Is Subway Ethical? (All You Need To Know)

Subway is one of the largest fast food businesses in the world, with almost 40,000 stores currently in operation. On their menu, Subway has a variety of sandwiches, soups and salads, made from fresh ingredients sourced from across the United States.

If you’re a fan of the Subway franchise, you may be wondering if their business practices are ethical, and if they’re a good company to support. If you’d like to find out, keep reading to learn what I discovered!

Is Subway Ethical In 2023?

Subway has a code of conduct to ensure their employees are treated fairly, and is committed to running their business ethically by ensuring sustainability through suppliers, and using recycled materials for products such as cups and containers. Subway also supports a number of charities, including Feeding America for hunger relief in the United States.

For more information about if Subway is an ethical business, including how they are being socially responsible, what their business values are and how they are ethical and more, keep reading for more information!

Is Subway an Ethical Business?

Subway has outlined their business practices on their website, indicating the company’s commitment to providing great quality products in an ethical way.

Subway states that their employees are required to follow their ethical principles to ensure that everyone is valued and treated with respect and equality in the workplace.

Subway uses the “REPORT IT” program as part of their ethics and compliance to keep employees safe.

Additionally, Subway is an equal opportunity employer meaning they do not tolerate discrimination in their workplaces on any basis of race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, creed, religion, color or national origin.

How is Subway Being Socially Responsible?

Subway is a socially responsible company committed to many causes to ensure they operate ethically, including human rights.

Subway use relevant policies including the Supplier Code of Conduct and Statement on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking, and aims to tackle these issues by ensuring ethical integrity in their operations, products and supply chain.

Additionally, Subway also aims to reduce their carbon footprint by working with suppliers who are using innovative farming methods to reduce their impact on the planet, such as fuel-efficient farming supplies.

Subway suppliers include the California Tomato Farmers, who are a group of 50-family owned farms who grow their vegetables in a sustainable manner.

Subway also works with the Hausbeck Pickle company which uses waste products such as landfill to help grow and create their products.

How is Subway Being Sustainable?

Subway aims to be a sustainable company by ensuring that every level of their business is operating in climate positive ways.

Agriculture is a key part of the Subway franchise, and the company aims to be ethical through managing their sourcing of materials including soy, beef, palm oil for their food products, as well as paper and wood products for their packaging.

Subway partners with agricultural companies who are ethical in ways such as using sustainable forest practices, increasing agriculture production without damaging surrounding areas, and preserving biodiversity to limit deforestation.

Responsible farming, fishing, and animal husbandry is also important to Subway. To ensure animal welfare, Subway works with Compassion in World Farming for their products, and ensures their eggs are from cage free hens.

Subway also aims to reduce their waste, for both cost savings as well as limiting their environmental damage, by promoting recycling and using innovative packaging design to reduce the materials used.

What Organizations Does Subway Support?

What Organizations Does Subway Support?

Subway supports a number of different companies to be an ethical company and benefit the planet.

As part of World Sandwich Day in the United States, Subway partnered with Feeding America and donated over 11.5 million meals to help with domestic hunger relief, and Subway has regularly collaborated with Feeding America in the past.

Subway also monitors how they advertise to children, ensuring to inform those aged under 12 of the importance of a well-balanced meal.

Additionally, Subway supports sustainable fishing practices, aiming to work with the industry to implement these practices world wide and help to protect endangered species.

Therefore, Subway only works with independently certified sustainable fisheries and supports protected areas.

Subway serves only tuna on their menu worldwide, and uses skipjack in the US sourced from fisheries with non-threatened stock levels.  

Is Subway Bad for the Environment?

Subway aims to reduce their carbon footprint as much as possible in order to be ethical and sustainable.

On average, Subway aims to save over 700,000 gallons of water, 130,000 pounds of plastic and around 560,000 corrugated resources through their sustainable practices.

Does Subway Use Recycled Materials?

To further reduce their waste and subsequent negative impact on the environment, Subway has made many of their packaging options recyclable.

Around 95% of the paper products at Subway are able to be recycled or composted after use, which significantly helps to reduce the waste from the restaurants.

Furthermore, 100% of the paper products at Subway are made from recycled materials or certified wood pulp.

Many of the packaging options at Subway are made without phosphates or ammonia, and do not contain organic chemicals, meaning they can be biodegradable.

The paper cup at Subway is made with paper from the Forest Stewardship Council which ensures the materials are recyclable. As well, Subway encourages their customers to recycle their products where possible.

The plastic salad bowls and lids available at Subway are also now made from 95% post-consumer recycled materials, including soda and water bottles.

By using recycled materials, Subway ensures they are operating an ethical business and reducing harm caused to the planet through sustainability.

To learn more about Subway, you can also see our posts on why Subway is so expensive, if you can recycle Subway packaging, and the cost of opening a Subway franchise.


Subway can be considered an ethical business as they operate with sustainability, fairness, equality and consideration of the planet. As well as working with charities, Subway chooses to partner with suppliers who share their ethical values.

As part of their ethical business practices, Subway uses recycled materials for their products and aims to reduce their waste. As well, Subway ensures their workers are treated ethically.

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Marques Thomas

Marques Thomas graduated with a MBA in 2011. Since then, Marques has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Marques is also the head writer and founder of

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