church’s served as a founding member of the British Boot, Shoe and Allied Trades Research Association when it was established in 1919. This collaboration led to the founding of Northampton Technical College in 1925. In 2005, this developed into the University of Northampton.

Church’s and its environmental impact

Church’s receives a high rating for its parent company’s Environmental Report. Prada has a Sustainability Report, which contains evidence of environmental progress and a lessening environmental impact, as well as targets on carbon reduction and the use of green technology in transport.

However, Church’s receives a low rating for its lack of Sustainable Materials used in its shoes; no Sustainable Materials were used in the manufacturing of its products.

Are Church’s shoes Vegan?

Church’s do not make any Vegan shoes, and Prada has been criticised by PETA for testing on animals. However, Prada does cite a ‘fur-free policy’.

Prada and Human Rights

Unfortunately, Prada does not have a good track record when it comes to Human Rights and gets some low Ethical Ratings in our categories relating to People.

Though Prada has a Code of Conduct and takes a stance against modern slavery, these documents solely address forced labour and have no additional mention of labour rights; both are exceedingly ambiguous and not deserving of even a middle ranking (Modern Slavery Statements are a legal requirement for large companies so this is nothing to give Prada credit for).

How Church’s could improve its Ethical Ratings?

Church’s could improve its Ethical Ratings by publishing more information on its Code of Ethics or Code of Conduct, and allow itself to be held to account for worker rights within the company, and within the wider supply chain. We also encourage all shoe brands who are seeking to improve their ethics, sustainability and CSR to provide consumers with Vegan options, as this is a sustainable choice, and also fulfils consumer demand for Vegan footwear.

If your fashion brand values ethics and sustainability, why not check out The Good Shopping Guide‘s Ethical Accreditation? Increase customer and investor confidence and stand out from the greenwash.

Ethical performance in category


GSG score


GSG category benchmark


Ethical Rating


  • Environmental Report


  • Nuclear Power


  • Sustainable Materials


  • Fossil Fuels



  • Animal Welfare


  • Vegan Options



  • Armaments


  • Code of Conduct


  • Political Donations


  • Ethical Trading Schemes


  • Human Rights



  • Ethical Accreditation


  • Other Criticisms


  • Other Criticisms+


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