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we say NO to animal testing!
“testing on animals” is obviously a very emotional topic. so let us assure you right now: we have never conducted any testing on animals – neither for essence products nor for any of our ingredients. we could just sit back and relax now. but unfortunately, the issue isn’t quite that simple nor black and white. so we’d like to openly answer your questions and provide you with more information on this complex topic that is very close to our hearts.
here are the most frequent questions and our answers.
1. what does the law have to say about “testing on animals”?
in the european union, the sale of cosmetics products that have been tested on animals has been prohibited since 2004. the cosmetic industries of various countries of the european union have voluntarily refrained from doing so since1989. and since 2009, products with ingredients that have been tested on animals, especially for cosmetic purposes, are also forbidden. the transitional period ended in 2013. this means that by law, any cosmetics product marketed in the european union is free of animal testing. this applies also to all products marketed by essence globally.
but there’s another important fact you need to know: the so-called REACH regulation (registration, evaluation & authorization of chemicals) came into force in 2009. this regulation covers chemical policy requirements, which say that all ingredients must be proven to be safe – no matter whether they are well-known or brand new, synthetic or natural. in this case, “safe” means that the ingredients in the finished product will not lead to any negative health effects upon application. nowadays, the cosmetics industry implements alternative testing methods instead of testing on animals. alternative tests are in-vitro-tests – i.e. tests without live organisms! by the way, “in vitro” is latin and means “in a glass”.
but – and this is a big “but”: many cosmetic ingredients are also used for other purposes. almond oil, for example, is often used in cosmetics but it is also used for manufacturing other products such as pharmaceuticals. by law, medical ingredients can and must still be tested on animals to prove that they are safe for use. at least if no authorized alternative test is available.
such ingredients may later also be used in cosmetics. the important thing is: ingredients are not allowed to be tested on animals especially for cosmetics purposes.
if your head isn’t spinning yet, you can read more about it here:
testing on animals is a no-go for essence. we do not conduct animal testing and do not commission anyone else to do so either. not in the european union or anywhere else in the world. we never have and we never will. the contracts with our clients state that they must manufacture products in compliance with european union law, which strictly prohibits testing on animals. to us, this is a matter of course – and always has been on a voluntary basis - because we know that we can manufacture good and safe products without torturing animals. in the cosmetics industry, alternative tests have been used for many years instead of testing on animals.
however, it is practically impossible to prove that a cosmetics product is totally free of animal testing. this applies without exception. this is because the ingredients may, for example (as already mentioned in question 1), have already been tested on animals for medical purposes. if there is no alternative method available, the pharmaceuticals industry still has to test on animals by law. also, other laws apply for suppliers in countries outside of the european union. so it could happen that an ingredient has been tested on animals somewhere in the world – but since 2013, not for a cosmetics company that markets its products in europe.
then there are the raw materials that have been tested on animals in the past. some even decades ago when animal testing was still legal. although we are in no way responsible for these tests, they cannot be undone.
many of these raw materials are still used in cosmetics – including for brands that have never conducted or commissioned testing on animals themselves.
because we are strictly against testing on animals, it is extremely important to us to explain these details! luckily, work is underway to stop animal testing in all industries and countries as soon as possible and replace it with alternative testing methods. however, these methods have to be legally approved before they can replace animal testing. this is a real scientific challenge, which many companies are already facing with great commitment.
3. does essence test raw materials on animals?
no. this has been prohibited in europe since 2009, but we didn’t conduct animal testing before that, either. not for our products and not for our raw materials either. we believe that beauty is no reason to torture animals. there are very good ingredients available to us even without animal testing.
we try to use ingredients that have been used safely in cosmetics for a long time. almond oil, for example. it has been used in lipsticks, creams, foundation and nail care for years and is proven to be harmless as well as extremely effective. but even in the case of such a natural ingredient, we cannot guarantee that it has never been tested on animals by another company within keeping of the chemical policy regulations mentioned in question 1. for example, this may have occurred in accordance with the legal requirements valid at that time (when animal testing was still allowed in europe), for medical purposes or for a company outside of the european union. we can, however, guarantee that we have never conducted testing on animals ourselves and have never commissioned anyone else to do so.
4. i’ve read several blogs that claim that essence does test on animals. is this true? or have you tested on animals in the past?
no. we never have and never will test on animals. please take a look at point 2, where we explain what essence thinks about testing on animals!
5. is a product that has never been tested on animals still safe?
there’s nothing to worry about! first of all, there are the chemical policy requirements, which require proof of safety for all ingredients.for every product marketed in the european union, the safety of each product is confirmed by trained specialists. furthermore, we make use of alternative testing methods and commission laboratories to carry out in-vitro tests – this kind of testing is conducted in test tubes without live organisms. so you can enjoy your essence products without worrying about your safety!
6. can essence launch innovative products without testing on animals?
essence has always had innovative, trendy products and we have never carried out any tests on animals! and this isn’t going to change in the future. with the help of alternative testing methods, we, like the rest of the cosmetics industry, are continuously working on assessing whether new raw materials really are safe for use. so you can always look forward to plenty of new and improved products by essence!
7. even if testing on animals for cosmetics purposes is forbidden in the european union, i’ve heard that new ingredients have to be tested on animals. is this true?
first of all, the ban on animal testing doesn’t just apply to finished cosmetics products, but also to the raw materials used – if they are exclusively used for cosmetics! as the safety of all ingredients has to be ensured in accordance with the chemical policy regulations, the cosmetics industry uses alternative testing methods instead of animal tests. if these alternative methods cannot prove that an ingredient is safe, it will not be used. but you should know that many raw materials are also used in pharmaceuticals, for example. as medicine is particularly important, the legislation is totally different here. in this case, ingredients are tested on animals if no other approved alternative methods are available. although these tests are not conducted for the cosmetics industry, they do sometimes apply to ingredients that may later be used in the production of cosmetics.
8. if you use a new ingredient at essence – do you test it on animals?
no. according to european union regulations, this is prohibited since 2009. but here at essence, we have always refrained from testing on animals for our products and their ingredients. we love beauty, but we love animals, too! and for us, this goes hand in hand. we test new ingredients with alternative methods to ensure their safety in accordance with the european cosmetics regulation. however, we sadly cannot guarantee that an ingredient that may be new to us has not been tested on animals previously by the pharma industry or by a company outside of europe that does not have to comply with european union regulations if it doesn’t want to sell its products here. but we promise that essence never conducts any testing on animals, nor asks others to do it!
9. does cosnova still search for new ingredients?
of course! our innovation team is responsible for this. they scan all new ingredients available on the market that are safe for use in essence cosmetics. after all, we always want to be ahead of the trends and ensure that our products can offer that little bit extra!
10. what about essence products that are manufactured outside of the european union, for example, in china? do you test those on animals?
no, we do not conduct testing on animals for these products either! firstly, because we don’t want to, and secondly, because we would not be allowed to sell these products in europe for legal reasons! although animal testing was even mandatory for products sold in china until 2014, this doesn’t apply to essence because we do not sell our products in china. our suppliers have to comply with the rules of the country where the products will be sold. and the european union law clearly states that testing on animals for cosmetics products and their ingredients is forbidden.
11. can you really ensure that no testing on animals is conducted for products that are manufactured outside of europe?
yes, we can. and we are even legally obliged to do so: our suppliers must comply with our strict criteria as well as the law – this means that they have to manufacture our products in accordance with european union legislation, which says that testing on animals is forbidden. we promise that there are no loopholes or tricks!
12. if you do not test on animals, why don’t your products have a signet or seal like the “leaping bunny seal”?
because for european cosmetics companies, it goes without saying that no animal tests have been conducted – after all, animal testing has been forbidden by the european union regulation since 2009! and if something is self-explanatory, we do not write it on our products.
the bunny symbol only makes sense in countries where testing on animals for cosmetics purposes is still allowed. in the usa, for example, brands can use this symbol to inform the public or for advertising purposes since not everyone manufactures their products without testing on animals. in european countries, on the other hand, this would only lead to confusion since it is forbidden to test on animals for cosmetics products anyway.
according to the organization “cruelty free”, the european union countries and india are pioneers in the ban on animal testing for cosmetics. although this is great, it would be even better if we weren’t so lonely at the top and other countries would join us soon – for a world free of animal testing!
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