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Ethical brand ratings and accreditation since 2001

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How ethical and sustainable is Vicks? 

Vicks is included in The Good Shopping Guide‘s Cold Remedies Ethical Ratings Table. Vicks 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 organisation. Vicks might increase consumer trust by applying for Ethical Accreditation, which would include a more complete examination and suggestions for ethical development.

What does Vicks do?

Vicks was introduced in 1898 and is an over-the-counter medication brand owned by The Procter & Gamble Company (P&G). Vicks sells a range of products including Vaporub, nasal sticks and sprays as well as baby-rub. Vicks Vaporub is a 4 in 1 cold symptom relief and has a specially formulated baby-rub for children 6 months and above.

For which criteria does Vicks perform poorly? 

Vicks received a low rating for Animal Welfare, Vegan products, Irresponsible Marketing and Political Donations. Vicks parent company states that it does use animal testing for its products when required by law and is also featured in the PETA list of companies that do test on animals.

Procter & Gamble is currently facing at least 17 federal lawsuits with claims that some of its antiperspirant sprays are contaminated with dangerous amounts of cancer-causing chemicals.

The brand also has a webpage on its Political involvement and has made many political contributions in recent years.

Past Criticisms of Vicks’ ethical record

Vicks faced criticism as its parent company recently received a low grade of D in As You Sow’s ‘Road to zero emissions’ report. As well as also being one of the worst offenders receiving a grade F from Rainforest Action Network’s report and scorecard ‘keeping forests standing’. This assessed a brand’s efforts to address its contribution to the destruction of forests.

In what areas does Vicks score well for its ethics?

Vicks receives a high score for its Environmental Report. The citizenship report released by Procter and Gamble meets our ethical criteria. In regards to Genetically modified products the brand states that it does not source wood pulp from genetically modified trees but does not comment on any other GMO usage.

Additionally, Vicks receives a top rating for Nuclear and Armaments, as P&G is not involved in either of these industries.

How can Vicks improve its ethical rating?

The Ethical rating of a brand is divided into three categories by The Good Shopping Guide: the Environment, People and Animals. Find out more about how we rate.

Did you know that your brand could benefit from Ethical Accreditation? Brands that receive our accreditation are able to proudly display our mark, showcasing to consumers that its products are ethical and sustainable.

The Good Shopping Guide’s Ratings Tables can show you which brands have achieved Ethical Accreditation. To find out more, please contact us or fill out a Free Initial Assessment form.

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


  • Irresponsible Marketing


  • Political Donations



  • Ethical Accreditation


  • Public Record Criticisms


  • Public Record Criticisms+


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