lorac

2016 UPDATE: After a recent e-mail from the company, I no longer support LORAC nor can I maintain that they’re a cruelty-free company. LORAC isn’t sold in China, but it’s ambiguous whether or not their ingredients are tested on animals. Please read their response below.

LORAC is a 100% cruelty-free independent company. Although they’re not certified by PETA or the Leaping Bunny, their policy, stated in the e-mail below, is not to test on animals under any circumstances. Their suppliers must also sign a statement declaring that no ingredients were tested on animals. LORAC is not sold in mainland China.

Here’s the older correspondence from 2015:

Dear Suzi,

Thank you for contacting LORAC Cosmetics! LORAC does not test our final products on animals and we are not aware of any animal testing performed by any manufacturer with whom LORAC does business. LORAC does not condone the testing of any cosmetic products on animals and asks all suppliers to support this point of view and all suppliers state that they do so. LORAC cannot warrant or certify that all suppliers who say they do not test on animals in fact do not test on animals. Additionally, notwithstanding the statements of suppliers to LORAC, LORAC has no way of knowing what the “suppliers of the suppliers” are doing. Also, LORAC is only distributed in the United States and does not sell in China or any countries that require animal testing. LORAC does not use a third party to test on animals and we are not owned by another company. We hope this helps and please let us know if LORAC can further assist you!

Sincerely,

LORAC Customer Care

The second e-mail statement I received:

Dear Suzi,

LORAC cannot warrant or certify that all suppliers who say they do not test on animals in fact do not test on animals. Additionally, notwithstanding the statements of suppliers to LORAC, LORAC has no way of knowing what the “suppliers of the suppliers” are doing.

Carol Shaw is one of the most sensitive people to animal issues that you will ever find. Carol has been asked many times whether or not LORAC could obtain the certifications that you mention, Leaping Bunny and PETA. LORAC’s legal team has looked into the requirements for these certifications.

The organizations that certify products as being cruelty free have their hearts in the right place. The question is whether or not the brands touting the certifications do. Both PETA and Leaping Bunny certifications require that the brand declare that the brand is cruelty free and that all their suppliers are cruelty free—with varying degrees of proof required.

The problem with the certifications is that no one is really “certifying” anything that is verifiable for all substances included in cosmetic products. There are very few, if any, cosmetic brands that are so big that the brand literally controls all aspects of manufacturing from “shovel in the ground to shelf in the store.” As you can imagine, ALL ingredients in all products start out as natural substances on the earth. There is no other possibility. The difficulty comes in knowing what happens to each and every one of these substances between original acquisition/harvesting/mining and the end product you purchase.

Most original substances are refined into purer versions of themselves and/or combined in some fashion with other substances. These substances then become “raw ingredients” which are then further combined and refined into the actual ingredients that you may see listed on the package of the product you buy.

While LORAC is more than happy to certify LORAC’s behavior and obtain similar certifications from LORAC’s suppliers (which in some cases are probably valid and in other cases probably questionable), LORAC has zero control over the suppliers to LORAC’s suppliers.

Therefore, it has been our view that because LORAC cannot be sure of the conduct and activities of all members of the supply chain, LORAC should not, in good conscience, make a certification in which LORAC has little or no confidence, merely to gain sales. As evidenced by your letter, the fact that LORAC does not have these certifications can cost LORAC sales and PR and image. However, certifying that which cannot really be certified or verified is less ethical in our minds.

We can personally assure you that LORAC tolerates no testing or cruelty of any kind to animal or human from any supplier of anything to LORAC. However, in good conscience, LORAC cannot say, on behalf of the many nameless suppliers of raw materials, that this is the case.

Sincerely,
LORAC Customer Care

Let’s recap this whole situation, because this is one of the most awkward animal testing policies I’ve read. It’s awkward because it seems unprofessional. I mean, they’re bashing these giant cruelty-free organizations in a pretty condescending way. “They have their hearts in the right place”? LORAC, please.

China/Required By Law

To get it out of the way, LORAC claims they’re not sold in any countries that require animal testing, which has been verified and checks out.

Finished Products

They claim not to test finished products on animals. Two checkmarks.

Ingredients and Suppliers

This is the ambiguous part. On one hand, they claim that all their suppliers provide signed written statements of no animal testing.

On the other hand, they claim that this doesn’t always constitute proof, and that some of the statements are “questionable”.

Chris-Rock-HUH-WTF

Okay. First of all, if they’re so opposed to animal testing, they wouldn’t do business with suppliers whose proof of no animal testing is “questionable”.

Second of all, a written confirmation is all that’s required from your suppliers in order to be certified by the Leaping Bunny (as far as suppliers go).

From the Leaping Bunny‘s site:

DECLARATION OF RAW MATERIAL COMPLIANCE

Written confirmation by a Supplier, obtained once a year, that the Supplier has not been involved with Animal Testing for specified Ingredients. These documents form the Company’s Supplier Monitoring System.

Which brings me to…

Official Certification

In the second e-mail, LORAC is claiming that they don’t want to be certified because certification is essentially bullcrap. This is because, according to them, ingredients go through a long journey down the supply chain before they reach LORAC.

Basically, the reason as to why they won’t seek certification is that they’re unable to prove that the “suppliers of suppliers” are cruelty-free.

Except I don’t think this is the real problem. I think that LORAC can’t confirm that their suppliers are cruelty-free. Re-read the following part:

LORAC cannot warrant or certify that all suppliers who say they do not test on animals in fact do not test on animals.

While LORAC is more than happy to certify LORAC’s behavior and obtain similar certifications from LORAC’s suppliers (which in some cases are probably valid and in other cases probably questionable), LORAC has zero control over the suppliers to LORAC’s suppliers.

They’re telling us they’re “more than happy” to “certify” that LORAC or their suppliers don’t test on animals, but they won’t actually get certified.

More than that, they’re claiming that they won’t get certified because of “ethical” or moral reasons. They also claim that they would rather “lose sales” by not getting certified because it’s the right and ethical thing to do. The thing is, there’s not a single business in the world that deliberately wants to lose sales over something if they can avoid it. This is why most brands who don’t test on animals will gladly claim so, and answer any questions. If a brand is cruelty-free, they’ll announce it to their customers loud and clear, because they know it’s a selling point.

What I’m saying is that LORAC knows they might not fall under the “cruelty-free” label, which would explain why they’re being so cautious.

Cruelty-Free Or Not?

Based on this, LORAC isn’t a cruelty-free company as far as I’m concerned. Which is odd because they do claim that their suppliers provide written statements of no animal testing. That’s why I initially accepted LORAC as being a cruelty-free brand. Right now though, LORAC is in a grey area to me.

Do you agree with this? Are you happy with these statements from LORAC, or would you require more proof?

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Suzana Rose
By Suzana Rose|
Suzana is the founder of Cruelty-Free Kitty. She believes in ethical businesses and wants to see a global ban on animal testing. She loves cats, debunking myths, and shoegaze music.