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Ethical brand ratings and accreditation since 2001

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Is M.A.C an ethical brand?

The Good Shopping Guide gives Estée Lauder Companies Inc., which owns numerous subsidiary brands, including M.A.C, a poor ethical rating. Sadly, as evidenced by its subpar Good Shopping Guide ethical rating in our Ethical Makeup Ratings Table, this brand currently disregards our fundamental ethical principles. Several adjustments must be completed before M.A.C is eligible for our Ethical Accreditation.

Estée Lauder Companies and M.A.C’s involvement with GMOs and Animal Testing

The parent firm of M.A.C, Estée Lauder, is not certified as Cruelty-Free and has a lax Animal Welfare code. Regarding animal experiments, Estée Lauder made an unclear and seemingly contradictory comment.

Estée Lauder states,More than 30 years ago, The Estée Lauder Companies was one of the first cosmetics companies to eliminate animal testing as a method of determining cosmetic product safety. We don’t test our products on animals and we don’t ask others to test for us. We acknowledge our brands are sold in countries where animal testing on cosmetics or cosmetic ingredients is required by law.

Are M.A.C cosmetics vegan? 

 M.A.C. is not a vegan brand. In this research category, Estée Lauder, the company’s parent company, has a low Good Shopping Guide grade since it neither produces nor sells any vegan or vegetarian goods. M.A.C cosmetics contain ingredients including lanolin, a waxy substance produced by sheep. M.A.C products also contain carmine, made from crushed up beetles.

Estée Lauder, M.A.C and colourism

Well-known cosmetics companies including Estée Lauder, L’Oréal, Unilever, Johnson & Johnson, and Beiersdorf have come under fire for promoting skin-lightening cosmetics and skincare products; these tactics encourage colourism. Estée Lauder has reviewed its own whitening products in light of criticism during 2020

M.A.C and Human Rights abuses

According to an investigation by the Associated Press, Malaysian and Indonesian palm oil farms expose women to inhumane labour practices, such as physical and sexual assault and exposure to harmful chemicals. On one plantation, women who had sprayed dangerous pesticides for years without any protective gear complained of fevers, coughing, and nosebleeds. Girls as young as 16 reported being sexually assaulted by supervisors and other employees on another plantation. These women barely make $2 each day, therefore they cannot afford to go to the doctor. The plantations and fields where these crimes occurred have been linked to the production of palm oil for well-known cosmetics corporations like Avon, Colgate-Palmolive, Coty, Estée Lauder, Johnson & Johnson, Kylie Cosmetics, L’Oréal, Procter & Gamble, and Unilever.

Please be aware, that the article from The Associated Press contains some very upsetting details.

How can M.A.C improve its ethical rating?

The Good Shopping Guide assesses M.A.C’s score using 15 ethical criteria. Several ethical issues that M.A.C needs to address and clarify include its stance on genetically modified organisms (GMOs), animal welfare, and its parent company Estée Lauder’s involvement in the unethical manufacturing of palm oil.

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


  • Irresponsible Marketing


  • Political Donations



  • Ethical Accreditation


  • Public Record Criticisms


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