An increasing priority for consumers every day, cosmetic brands are having to make serious moves towards achieving socially and environmentally conscious certifications such as certified organic and cruelty free…but what do these labels actually mean? We spoke to Michelle Phew, CEO of Cruelty Free International (you’ll probably recognise their Leaping Bunny logo) to find out everything from what cruelty free actually means to the most common misconceptions in labelling when it comes to cosmetics.
So, what does it actually mean for a brand to be cruelty-free?
“The Cruelty Free International Leaping Bunny is the globally recognisable gold standard for cosmetics, personal care and household products,” explains Michelle. “It is the best assurance that a company has made a genuine commitment to ending animal testing right through it’s supply chain. It’s also the only international logo that requires a supplier monitoring system to be implemented by the company supply chain checking for animal testing right down to the ingredient manufacturer level, adherence to a fixed cut-off date policy and acceptance of ongoing independent audits to ensure compliance. All Leaping Bunny brands, from the small ones, to really large ones like COVERGIRL – must meet these rigorous criteria, which apply globally and extend over and above laws governing animal testing…only then can they display the Leaping Bunny logo.”
Can brands claim they are cruelty free without having this official certification?
“Some ‘not tested on animals’ logos are designed by product manufacturers and there’s no independent verification of the claim. Any brand could simply say that its products are cruelty free, but we think it’s important for consumers to know that what they purchase has been independently checked and rechecked – Leaping Bunny brands are regularly audited to make sure they continue to be cruelty free. It’s also the case these days that finished products aren’t tested – it’s more likely to be the raw materials and ingredients that go into them. Not all cruelty free claims drill down that far – but Leaping Bunny does. In some parts of the world there are regulations in place that restrict animal testing for cosmetics, so we also think it’s important for consumers to know if the brands they buy from are going above and beyond these restrictions.
That’s why COVERGIRL, now celebrating over one year as an approved brand, chose Leaping Bunny – it’s the best and most rigorous cruelty free assurance that a brand is doing all it can to remove animal testing from its supply chain,” she says.
Do brands generally have to adopt different practices in different countries to maintain the certification?
While laws and regulations surrounding animal testing are different country to country (to see if your country is cruelty free when it comes to cosmetics, head here), “the Cruelty Free International Leaping Bunny approval…is a worldwide programme. It’s the globally recognisable gold standard and the best assurance that a brand has done everything it can to remove animal testing from its whole supply chain – right down to raw materials and ingredients.”
Are there any major misconceptions, misleading phrases or ingredients used by brands when it comes to labelling cosmetics?
“The term ‘cruelty free’ has a long association with brands that are doing everything they can to remain free from animal testing. This is what the Leaping Bunny approval and Leaping Bunny logo on a product demonstrates. We understand that more and more shoppers also want to buy products that additionally, contain no animal derived ingredients. To assist shoppers looking for vegetarian or vegan cruelty free products, we ask Leaping Bunny brands to let us know if they provide products that meet those criteria. We include information about brands that, as well as being cruelty free, have a vegetarian or vegan offer on our list of Leaping Bunny brands, which you can find here,” says Michelle.
She also explains, that the most “common misconception is that products labelled as ‘vegan’ are also cruelty free, and vice versa. There are also several cruelty free logos and lists out there, with some companies even making their own cruelty free claims.
When it comes to making purchasing choices, Michelle explains “we recommend that shoppers always purchase cosmetics, personal care and household cleaning products from Leaping Bunny companies.” The logo will be clearly present on brand packaging, as well as on company websites.
Is there anything else about cruelty free certifications you don’t understand? DM us @centennialbeauty