Co-operatives have been named among the most ethical companies over the past 25 years.
Readers from Ethical Consumer magazine, which is run by a worker co-operative, named a number of co-operatives in the top 10, with the Co-operative Group topping the list.
To mark the 25th anniversary of Ethical Consumer, the top ten list included wholefood co-operative Suma and employee-owned John Lewis. Other co-op-supporting organisations such as Lush, Traidcraft, Triodos and People Tree were also included.
Ethical Consumer co-director Tim Hunt said: “Over the past 25 years the Co-op has been at the forefront of the ethical consumer movement. From its supermarket, which was the first retailer to stock only Fairtrade bananas and ban products from the Occupied Palestinian Territories, to the pioneering ethical policy of its bank, the Co-operative Group has been a genuine ethical trailblazer.
“Many commentators have had their knives out for the Co-op Group in recent months. Ethical Consumer’s readers however are able to see through the spin and realise that despite the problems the Co-op remains an ethical business at heart – at least for the time being.”
In the same survey, the controversial multi-national food giant Nestlé topped the poll as the least ethical company. The Swiss-based company is the subject of the world’s longest-running boycott with activists campaigning against the marketing of its baby milk formula for over 30 years.
Other least ethical companies, which were also the most boycotted, were Amazon, Shell, Tesco, Coca Cola and Primark.
When readers were asked what was the biggest action they had taken to reduce their environmental impact, the top five answers were: changed electricity suppliers; gone vegan, bought solar panels; started cycling for transport; and stopped flying.
The survey also revealed that the most important developments for ethical shopping over the next 25 years will be: better ethical labelling; more Fairtrade products; greater transparency from companies; clamping down on tax avoidance; and greater use of social media to share ethical shopping choices.