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Ethical brand ratings and accreditation since 2001

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How ethical and sustainable is Oatly? 

The Good Shopping Guide’s Vegan Milk Ethical Ratings Table includes Oatly, a plant-based milk brand. Oatly does not meet our ethical standards, but we hope that the business will make improvements in the future to become more ethical. Oatly might increase consumer confidence by applying for Ethical Accreditation, which would involve a complete review and recommendations for ethical development.

For more information about the importance of Organic milk visit The Good Shopping Guide to Ethical Vegan Milk. Here, you can also compare Oatly to other brands in our Ethical Vegan Milk Rating Table.
What does Oatly do?

Oatly was founded in 1994 by a pair of Swedish brothers. The brand worked with baristas (rather than supermarkets) to develop a presence within coffee shops. Oatly produces a range of
vegan milk-based products such as ice cream, yoghurt substitutes and custard but is most famously known for its plant-based milk. Oatly is owned by Oatly Group AB.

For which criteria does Oatly perform poorly? 

Oatly receives a low rating for organic products and public record criticisms. The brand does not produce Organic milk or other products. Oatly receives only a middle rating for Genetic Modification as the US version of the brand has a non-GMO statement, but this is not necessarily relevant to the products sold in the UK or EU markets.

To find out more about the methodology we use for our research, see our How We Rate page.

Past Criticisms of Oatly’s ethical record

Oatly received criticisms for selling a 7% stake of its business to The Blackstone Group, which is known for its significant role in the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest. The UK advertising group watchdog criticised Oatly after ruling that its green claims were misleading, and there have been other claims of greenwashing within the brand.

In what areas does Oatly score well for its ethics?

Oatly scores well for its Environmental Report, lack of Fossil Fuel investments and the brand has faced no Animal Welfare criticisms. Oatly has donated to Political Parties in the past but the amount donated was under our threshold, therefore it received a high rating. Oatly’s Sustainability Report included vague targets such as: reducing its carbon footprint and increasing renewable energy sourcing, and also provides evidence of progress.

How can Oatly improve its ethical rating?

The Good Shopping Guide calculates a brand’s Ethical Rating based on three categories: the Environment, People, and Animals. For more precise ideas on how to improve, Oatly should apply for Ethical Accreditation.

Oatly could improve its Ethical Rating by tackling the claims of the brand greenwashing, releasing a UK-based non-GMO report and also producing Organic milk products.

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

Ethical performance in category


GSG score


GSG category benchmark


Ethical Rating


  • Environmental Report


  • Genetic Modification


  • Organic


  • Nuclear Power


  • Fossil Fuels



  • Animal Welfare



  • Armaments


  • Political Donations



  • Ethical Accreditation


  • Public Record Criticisms


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