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Supermarkets: How Sustainable is your Shopping?

by | May 24, 2021 | Ethical Shopping Blog

We have recently published our latest updates to the Supermarkets Ethical Rating Table. Supermarkets play an inevitable role in most people’s daily lives, with IGD reporting that 43p of every £1 of household expenditure is being spent in Supermarkets in 2021. Our research team have assessed companies based on their ethical supply chain practices and responsible sourcing of products. We also examine a company’s overall performance in regards to the Environment, Animals and People, as well as any criticisms in the public domain. Additionally, our research also includes whether Supermarkets offer organic, GM-free, and vegetarian/vegan own-brand products.

Our latest findings reveal that only 3 pass the benchmark to enter the green top section of our Ethical Rating Table. However, even the top-rated Supermarkets have received criticism for either Human Rights or Animal Welfare. Our research has found that there are many issues within the supply chains of these companies, for instance, supply chain workers receiving less than a living wage, working in dangerous or unsanitary conditions, and working long hours. These supply chain workers are often based in countries where workers have far fewer rights as an employee than in the UK and are often subject to this unethical treatment as a result. In regards to Animal Welfare, several companies have received criticisms from activist groups for their involvement in factory farming within their supply chains, including several reports detailing the inhumane treatment of livestock.

In regards to the Environment, Supermarkets generally have performed more favourably. This includes the majority receiving top ratings for environmental reports, having no nuclear involvement and organic/GM-free options available. Furthermore, many Supermarkets have extended their environmental targets to include reducing food waste, plastic packaging and carbon emissions.

Overall, whilst Supermarkets have recently had an impressive focus on environmental matters, there is always progress to be made, particularly regarding Animal and People related criteria. The Good Shopping Guide is always pleased to see companies making significant advancements to become more ethical and sustainable and look forward to seeing other companies in the Supermarket sector make similar commitments to ethical progress in the future.

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