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Ethical brand ratings and accreditation since 2001

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How ethical and sustainable is Sainsbury’s? 

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

More information on the best sustainable supermarkets may be found in The Good Shopping Guide to Ethical Supermarkets.  Then, in our Supermarket Ethical Ratings Table compare it to other retailers.

What does Sainsbury’s do?

Sainsbury’s opened its first store in 1869 and works to provide delicious, great quality food at competitive prices. The brand is the owner of the Sainsbury’s Group, including other brands such as Habitat, Tu and Argos. The brand has over 600 supermarkets and provides a large range of food and grocery products for its customers.

For which criteria does Sainsbury’s perform poorly? 

Sainsbury’s received a low rating for Animal Welfare and Human Rights. Sainsbury’s abusive treatment of hens has been accused of is the cause of the low Animal Welfare score.

Sainsbury’s has come under fire for a number of things, including an Observer investigation that showed the company’s hiring agency is withholding salaries. The brand receives a middle rating for Genetic Modification as there is no statement about this or criticisms.

Past Criticisms of Sainsbury’s ethical record

Greenpeace criticised Sainsbury’s for failing to reduce the amount of plastic waste it produces. The least amount of progress has been achieved by Sainsbury’s among the top 10 UK supermarkets.

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

Sainsbury’s receives a high score for its range of Fairtrade products and Vegetarian Society produce. Sainsbury’s scores well for its Environmental Report as it has several targets on becoming Net Zero, food waste, Plastic Packaging and evidence of progress towards all of these targets. Sainsbury’s also sells products that are certified by The Soil Association.

How can Sainsbury’s improve its Ethical Rating?

Sainsbury’s may improve its Ethical Rating and fulfil our fundamental ethical requirements by assessing the treatment of its workers and improving on this as well as releasing a Genetic Modification policy.

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

Sainsbury’s might apply for Ethical Accreditation for more detailed guidance on how to improve. Why not check out The Good Shopping Guide’s Ethical Accreditation if you work for or with a Supermarket that places sustainability and ethics high on its priority list? Contact us to learn more about Ethical Accreditation, or complete our short form for an initial sustainability 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