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Ethical brand ratings and accreditation since 2001

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Is Zara ethical and sustainable? 

Zara is a low-ranking brand in The Good Shopping Guide’s ethical ratings for Fashion brands.

Zara is a fast fashion brand owned by Industria de Diseño Textil, S.A (Inditex Group). Inditex is one of the biggest fast fashion group in the world. Zara receives a poor Good Shopping Guide score in our Ethical Fashion Retailers Ratings Table. Although Zara has not yet met our Ethical Benchmark, we hope to see the brand make progress in the future.

In what areas does Zara perform well? 

Inditex receives high marks for its comprehensive and in-depth Environmental Report. Plans for reducing water consumption, an energy plan, a biodiversity strategy, and targets for 100% renewable electricity by 2022, 100% “more sustainable” cotton (Organic certified, Better Cotton, and/or recycled cotton) by 2023, and Net Zero by 2040 are all part of Inditex’s environmental strategies. With such thorough sustainability reporting, customers and activist organisations can hold Inditex accountable for its environmental impact and behaviour.

The extensive reporting of Inditex extends to its participation in the Ethical Trading Initiative and its Code of Conduct. Customers may follow businesses’ pledges to workers’ rights, forced labour, and child labour in their supply chains since Inditex discloses its Modern Slavery policy on its website.

In what areas does Zara perform poorly? 

Despite Zara’s progress, there is still room for improvement. The brand was marked down under our Human Rights and People criteria.

According to “Made in Poverty – The True Cost of Fashion,” a 2019 report by Oxfam. Of the Bangladeshi garment workers questioned for this research, 100% did not earn a living wage, 90% could not afford to feed themselves and their families until their next payday, and 70% could not afford to pay for medical care when they became ill or were hurt. 70% of the women surveyed in Vietnam stated their income did not meet their basic needs, and 99% of workers did not receive a livable wage. According to Oxfam Australia’s Company Tracker for companies that pay (or are attempting to pay!) workers a living wage, Inditex subsidiaries (including Zara) received the lowest rating.

The Clean Clothes Campaign’s Tailored Wages report also looks at comments from 32 well-known clothing firms evaluating their progress in implementing a livable wage for those who create their apparel. Since Inditex failed to produce any evidence that any of the employees who made its clothing were paid a living wage anywhere in the world, the audit gave Inditex the lowest possible rating. This is startling and shamefully inadequate.

How can Zara brand improve its Ethical Rating?

The Good Shopping Guide score for Zara is determined by a number of standards. Sadly, Zara is a fast fashion company that emphasises speedy turnaround (sometimes as little as 15 days from design to distribution). When workers must quickly make large quantities of clothing, it is challenging for brands to pay staff appropriately. But it is essential that they do. Zara and its parent company, Inditex, must address a number of concerns, including its treatment of employees and compliance with human rights, in order to meet our minimum ethical threshold and become eligible for Ethical Accreditation.

If your fashion 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


  • Organic


  • Nuclear Power


  • Better Cotton Initiative


  • Fossil Fuels



  • Animal Welfare



  • Armaments


  • Code of Conduct


  • Political Donations


  • Ethical Trading Schemes


  • Human Rights


  • Human Rights+



  • Ethical Accreditation


  • Other Criticisms


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