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Ethical brand ratings and accreditation since 2001

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How ethical and sustainable is Nescafé?

Nescafé is a brand of coffee owned by Nestlé. The brand scored very poorly in The Good Shopping Guide’s Ethical Coffee Ratings Table. Despite ranking below our standard to be recognised as an ethical brand, there is still hope that this brand will make the necessary changes and reach the ethical benchmark in the future.

If Nescafé proposed they should be awarded Ethical Accreditation, we would have increasingly more confidence in the brands wish to improve. By doing this Nescafé would be allowing The Good Shopping Guide to make further, more detailed assessments and recommendations to improve the ethical standpoint of the company.

For more information regarding the ethical issues of this company please visit visit the Ethical Coffee report by The Good Shopping Guide and see how additional brands score in our Ethical Coffee Ratings Table.

What is Nescafé and what does it do?

The story begins in 1929, when Nestlé Chairman of the Board of Directors Louis Dapples received a special request from Brazil. To combat the country’s massive coffee surplus, it was proposed that Nestlé develop a coffee product that was quick to make while also reducing the amount of unnecessary waste from coffee bean harvests. The initial concept was to create a cube-shaped coffee tablet that only required hot water to brew for an instant brew. However, after intense studies, the preliminary tablet form proved to be unviable due to the inability to retain the iconic flavour. After ruling out this possibility, chemist Max Morgenthaler returned to the path of discovery. After 7 years of careful development, this soluble coffee was launched in Switzerland under the Nescafé name. The new product was a hit from the get-go, with the yearly reserves selling out in a mere 2 months. By 1940, Nescafé was sold in more than 30 countries, spanning across all continents.

Where does Nescafé score well as a brand ethically?

The brand received a top rating in assessment areas such as Organic Products, Environmental Reports, not supporting or profiting from Nuclear power or Armaments.

How can Nescafé improve its ethical rating?

The Good Shopping Guide used a plethora of criteria to determine if a brand is considered ethical and suitable for Ethical Accreditation. Nescafé’s scores in each of its assessed areas is calculated based on these criteria. In order to meet the requirements for Ethical Accreditation, Nescafé has many issues to solve including its bottom rating for our Fairtrade criteria. Nescafé has no Fairtrade products, bottom rating for Animal Welfare and bottom rating for Genetic Modification. Nestlé has been strongly criticised for carrying out animal experiments, both directly and indirectly, to test its animal food products. L’Oreal (in which Nestlé is a major shareholder) is also accused of testing its cosmetic products on animals. The company is listed on PETA’s list of ‘Companies that Do Test on Animals’. (See more information about L’Oreal and its poor ethical performance on our Ethical Make Up Ratings Table.

Does your coffee brand have a certification proving its attention to ethics and sustainability? If not, please complete our initial evaluation form to find out if your brand is eligible for The Good Shopping Guide’s coveted Ethical Accreditation.

Ethical performance in category


GSG score


GSG category benchmark


Ethical Rating


  • Environmental Report


  • Genetic Modification


  • Organic


  • Nuclear Power



  • Animal Welfare



  • Armaments


  • Political Donations


  • Fairtrade



  • Ethical Accreditation


  • Public Record Criticisms


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