The World's most Unethical Corporations (According to Ethical Consumer)

4개월 전


I recently took out a subscription to the Ethical Consumer Magazine – it was only £30 for a year, which seemed like a bargain for six publications a year and access to all its back content. I also get access to the ethical ratings of over 1000 companies, which is the main thing I signed up for.

Ethical consumer researches and analyses the ethical behaviour of companies across five categories:

  1. Animals (animal testing, factory farming, animal rights and cruelty)
  2. Environment (reporting, climate change, pollution and toxics, habitats and resources, palm oil)
  3. People (human and worker rights, supply chain, irresponsible marketing, arms and military supply)
  4. Politics (anti-social finance, boycott calls, controversial tech, political activity)
  5. Company ethos and sustainability – fair trade, organic, energy efficient, vegan/ vegetarian products)

On the basis of its research, Ethical Consumer then scores each company out of 14.
The scoring is mainly negative: a company starts with 14 and gets marks taken away depending on how it performs in the first four categories above, but a company can score one positive mark if it has a whole company sustainability or fair trade policy (category five above) which applies across the whole company.

It follows that the highest ranking companies score 15, and the lowest 0, although 0 is rare!

The worst performing companies in 2019 according to Ethical consumer

I compiled this list by trawling through an A-Z list of all companies on the database and selected any company with a score of 2.5 or lower. What’s interesting is that the resulting list doesn’t simply include all the usual suspects: it includes many of them, but some are missing, and there’s a few companies I’ve never heard of in the mix too!

Because there are (surprisingly?) so few companies, I’ve kept the A-Z intact rather than rearrange them in order of poor ethics.

If yer ethically minded, these are the real rot, the ones you want to avoid dealing with, unless it's to disrupt and critique...

  • Aberdeen Asset Management 2
  • 0
  • Barclays 2.5
  • Archer Daniel Midland company 2.5
  • Booker Group 2.5
  • Camelot Group 2.5
  • Chanel Group 2.5
  • Coca Cola 1
  • FMR LLC 0
  • Guess Inc 2.5
  • HSBC Holdings 2
  • Mcdonalds 1.5
  • Munich RE 2.5
  • Mondolez Int 2
  • Nestle 0.5
  • Ocado Group 2
  • Ontario teachers pension plan 2.5
  • Old mutual 2.5
  • Pepsico Inc 2.5
  • Pukka herbs 2
  • Starbucks 2
  • Standard Life 2

Notable omissions

Most surprising is that none of the big oil companies feature in this dross-list - Shell scored 3 (just avoiding the cut, but BP scored 4.5. Also, the only big tech company in here is Amazon, the tax avoider etc.

P.S. In case you think you can dodge the unethical choco bullet by cracking open a Mars Bar rather than a Yorkie, Mars Inc just avoided my cut, scoring 3.

Next steps...

Researching corporate ethics was one of the things I promised myself I'd do in semi-retirement, so this is just the first steps. I had intended to plough into the validity of EC's indicators of ethicality, but I've kind of run out of time, so more of that next time!

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This is a subject I am interested in. Back in the early days of Steemit I wrote this article about unethical food companies you might find interesting.


Wow - 3 yrs ago! Must have been one of the first things written on steem!

I recognise all six. Partly thanks to a great doc called Food Inc.

I was surprised Monsanto wasn't on this list TBH - I might have to go double check.

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I will look out for your next article, but I am intrigued how scores are calculated when a category is not applicable to a company and how the bias is adjusted.
No mention of Monsanto here?


I wasn't looking out for Monstanto TBH, you do have a point, and I guess that's a limitation of their method - the more diverse a company the more likely they are to tick negative boxes. It might just be that the oil companies escape the bottom because they don't have to test petrol on animals for example.

I was gonna think all of that through, but maybe save that for next time... it's a massive issue, and i don't know much about the inner workings of their scoring mechanism TBH yet.

It's a start though.


Lol sorry for jumping the gun! It's a pretty reputable publication so I wasn't questioning the validity just impatient for some nuts and bolts that's all :-)

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That is one murky rabbit hole to fall down. The scandals are all there for the picking.

Some notable recent things come to mind.

The Co-op bank (the ethical bank) nailed for false accounting practices.

Church of England. Major shareholder in...wait for it.
Wonger the payday loan sharks. Who have since gone bankrupt leaving 1,000's of people with mounting debts.

It's a fascinating area to study and the publication sounds interesting.

I used to read the economist but don't anymore. To depressing. 😖


I like investigating the dark side.

On the co-op - they're still angelz compared to the guys on this list!

Economist - they do some great stuff but yup not an easy read!

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I do take such rankings into consideration, but companies like Amazon are so convenient. The best option is to buy the minimum of stuff. I'm just composing a post that relates to this.


So true. I'm a long way off that ideal!

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I wonder what Nestle did to get 0.5

[The sound of searching something on wiki]

In 2002, Nestlé demanded that the nation of Ethiopia repay US$6 million of debt to the company at a time when Ethiopia was suffering a severe famine.

and there is more

In 2005, after the cocoa industry had not met the Harkin–Engel Protocol deadline for certifying that the worst forms of child labour (according to the International Labour Organization's Convention 182) had been eliminated from cocoa production, the International Labor Rights Fund filed a lawsuit in 2005 under the Alien Tort Claims Act against Nestlé and others on behalf of three Malian children. The suit alleged the children were trafficked to Ivory Coast, forced into slavery, and experienced frequent beatings on a cocoa plantation.

and more

In Canada, the Competition Bureau raided the offices of Nestlé Canada (along with those of Hershey Canada and Mars Canada) in 2007 to investigate the matter of price fixing of chocolates. It is alleged that executives with Nestlé (the maker of KitKat, Coffee Crisp, and Big Turk) colluded with competitors in Canada to inflate prices.


There is way more stuff overe here ->


Nestlé S.A. (, formerly ; French: [nɛsle]) is a Swiss multinational food and drink company headquartered in Vevey, Vaud, Switzerland. It is the largest food company in the world, measured by revenues and other metrics, since 2014. It ranked No. 64 on the Fortune Global 500 in 2017 and No.

Big Mc Ethics dump. 🕵️‍♂️ thanks for the semi retirement sleuthing

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Hopefully we can bring some more ethical business styles using steem!
I have added you to the oracle-d pro plan in case you are interested in getting involved with some of the things we do, please log in here:


Well it certainly lends itself to transparency, at least for those transactions done on the chain.

I assume you've heard of these guys btw...

I was going to mention them when you were talking about coffee on Sat but cldn't get a word in then forgot!

Thanks for the OD add, will check out later today.


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Sounds pretty cool!!

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