Last week, Dove, our biggest beauty brand, joined forces with The Body Shop and more than 100 animal protection organisations to take a stand against policy which puts the EU’s long-standing ban on animal testing for cosmetics at risk. Now, Unilever’s 27 other PETA-approved brands are joining the cause.
All of our PETA-approved brands, including TRESemmé, Simple, Love Beauty and Planet, Sunsilk and many more, are calling on consumers to take action and urge the European Commission to uphold the ban.
How EU citizens can help save the ban
Despite the EU’s ban on animal testing for cosmetics being the blueprint that led to similar bans in other countries around the world, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) is now asking for new animal tests on ingredients which have been safely used in consumer products and safely handled in factories for many years.
Our PETA-approved brands, alongside Dove, The Body Shop and partners including People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Cruelty Free Europe, Humane Society International, Eurogroup for Animals, and the European Coalition to End Animal Experiments, are inviting consumers to take action. Together they have launched a European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI), which calls on EU lawmakers to safeguard the ban and commit to establishing a roadmap to phase out animal testing in the EU completely.
Open to all EU citizens, the ECI is a formal mechanism for consumers to help shape laws in the EU. The aim is to reach the required 1 million signatures in the fastest time ever.
When 1 million signatures are reached, this will send a clear message to Europe that ECHA’s demands for new tests break with the European Commission’s own policy of animal testing as a last resort, and go against the wishes of EU citizens. In the last week alone, the ECI has received over 83,000 signatures and that number is growing by the day. Please scroll to the bottom of this page for a link to the ECI if you are eligible to sign it.
Use science, not animals
Our scientists have been pioneering non-animal approaches to assess product safety for more than 40 years. We work with more than 70 leading science teams globally to accelerate the development, use and regulatory acceptance of alternatives to animal testing. We collaborate with peers, NGOs and governments to share our safety science and show how we apply it to ensure that our products are safe. As a result, Unilever is one of just five companies listed by PETA as a ‘company working for regulatory change’.
“There is no reason to test cosmetic products, or the ingredients used in them, on animals. ECHA’s proposals pose a significant threat to the progress our industry has made towards ending animal testing for assuring the safety of cosmetics and other consumer products,” says Julia Fentem, Head of Unilever’s Safety and Environmental Assurance Centre.
Julia adds: “If these proposals go ahead, hundreds of thousands of animals could be subjected to unnecessary tests, when innovative non-animal approaches based on leading-edge science and technology offer reliable alternatives to animal testing. We say use science, not animals.”
This change has the potential to affect all cruelty free brands across the industry including the no animal testing and vegan claims that are desired and recognised by consumers, with three quarters of adults in EU member states agreeing that animal testing for cosmetic products and their ingredients is unacceptable in all circumstances*.
Acting on our Positive Beauty commitments
Earlier this year, we launched Unilever’s Positive Beauty vision, pledging to do more good, not just less harm, for people and the planet. As part of our commitments, we stepped up our work and partnerships to support calls for a global ban on animal testing for cosmetics by 2023 – demands that were first made by the European Parliament in 2018.
“Unilever’s pioneering work on non-animal approaches has been critical to the progress the world has been making towards a global ban on animal testing for cosmetics,” says Mimi Bekhechi, Vice President International Programmes, PETA UK.
“It’s only with collective action from companies, consumers, NGOs and governments that we can drive the changes citizens so want to see. It’s sad that once again we have to fight a battle that Europe’s citizens thought they had already won, but with a successful European Citizens’ Initiative, we can make decision-makers listen, protect the groundbreaking bans and secure concerted action to end the suffering of animals in EU laboratories for good.”
* A survey by Savanta ComRes on behalf of Cruelty Free Europe reveals three quarters of adults in EU member states agree that animal testing for cosmetic products and their ingredients is unacceptable in all circumstances.