Skip to content

Ethical brand ratings and accreditation since 2001

Back to table

John Smith’s

How ethical and sustainable is John Smith’s? 

John Smith’s is included in The Good Shopping Guide’s Beer, Lager & Cider Ethical Ratings Table.

Even though John Smith’s has yet to exhibit moral behaviour that fulfils our standards, we think this brand will eventually act in a more ethically robust manner and implement better sustainability policies. John Smith’s may boost customer confidence by submitting an application for Ethical Accreditation, which includes a more thorough evaluation and suggestions for ethical development.

More information on the issues that may be found in The Good Shopping Guide to Ethical Lager, Cider and Beer brands.

Then, in our Beer, Lager and Cider Ethical Ratings Table, compare it to other brands.

What do John Smith’s do?

John Smith created his first beer in 1852 and now the brand produces three different Lagers: Original, Extra Smooth and Original Cask. Since Heineken purchased John Smiths Brewery in 2008 it has been a part of the Heineken group. You can read more about John Smith’s history here.

For which criteria does John Smith’s perform poorly? 

Organic, GM policy and Public Record Criticisms were the reasons why John Smith’s brand received a low score. The brewery company does not offer any organic or vegan beer options.

John Smith’s website does not have a non-GMO statement either.

Past Criticisms of John Smith’s ethical record

Heineken, John Smith’s parent business, is the source of John Smith’s ethical criticisms. Heineken received a low score on the corporate transparency index which judges a company’s supply chain. You can read more on this here.

In what areas does John Smith’s score well for its ethics?

For its environmental report, nuclear power, animal welfare, political donations and armaments, John Smith's received great marks. Because Heineken has a sustainability strategy in place with specific long-term environmental goals, the beer brand receives a top ranking.

How can John Smith’s improve its Ethical Rating?

John Smith’s could apply for Ethical Accreditation for more detailed suggestions on how to improve.

With the introduction of a line of organic or vegan beer, John Smith might raise its ranking and adhere to our ethical standards. The business should consider ways to improve Heinekens’
public image and release a genetic modification policy.

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 and research brands for their sustainability.

Why not check out The Good Shopping Guide’s Ethical Accreditation if you work for or with a beer, lager or cider brand that places ethics high on its priority list?

Get in touch to learn more, or complete our short form for an initial ethical and sustainability evaluation.

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


  • Political Donations



  • Ethical Accreditation


  • Public Record Criticisms


  • Public Record Criticisms+


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