How do you choose which brands and companies to include in your Ethical Ratings tables?
We include new brands every time we update our Ethical Ratings tables, so our research is constantly developing to give you ethical information on as many brands as possible. However, in certain sectors, there are simply too many brands to include, so in these cases, we generally include a mixture of popular well-known brands, as well as some smaller ethical brands that we believe deserve representation (and of course, our Ethical Accreditation members are always included).
How do I suggest a brand for inclusion in your Ethical Ratings tables?
We always encourage our readers to suggest brands they’d like to see included in our Ethical Ratings tables. If you would like to find out the ethics of a particular brand, you can send us a message on our Get in Touch page with your request. Our research team always tries to listen to consumer requests and will often include popular brand recommendations within the next sector update.
What is the GSG Ethical Score? (and how does it work)?
The GSG Ethical Score is the final score (out of 100) that we attribute to companies and brands to determine their overall ethics. This score is calculated after accumulating the results a company or brand receives across several ethical criteria, which can range from 8 to 12 different assessment categories, depending on the sector. This includes different criteria across our three main subheadings: Environment, Animals, and People. You can see which criteria are included in a brand’s GSG Ethical Score by clicking on the ‘Learn More’ button under every brand on our Ethical Ratings tables.
This is how we determine which are the most ethical and sustainable companies and brands.
What is the Ethical Benchmark and how does a brand reach it in your Ethical Ratings Tables?
The Ethical Benchmark is our GSG Ethical Score that a brand or company needs to achieve to be deemed ethical within our research. On the Ratings Tables, these are in circles at the top of the table.
Due to the different ethical issues that occur in various industries, the Ethical Benchmark differs depending on the sector. Whether a company meets our Ethical Benchmark or not is reflected on our Ethical Ratings tables by either showing a company in green (ethical, meets the benchmark) or red (unethical, does not meet the benchmark).
To meet the Ethical Benchmark, a company must receive a GSG Ethical Score which is the same as or higher than the Ethical Benchmark within a sector. A company and brand can meet the benchmark by receiving as many top ratings as possible in our different ethical criteria. This not only includes receiving points for positive policies and practices but also by having a clean record for unethical activities. By freely publishing our Ethical Ratings, we encourage companies and brands to constantly improve their business practices with the aim of meeting our Ethical Benchmark and becoming more ethical businesses.
How often do you update your ethical brand research?
Each of our Ethical Ratings tables, which includes over 65 different product sectors, is updated at least once a year to ensure they are keeping up with the latest ethical information on brands and companies.
Sectors that contain Ethical Accreditation members are updated more regularly to ensure the companies, brands, and products we endorse are routinely assessed and held to the highest standards. This means that sectors with a high volume of Ethical Accreditation members, such as our Cat & Dog Food and Skincare Ratings Tables, are updated multiple times a year.
Where can I compare the ethics of different companies and brands?
Yes! We now include a feature on our Ethical Ratings tables which allows you to compare the ethics of up to 3 brands, so you can see which brand fits best with your values. When looking at one of our Ethical Ratings tables, simply click the ‘Compare Brands’ toggle on the brands of your choice.
What does it mean when I see the Good Shopping Guide Ethical mark on your Ethical Ratings tables?
Our Good Shopping Guide Ethical mark is awarded to our Ethical Accreditation members for their positive practices towards the Environment, Animals, and People. When you see The Good Shopping Guide’s Ethical mark next to a brand or company, this means that they are endorsed by The Good Shopping Guide and have been independently assessed to the highest ethical standards.
Why don’t you charge a fee to access your Ethical Ratings?
Our mission at The Good Shopping Guide is to raise consumer awareness about the world’s most ethical and unethical companies and brands, encouraging them to support businesses deserving of praise and avoid those that are not up to scratch. We, therefore, publish all the research on our Ethical Ratings tables free of charge, so that the information needed to become a more ethical consumer is readily available to the public.
How do I inform you about a company’s ethical or unethical practices?
We always welcome consumer feedback on the ethical status of companies and brands.
If you would like to share your knowledge on a brand or company, you can send us a message via our Get in Touch page. You also have the option to send this information in anonymously if necessary!
Do you still publish The Good Shopping Guide as a book?
The final edition of The Good Shopping Guide was published in 2012. With more and more people using the internet to find out important information, we felt that our readers would benefit more from accessing our research online. Hence, The Good Shopping Guide website was born, allowing people instant access to our Ethical Ratings from anywhere in the world. Although The Good Shopping Guide books are an important part of our heritage, we are pleased that we are now able to offer our Ethical Ratings tables to a much wider audience, free of charge!
How makes a company sustainable or ethical?
Being an ethical business is about respecting the Environment, Animals, and People in equal measure. This not only involves adopting ethical policies and practices but also avoiding involvement in unethical activities. For instance, an ethical business may be involved in positive activities such as carbon offsetting, conservation work, and social justice projects.
In contrast, an unethical business may be involved in animal testing, deforestation, and human rights abuses. Our research at The Good Shopping Guide shows you all this information and more. Just look at our Ethical Ratings tables or check a business’s GSG Ethical Score.
What does Corporate Social Responsibility mean? Is it the same as an ethical business?
Corporate Social Responsibility (often referred to as CSR) refers to the integration of environmental and social considerations into a company’s business practices. Essentially, CSR helps companies consider their wider impact on the planet and society and allows them to be held accountable by stakeholders, the public, and other businesses. Although adopting CSR into a business encourages companies to operate in a more ethical manner, we prefer to discuss ‘business ethics’ and ‘ethical businesses’ instead. Not only is business ethics a lot easier for people to understand, but it also places a greater focus on how a business treats its employees, supply chains, and the wider world.
What is The Good Shopping Guide?
The Good Shopping Guide has been the leading authority on ethical shopping for over 20 years. We research the ethical records of hundreds of consumer brands and report our findings in our powerful Ethical Ratings tables where you can compare the ethical ratings of companies and brands.
Initially published as a reference book, our ratings now available online free-of-charge for the world to see.
The Good Shopping Guide is regularly featured by third party media including the BBC, Sky News and a range of newspapers.
How do I get my brand listed on The Good Shopping Guide’s Ethical Ratings tables?
By applying for Ethical Accreditation, your brand (or your company or product), will undergo an ethical screening by our research team, which will enable us to include the findings – and your resulting GSG Ethical Score – on our Ethical Ratings table. Click here to find out how to apply for Ethical Accreditation.
How does my brand apply for Ethical Accreditation from The Good Shopping Guide?
You can apply for Ethical Accreditation from The Good Shopping Guide through an online form – or simply download a PDF application, to fill in and send back to us – the application forms can be found here.
Once I have applied, how long does it take to attain Ethical Accreditation?
The application process takes 6-8 weeks and involves our research teams analysing each applicant’s company, brand or product’s record on up to 15 specific criteria under the 3 general headings of Environment, Animals and People. The research is repeated every 12 months to ensure that our accreditation awards and the GSG Ethical Score remain up to date.
Where can my brand display The Good Shopping Guide's Ethical mark?
We encourage our accredited brands to display our Good Shopping Guide Ethical Mark widely, as it is an important and essential asset in helping your brand communicate its ethical and sustainable credentials to consumers and business partners.
The Good Shopping Guide Ethical mark can be used on all packaging and communications, including websites, emails, letterhead, company reports, advertising, press releases, marketing materials, store fronts, packaging etc
How is The Good Shopping Guide Ethical Accreditation different from other certifications?
Ethical Accreditation from The Good Shopping Guide is unique in that it considers not only the positive ethical practices and commitments that companies and brands are making, but crucially it includes a critical analysis of any unethical practices that a company may have been involved in. We believe our rigorous research approach cuts through greenwash which is increasingly prevalent in today’s market with consumer demand for ethical and sustainable products and services at an all-time high. Therefore The Good Shopping Guide delivers Fact, not Fiction.
The results of our ethical screening of brands are published in our Ethical Ratings tables, with a GSG Ethical Score, so that consumers can easily compare ethical ratings of brands and make their choice accordingly.
The Good Shopping Guide Ethical Mark is bold and unambiguous; anyone seeing it on your brand will know they are buying from an ethical company!
Can start-ups apply for Ethical Accreditation from The Good Shopping Guide?
Absolutely! We welcome applications from any ethical businesses, old or new!
What types of businesses are eligible for Ethical Accreditation?
All ethical brands, products and services will be considered for Ethical Accreditation. If you are unsure whether your business is eligible you can fill in a free, no-obligation, Initial Assessment Form which will enable us to understand more about your business and its eligibility for Ethical Accreditation. Alternatively, you can give us a call on 0333 011 3351 or send a message through the Get in Touch page.
Why does my brand score poorly in your Ethical Ratings tables?
The GSG Ethical Score is the final score out of 100 that we attribute to determine if a business is a truly ethical and sustainable company.
This score is calculated after accumulating the results a company or brand receives across several ethical criteria, which can range from 8 to 12 different assessment categories, depending on the sector.
This includes different criteria across our three main subheadings: Environment, Animals, and People. You can see which criteria are included for your brand’s GSG Ethical Score by clicking on the ‘Learn More’ button under your brand on our Ethical Ratings tables – here you will see where your brand does not receive a top rating. To find out more about why a brand receives a middle or bottom rating under specific criteria, read our How We Rate section.
How can my brand improve its GSG Ethical Score in your Ethical Ratings tables?
You can find a breakdown of your brand’s ratings under the ‘Learn More’ button on our Ethical Ratings tables.
Once you have identified the areas where you do not receive a top rating, you can start working on improving within those areas. For example, if your brand only receives a middle rating under Environmental Report, your Environmental/CSR/Sustainability/Impact Report needs improvement. (You can improve this, for example, by including concrete and measurable environmental targets. See How We Rate for further details).
Ethical criticisms found about a company will negatively affect your GSG Ethical Score, so to receive a top rating under various criteria – like Public Record Criticisms – your company must not be involved in any unethical business practices over the last 5 years.
We want to encourage all businesses to become more ethical and sustainable through their commitments and practices and in doing so, they will rise up our Ethical Ratings Tables.
What criteria must my brand meet for Ethical Accreditation?
Your brand needs to reach the Ethical Benchmark within your own product sector in order to be eligible for Ethical Accreditation. The Ethical Benchmark is typically the top third of a given product sector.
Due to the different ethical issues present in various industries, the Ethical Benchmark differs by sector. A company and brand can meet the benchmark by receiving as many top ratings as possible across our different ethical criteria.
This not only includes receiving points for positive policies and practices but also for having a clean record on a vast array of unethical activities.
If you are unsure whether your brand is eligible you can fill in a free, no-obligation, Initial Assessment Form which will enable us to understand more about your business and its eligibility for Ethical Accreditation.
Alternatively, you can give us a call on 0333 011 3351 or send a message through the Get in Touch page.
Can I publish the Ethical Ratings table where my brand appears?
Yes, we encourage the publication of our Ethical Ratings tables so that consumers and businesses can compare the ethical ratings of brands and support those with the highest GSG Ethical Score.
Please give us a call on 0333 011 3320 or Get in Touch if you wish to publish one of our Ethical Ratings tables.
Who is behind The Good Shopping Guide?
The Good Shopping Guide was launched as an annually updated book back in 2001 by The Ethical Company Organisation, whose mission was to bring ethical shopping to the mainstream. You can read more about Our Story here.