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Ethical brand ratings and accreditation since 2001

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Is Giffgaff ethical and sustainable?

Giffgaff is a low-ranking brand in The Good Shopping Guide’s Ethical Ratings & Comparison Tables.

Giffgaff is a mobile phone network owned by Liberty Global Plc / Telefonica S.A.  and receives a passable Good Shopping Guide score in our Ethical Mobile Phones Networks Ratings Table. Although Giffgaff has not yet met our Ethical Benchmark, we hope to see the brand make progress in the future.

In which areas does Giffgaff perform well? 

Giffgaff’s sister brand, Virgin Media O2, regularly releases an adequate Environmental Report. The Virgin Media Sustainability Report states the company’s target of reducing CO2 emissions by 25% by 2025. The parent company of Giffgaff, Telefonica, published a section titled ‘Building a Greener Future’ in its Integrated Annual Report with a number of goals. For instance, Telefonica wants to use only renewable energy by 2030 and to be Net Zero by 2025. In this report, Telefonica also shows some advancements toward prior goals.

Furthermore, neither Telefonica nor Liberty are involved in the nuclear sector.

In which areas does Giffgaff perform poorly? 

Despite Giffgaff’s progress, there is still room for improvement. The brand was marked down under our criteria for Animal Welfare, Human Rights, Armaments and Political Donations.

PETA has criticised Giffgaff’s parent company, Telefonica, for broadcasting Spanish bullfighting on its channels. (A word of warning- this link contains a video which may be upsetting.) Bullfighting is regarded by PETA and many other animal rights campaigners as a cruel and inhumane sport.

Horrifyingly, it was discovered that Telefónica Brasil and three businesses in its supply chain had used slave labour to build a cell phone tower. Eleven labourers from Maranhao, one of Brazil’s poorest regions, were hired and made to work long hours for a month without breaks, bathrooms, or places to sleep, all while being paid nothing. A fine of 200,000 Brazilian Real (about £37.5k) was imposed on the company and its subcontractors.

Telefonica also supplies military technology and intelligence services, whilst Giffgaff’s other parent company, Liberty Global, has financially contributed to US parties/candidates.

How can Giffgaff brand improve its Ethical Rating?

The Good Shopping Guide score results from multiple ethical criteria in relation to Giffgaff. To reach our minimum Ethical Benchmark and qualify for Ethical Accreditation, Giffgaff and its parent companies have some issues to resolve. This includes being more rigorous in the ethics of its supply chains, its commitment to human rights and welfare, and its involvement in politics and the military.

If your mobile phone network 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


  • Fossil Fuels



  • Animal Welfare



  • Armaments


  • Political Donations


  • Human Rights



  • Ethical Accreditation


  • Other Criticisms


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