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Ethical brand ratings and accreditation since 2001

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Marks & Spencer

How ethical and sustainable is Marks & Spencers?

Marks & Spencers is included in The Good Shopping Guide’s Supermarket Ethical Ratings Table. The 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 and sustainable 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 supermarkets may be found in The Good Shopping Guide to Ethical Supermarkets. Then, in our Supermarkets Ethical Ratings Table compare it to other stores.

What do Marks & Spencers do?

Marks & Spencer began in 1884 when a partnership between Michael Marks and Tom Spencer. M&S is a British retailer that specialises in food, clothing and homeware. The brand is well known for its purely supermarket stores and ‘food halls’ within its larger stores. The brand is owned by Marks & Spencer Plc.

For which criteria does Marks & Spencers perform poorly? 

Marks & Spencers obtained a low score due to Animal Welfare concerns and many Human Rights issues. Regarding the handling of birds in the supply chains of supermarkets, Animal Aid said that M&S dodged their questions 11 times over the course of 18 months. Marks & Spencers was criticised after an Ethical Consumer investigation revealed that the brand was failing to protect its supply chain workers in regards to poor working conditions, excessive working hours and wages below the legal minimum, you can read more on this here.

Past Criticisms of Marks & Spencers’ ethical record

After releasing 30 million honey bees into the British countryside in an effort to “do good for the environment”, Marks & Spencers came under fire because environmentalists cautioned the company that this could harm the existing ecosystems.

Despite its pledges to phase this out, the brand acknowledged that it is impossible to guarantee that soy from deforested areas is not present in its supply chain.

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

Marks & Spencers 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. The brand also has a Non-GMO statement and produces organic products that are certified by EU as well as multiple Fairtrade products.

How can Marks & Spencers improve its Ethical Rating?

The Good Shopping Guide divides a brand’s Ethical Rating into three research categories: the Environment, People, and Animals.

For more specific advice on how to improve, Marks & Spencer may apply for Ethical Accreditation. By re-evaluating its treatment of both Animals and Humans throughout its supply chain, M&S would be able to raise its grade and satisfy our fundamental ethical requirements.

Why not check out The Good Shopping Guide’s Ethical Accreditation if you work for or with a Supermarket company that places ethics high on its priority list? Contact us to learn more about Ethical Accreditation, or complete our short form for an initial ethical 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


  • Code of Conduct


  • Political Donations


  • Human Rights


  • Fairtrade



  • Ethical Accreditation


  • Other Criticisms


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