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Ethical brand ratings and accreditation since 2001

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How ethical and sustainable is Reese’s? 

Reese’s is a Hershey company brand that can be found in The Good Shopping Guide’s Ethical Chocolate Ratings Table. Reese’s does not currently meet the ethical benchmark that we have set for this industry, but we hope that it can make changes within its business to become more ethical in the future. A way for Reese’s to improve ethically and increase customer confidence would be to apply for Ethical Accreditation from The Good Shopping Guide. This would allow for a detailed assessment to be conducted and recommendations for ethical improvement provided.

Read more about why Ethical Chocolate is so important and see a comparison with other brands in our Ethical Chocolate Rating Table.

What does Reese’s do?

Reese’s was created by H. B. Reese in his basement in the 1920s. In 1928 the iconic Reese’s peanut butter cup was introduced and was the only product sold by the Reese’s company for a time when business was hard, as this product always remained popular! Reese’s chocolate was made with Hershey chocolate as H.B. Reese worked as an employee at Hershey. After he died in 1963, his son merged the Reese’s company with Hershey. As of 2019 the company was operated as a subdivision of the Hershey company. Reese’s sells a large range of peanut butter chocolate, cookies, cereals and spreads. This brand has now had success in over 60 countries around the world.

For which criteria does Reese’s perform poorly? 

Within Reese’s company, there is still room for the brand to improve. Reese’s was marked down in our research criteria for the use of Genetic Modification, Animal Welfare, Political Donations and Public Record Criticisms. Hershey released a GMO disclosure statement stating that it uses GMOs within its products. Whilst animal testing within the company was banned in 2019 when assessed by the Business Benchmark on farm animal welfare Hershey did not score well. The Benchmark report stated that animal welfare was ‘on the business agenda but limited evidence of implementation’. Hershey has also donated thousands towards political elections in the past few years.

Past Criticisms of Reese’s ethical record

Reese’s main issues in terms of public record criticisms come from its parent brand Hershey. Hershey received an F grade from the Plastic pollution scorecard regarding plastic packaging pollution, showing that Hershey has not made an effort to help tackle the plastic pollution crisis. Palm oil sources are a large issue within Hershey past as they were known to have sourced palm oil from at least 20 of the 25 unethically operated palm oil producers.

In what areas does Reese’s score well for its ethics?

Reese’s performs well for its Environmental Report due to Hershey’s sustainability targets and updates how progress is being made on these. Read more on this.

Hershey also has USDA organic chocolate in the US. Whilst Reese’s itself does not sell vegan chocolate, its parent brand does so this improves its score.

How can Reese’s improve its ethical rating?

To establish a brand’s Ethical Score, The Good Shopping Guide considers three major criteria: the Environment, People and Animals. Read more about How We Rate here.

For Reese’s to qualify for Ethical Accreditation the brand could look at producing Fairtrade chocolate to ensure that all farmers within the supply chain receive what they deserve. Hershey as a parent brand should also stop political donations so that they are not affiliated with political opinions or decisions, or have undue sway over legislation.

Why not explore Ethical Accreditation with The Good Shopping Guide if you work for or with a chocolate company that places ethics at its core? This certification of sustainability and ethics has benefited chocolate companies including Seed & Bean, Alter Eco, Wunder Workshop, and Raw Living. Get in touch with us to learn more, or complete our brief initial evaluation form.

Ethical performance in category


GSG score


GSG category benchmark


Ethical Rating


  • Environmental Report


  • Genetic Modification


  • Organic


  • Nuclear Power



  • Animal Welfare


  • Vegetarian/Vegan Verified



  • Armaments


  • Political Donations


  • Fairtrade



  • Ethical Accreditation


  • Public Record Criticisms


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