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Is Coast ethical and sustainable?

The Good Shopping Guide gives Coast, an online fast fashion brand owned by Boohoo Group PLC, a low Ethical Rating. Unfortunately, this brand receives a Good Shopping Guide Ethical Score in our Ethical Fashion Retailers Ratings Table and has not yet met our minimum benchmark. This brand has several areas to improve upon before it would likely qualify for our Ethical Accreditation.

In what areas does Coast perform poorly? 

Coast scored low for the Environment, Animals, and People, partly because it is a fast fashion company and therefore commits all kinds of ethical infractions.

Although some of the subsidiaries of the Boohoo Group label its products as being produced exclusively from organic cotton (e.g., Burton, Nasty Gal, Dorothy Perkins), there is no certification or verification from an external body to support this claim. Certification ensures that cotton, one of the “dirtiest crops,” was not grown in a way that may have harmed farmers, ecosystems, wildlife, or communities living locally. Coast was therefore given a very low score for our Organic criteria.

PETA has also criticised parent, company, Boohoo for its use of wool in its products. In response to these complaints, Boohoo announced to the media that it would stop selling wool products in its online shops. This story also confirms that Boohoo reneged on this agreement in response to complaints from sheep producers. Because Coast’s products can still include wool, vegans may wish to steer clear of this brand.

Coast’s track record with animal welfare infringements doesn’t improve much from there; parent company, Boohoo received criticism for marketing actual fur—likely from a rabbit—as faux fur. This entails deceiving customers and killing animals only for fashion. This is just one more reason why folks who are vegetarians, vegans, or who care about animal welfare may wish to avoid this business until it sets higher standards and begins to work toward receiving our Ethical Accreditation! Due to these occurrences, we did not award Coast a high rating for its Animal Welfare Policy.

According to a 2020 report by Labour Behind the Label, only £3.50 per hour was paid to (UK) garment workers who worked exclusively for the Boohoo Group, far less than the £8.72 minimum wage in the UK at the time. The business is also accused of managing factories in Leicester that were operational during the UK lockdown, exposing workers to Covid-19, and openly threatening vulnerable workers.

Another Human Rights violation is discussed in The COVID Fashion Report, a version of Baptist World Aid Australia’s Ethical Fashion Report, which was published in 2020. The study is organised around six COVID Fashion Commitments, which demand that businesses provide evidence of the measures they are taking to help and safeguard their most vulnerable supply chain participants. Coast did not demonstrate compliance with any of the COVID Fashion Commitments through its actions.

In a report released by the Environmental Audit Committee, the UK’s least environmentally friendly apparel brands include Coast and Missguided (EAC). The EAC requested proof of the steps 16 British shops are doing to lessen the environmental effect of the apparel they sell in a letter it delivered in November 2018. The audit also showed that neither of the previously mentioned two businesses had agreed to the Action, Collaboration, and Transformation labour rights pact, which strives to ensure that all garment workers receive a livable wage.

In what areas does Coast perform well? 

Though the aims of the Coast Annual Report 2020 are ambiguous, Coast’s 2021 Sustainability Plan does improve somewhat by including a few objectives; these goals focus on packaging reduction and reducing operational carbon emissions by an average of 4.2% every year. However, with the Net Zero 2050 deadline, Coast will have to stick closely to that reduction percentage if they are to meet this global target.

Coast also has a thorough Code of Conduct; this kind of documentation means that both consumers and investors can hold companies to account, and see which brands are planning for a sustainable future. See Coast’s Code of Conduct here.

How can the Coast brand improve its Ethical Rating? 

The Good Shopping Guide’s score results from 15 ethical criteria in relation to Coast. To reach our Ethical Benchmark and qualify for our Ethical Accreditation, Coast has several issues to deal with, including its poor animal welfare standards and treatment of workers in its supply chain.

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


  • Organic


  • Nuclear Power


  • Better Cotton Initiative


  • Fossil Fuels



  • Animal Welfare



  • Armaments


  • Code of Conduct


  • Political Donations


  • Ethical Trading Schemes


  • Human Rights


  • Human Rights+



  • Ethical Accreditation


  • Other Criticisms


  • Other Criticisms+


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