Unilever

Suzana Rose

Unilever is NOT cruelty-free.

This means that this brand either tests on animals, pays for animal testing, or sells in mainland China. Some brands that fall under this category test on animals where required by law, which means they're not cruelty-free.

Unilever

Details

Our commitment to ending animal testing is under-pinned by our work since the 1980s in developing and using alternatives to animal tests for assessing safety, e.g. computer-based modelling and cell-based ‘in vitro’ methods. Unilever’s framework for safety assessment is risk-based rather than hazard-based. This enables us to use a wide range of non-animal approaches to assess the safety of our products for consumers. We review all of the available data, including how consumers use the product and safety information on the ingredients it contains.

For example, we are making good progress in developing a non-animal approach for assessing ingredients that may cause skin allergy. To encourage acceptance of this new approach we continue to present and publish our results externally, and are working with international research and policy groups to share our experience. We share our scientific research on a dedicated Safety Science in the 21st Century website.

In 2016 the risk-based non-animal approaches we are developing for assessing consumer safety were discussed with leading scientists, policy-makers, regulators and animal welfare organisations at key meetings in the EU, US and China. Unilever scientists were major contributors at the US Society of Toxicology 55th annual meeting, where we shared progress on a research collaboration with US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) scientists to advance non-animal approaches for chemical risk assessment.

Unilever experts also played an active role in a China – EU training programme, involving the China Food & Drug Administrations (FDA) and UK Home Office, sharing how we use non-animal approaches for assessing the safety of cosmetics.

We use a wide range of non-animal approaches to assess the safety of our products for consumers. We do not test our products on animals and are committed to ending animal testing. Our leading-edge research has one clear purpose: to continue to develop new non-animal approaches that can guarantee that our products are safe, without any need for animal testing.

Occasionally, when there are no suitable non-animal approaches available, some of the ingredients we use have to be tested; and some governments test our products on animals as part of their regulatory requirements. We are actively working with these governments, other scientists and NGOs, to put in place alternative methods.

Over the past 30 years we have invested millions of Euros in research into non-animal approaches for assessing consumer safety. We have a team of internationally recognized scientific leaders in alternatives to animal testing in Unilever, who collaborate with the best research teams across the world on this important topic, so that new non-animal methods that start as ideas in our research laboratories are accepted by regulatory authorities and become standards for the industry.

Why We Classify Brands Like Unilever As “Not Cruelty-Free”

The term “cruelty-free” is unregulated. This means any brand can claim to be cruelty-free without breaking the law, even if they test on animals.

Because of this, we communicate with brands directly to gather information about their full animal testing policy.

Brands who are classified as “not cruelty-free” break one or more of the Cruelty-Free 5:

  • Their company engages in animal testing
  • Their suppliers engage in animal testing
  • They allow third-parties to test on animals on their behalf
  • They test on animals where required by law
  • They knowingly sell cosmetics in stores in mainland China, where animal testing could be performed

A supplier is any company that sells the brand raw materials, ingredients, or finished products. A third-party is an outside company or entity, whether or not it’s hired by the brand.

What’s The Deal With China?

Many beauty brands choose to sell their products in China. It’s important to note that these companies can not be considered cruelty-free.

As of 2020, China still requires most cosmetics to be tested on animals in order to be sold in the country.

As for products which can bypass these mandatory tests, the Chinese authorities may still pull these products from the shelves and have them tested on animals. Although the chance is small, we believe that companies can not be considered “cruelty-free” while taking this risk.

Our commitment to ending animal testing is under-pinned by our work since the 1980s in developing and using alternatives to animal tests for assessing safety, e.g. computer-based modelling and cell-based ‘in vitro’ methods. Unilever’s framework for safety assessment is risk-based rather than hazard-based. This enables us to use a wide range of non-animal approaches to assess the safety of our products for consumers. We review all of the available data, including how consumers use the product and safety information on the ingredients it contains.

For example, we are making good progress in developing a non-animal approach for assessing ingredients that may cause skin allergy. To encourage acceptance of this new approach we continue to present and publish our results externally, and are working with international research and policy groups to share our experience. We share our scientific research on a dedicated Safety Science in the 21st Century website.

In 2016 the risk-based non-animal approaches we are developing for assessing consumer safety were discussed with leading scientists, policy-makers, regulators and animal welfare organisations at key meetings in the EU, US and China. Unilever scientists were major contributors at the US Society of Toxicology 55th annual meeting, where we shared progress on a research collaboration with US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) scientists to advance non-animal approaches for chemical risk assessment.

Unilever experts also played an active role in a China – EU training programme, involving the China Food & Drug Administrations (FDA) and UK Home Office, sharing how we use non-animal approaches for assessing the safety of cosmetics.

We use a wide range of non-animal approaches to assess the safety of our products for consumers. We do not test our products on animals and are committed to ending animal testing. Our leading-edge research has one clear purpose: to continue to develop new non-animal approaches that can guarantee that our products are safe, without any need for animal testing.

Occasionally, when there are no suitable non-animal approaches available, some of the ingredients we use have to be tested; and some governments test our products on animals as part of their regulatory requirements. We are actively working with these governments, other scientists and NGOs, to put in place alternative methods.

Over the past 30 years we have invested millions of Euros in research into non-animal approaches for assessing consumer safety. We have a team of internationally recognized scientific leaders in alternatives to animal testing in Unilever, who collaborate with the best research teams across the world on this important topic, so that new non-animal methods that start as ideas in our research laboratories are accepted by regulatory authorities and become standards for the industry.

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