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Ethical brand ratings and accreditation since 2001

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How ethical is Samsung?

Samsung, a mobile phone brand (owned by the parent company of the same name, Samsung) is given a low Ethical Rating by The Good Shopping Guide. Unfortunately, this brand receives a low Good Shopping Guide Ethical Score in our Ethical Mobile Phones Ratings Table and has therefore not yet met our minimum Ethical Benchmark.

In which areas does Samsung perform poorly? 

There have been numerous Human Rights infringement criticisms launched against Samsung over the years. For these, Samsung receives a low score.

Samsung and the Samsung Heavy Industries crane crash

One example of poor treatment of workers is a crane crash that occurred at a Samsung Heavy Industries shipyard in Geoje, South Korea. Whilst constructing an oil platform 6 workers died and another 25 were injured. Only a few of the victims and families of the workers who died have received compensation, according to South Korean civil society organisations. Additionally, they claim that a substantial portion of the workers who experienced physical and emotional effects as a result of the incident was not counted in the official numbers. Although more than 300 personnel were present at the scene of the accident and experienced intense trauma, the majority have not yet received support or appropriate therapy.

Samsung and Human Rights abuses in China

This lawsuit brought against Samsung by Sherpa and ActionAid France – Peuples Solidaires highlights more abuses of human rights. The information was obtained for this action by China Labor Watch infiltrating Samsung plants and documenting what they observed. These reports from the NGO showed that Samsung manufacturers in China and South Korea had indeed violated human rights.

These studies condemn the mistreatment of minors under the age of sixteen, lengthy work weeks, a lack of safety equipment that puts employees at risk, as well as accommodations and working conditions that are incompatible with human dignity. Additionally, the use of benzene and methanol in the factories may have exposed a number of workers to irreversible illnesses.

Subsidiaries of Samsung are also involved in the Nuclear industry. Nuclear power plant engineering and construction are the responsibilities of Samsung C&T (Construction & Trading) Corporation.

In which areas does Samsung perform well?

As a member of the EICC, the brand has adopted the EICC Code of Conduct as its Suppliers’ Code of Conduct and makes its code available to the public. Making a Code of Conduct public is one of our criteria, as this helps consumers hold companies to account for their actions within their supply chains.

When it comes to our Environmental criteria, Samsung has been awarded several certifications and eco-labels, including EPEAT (a registry of businesses whose products have been manufactured with a certain degree of environmental consciousness), Energy Star, UL ECOLABEL and an EU ECOLABEL.

How can the Samsung brand improve its Ethical Rating? 

The Good Shopping Guide’s score results from 15 ethical criteria in relation to Samsung. To reach our Ethical Benchmark and qualify for our Ethical Accreditation, Samsung has several issues to deal with, including its Human Rights violations and involvement in the Nuclear industry.

If your mobile phone brand values ethics and sustainability, why not check out The Good Shopping Guide‘s Ethical Accreditation? Increase customer and investor confidence and stand out from the greenwash.


Ethical performance in category


GSG score


GSG category benchmark


Ethical Rating


  • Environmental Report


  • Nuclear Power


  • Eco Labels


  • Fossil Fuels



  • Animal Welfare



  • Armaments


  • Code of Conduct


  • Political Donations


  • Human Rights


  • Conflict Minerals



  • Ethical Accreditation


  • Other Criticisms


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