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Marks & Spencer

How ethical and sustainable is Marks & Spencers’ furniture? 

Marks & Spencers is included in The Good Shopping Guide’s Furniture Ethical Ratings Table. The furniture brand has yet to meet our ethical standards, but we hope that in the future, the brand will make the necessary changes to function as a more ethical organisation. Marks & Spencers might increase consumer trust by applying for Ethical Accreditation, which would include a more complete examination and suggestions for ethical development.

More information on the best sustainable furniture may be found in The Good Shopping Guide to Ethical Furniture. Then, in our Furniture Ethical Ratings Table compare it to other suppliers.

The history of Marks & Spencers

Marks & Spencer began in 1884 when a partnership between Michael Marks and Tom Spencer. Sometimes stylised M&S, this brand is a British retailer that specialises in food, clothing and homeware. Marks & Spencer has a large range of Furniture made in the UK. This ranges from sofas to dining tables. The brand is owned by Marks & Spencer Plc.

For which criteria does Marks & Spencers perform poorly? 

Marks & Spencers received a low rating for its Animal Welfare concerns as well as multiple Human Rights Issues. Animal Aid accused M&S of dodging their questions 11 times in 18 months in regards to the treatment of birds within the supermarkets’ supply chain. M&S source products from the supplier Cobrey Farms, which has been found to be guilty of underfunding labour rights enforcement, putting thousands of migrant workers at risk. More can be found on this story here.

Past Criticisms of Marks & Spencers’ ethical record

Marks & Spencers faced criticism after an attempt to ‘do good for the environment’ by releasing 30 million honey bees into the British countryside backfired as conservationists warned the brand that this could damage the current ecosystems in place. This could be seen as an instance of greenwashing, where a commitment is made to the Environment, without the necessary thought or consideration for the true sustainability of the business practice.

The brand also admitted that they cannot guarantee that soya from deforested areas is not in its supply chain despite its commitments to phase this out.

In what areas does Marks & Spencers score well for its ethics?

Marks & Spencers Furniture receives a high score for its Environmental Report as the brand details targets on becoming Net Zero, using recycled packaging and also providing evidence of its progress. M&S has a page on wood sourcing stating that in 2019 85% of wood based materials used were FSC-Certified, recycled or from assessed sources, the brand was also awarded 3 trees.

How can Marks & Spencers improve its Ethical Rating?

The Ethical Rating of a brand is amalgamated from three categories by The Good Shopping Guide: the Environment, People and Animals.

Marks & Spencer might apply for Ethical Accreditation for more detailed guidance on how to improve. M&S would be able to improve its rating and fulfil our fundamental ethical requirements by reassessing its treatment of both Animals and Humans within its supply chain.

Why not find out more about The Good Shopping Guide‘s Ethical Accreditation if you work for or with a Furniture company that is looking for a sustainability certification to verify its ESG, CSR and sustainability policies?

Contact us to learn more about Ethical Accreditation, or complete our short form for an initial sustainability assessment.

Ethical performance in category


GSG score


GSG category benchmark


Ethical Rating


  • Environmental Report


  • Nuclear Power


  • Timber Sourcing Policy


  • Fossil Fuels



  • Animal Welfare



  • Armaments


  • Political Donations


  • Human Rights


  • Human Rights+



  • Ethical Accreditation


  • Other Criticisms


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