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Ethical brand ratings and accreditation since 2001

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Is Costa an ethical coffee brand?

Established in London in 1971, Costa is the largest coffee chain in the UK and the second largest worldwide. It is owned by The Coca-Cola Company. Despite its popularity, Costa unfortunately receives a low score on The Good Shopping Guide’s Ethical Coffee Ratings Table and therefore cannot be classed as an Ethical Coffee brand.

If Costa were to make some improvements to its brand it could apply for Ethical Accreditation. In doing so, The Good Shopping Guide could provide Costa with a detailed assessment and recommendations so that it can meet our minimum ethical benchmark.

The Ethical Coffee Ratings Table can show you where Costa ranks against other coffee brands and help you to learn more about the criteria that needs to be met for a brand to be classed as ethical.

What does Costa score well for?

Costa scores well on our table for its Environmental Report. The Costa website has a page dedicated to sustainability and lists its score commitments such as packing and the climate. The Coca-Cola Company which is Costa’s parent shares its sustainability plan. Its recent report contains various targets for areas such as packaging, water and carbon emissions. Costa also receives a top score for Armaments and Nuclear Power due to its lack of negative records.

How does Costa score for Animal Welfare?

Costa receives a bottom score for Animal Welfare on the Ethical Coffee Ratings Table. Despite not testing on animals, The Coca-Cola Company has multiple criticisms against it for animal welfare. One example includes the brand having to pay $21 million to settle lawsuits for falsely advertising that its Fairlife ultra-filtered milk came from humanely treated cows.

An undercover investigation also discovered horrific animal abuse at a Coca-Cola Company affiliated Fair Oaks dairy farm in Indiana. The investigation found disturbing evidence of the poor treatment of dairy cows including calves being punched, force-fed and pushed.

Are Costa coffee beans Fairtrade?

Costa receives a bottom score from The Good Shopping Guide in our Fairtrade category as it does not have a Fairtrade certification from The Fairtrade Foundation. We hope that in the future Costa will improve upon this which would see its score rise on our table.

What can Costa do to improve its score? 

Costa’s score on the Ethical Coffee Ratings Table is the result of The Good Shopping Guide’s calculation of multiple ethical criteria. For Costa to reach our minimum ethical benchmark so that its position can rise on its table, it first must solve some issues. This includes its criticisms of poor Animal Welfare and lack of Fairtrade certification. In doing so, Costa could apply for Ethical Accreditation. Many consumers find it desirable for the brand they use to be ethical and sustainable, so we encourage Costa to aim to gain Ethical Accreditation so that it could become one of the top brands within the Ethical Coffee sector.

Does your coffee brand have certification, proving its dedication to ethics and sustainability? If not, why not complete our preliminary evaluation form to discover if your brand might be eligible for The Good Shopping Guide’s renowned Ethical Accreditation.

Ethical performance in category


GSG score


GSG category benchmark


Ethical Rating


  • Environmental Report


  • Genetic Modification


  • Organic


  • Nuclear Power



  • Animal Welfare



  • Armaments


  • Political Donations


  • Fairtrade



  • Ethical Accreditation


  • Public Record Criticisms


  • Public Record Criticisms+


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