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Previously cruelty free cosmetics...why do so many change their ethics and sell to China?

(28 Posts)
70isaLimitNotaTarget Tue 15-Dec-15 22:23:09

In China (apparantly) animal testing is compulsary.
So when I Google a brand I haven't heard of or haven't used and find in 2013 they are Cruelty Free , but wait........in 2014 they started selling to China hmm

Why?
Is the market so profitable that they forget the ethos of their brand?
Don't China make their own cosmetics ?

Can't they stipulate , okay, there's a demand but we'll sell on our terms. ie, not testing.
Surely there must be conumers who want cruelty free there?

HopefulAnxiety Wed 16-Dec-15 00:03:30

China is a HUGE market. Absolutely enormous, and it's only going to grow. There's no other country with a population so huge. And yes, animal testing is compulsory for selling cosmetics in China. I think it's more likely that China will change this than companies deciding against selling there tbh, although that's still not very likely because there's just a different attitude towards animals there. Animals are for working or eating there, not cuddly pets. I do not agree with testing cosmetics on animals, but animal welfare is a bigger concern to UK consumers than in many other countries including the US.

And of course China makes their own cosmetics but Western brands are seen as more prestigious.

specialsubject Wed 16-Dec-15 10:27:04

Is the market so profitable that they forget the ethos of their brand?

yes. No-one will be the most ethical person in the bankruptcy court. Sorry.

PigletJohn Wed 16-Dec-15 10:46:48

Because "cruelty free" is a marketing ploy.

AnyoneButSanta Wed 16-Dec-15 10:47:26

Yes. Given the choice between losing the number of women in Europe/USA/Canada/Australia who care enough about animal rights to only buy cruelty-free: at the absolute maximum maybe 2% of 500 million, so 10 million, and losing access to the 625 million women in China then it's a no brainer unless you've previously built yourself up as a niche green brand. The only way around this would be either to do a huge PR push in the West to up the share of women here who care enough to boycott or to lobby the Chinese government to change their laws. The problem is that the Chinese have had some massive contamination scandals so the public mood will not be in favour of anything that looks like watering down safety standards.

WrenNatsworthy Wed 16-Dec-15 11:00:25

The money.
I started using Neals Yard Remedies because they're the only conpany that gets 100% ethical from the good shopping guide. I became a consultant so I could get the products cheaper. Many of the people I sell to don't care about the ethics though even though they love the products. Some people regard me with suspicion as soon as that side of it starts being talked about. I think it's changing though, gradually.

I'm still yet to find a decent mascara that's made by an ethical brand though!

PeaceOfWildThings Wed 16-Dec-15 11:02:56

Thank you for highlighting this, I didn't know!

WrenNatsworthy Wed 16-Dec-15 11:05:22

Greenwashing is rife in the industry. External bodies like PETA etc can provide external regulation to reassure folk that companies are doing what they say they do, but really, most people don't really care! I've been boycotting Nestlé for years but it's a drop in the ocean.

WrenNatsworthy Wed 16-Dec-15 11:10:51

One of the stipulations of selling NYR is that you're not permitted to sell to China. If this was ever to change I'd be very surprised and disappointed, as the brand is built around its integrity. I'd be very interested in any lobbying action around this.

BaxterBaker Wed 16-Dec-15 11:18:56

The consumers like us who want cruelty free are few and far between.

It is a marketing ploy for us vegans. One I am very grateful for.

That said, most people don't give a shiney shit as long as they can wear precious make up and perfume.

Veterinari Wed 16-Dec-15 11:28:05

Previous posts are of course true to a large extent, but not quite accurate.

The reason that many companies started selling cosmetics in China is because in 2014 Chines law changed to allow the sale of cosmetics produced within China without animal testing.

This meant that large international companies could now set up factories inside China and access the Chinese market without changing their animal testing policies.

So not actually as unethical as assumed.

Veterinari Wed 16-Dec-15 11:28:29

www.hsi.org/news/press_releases/2014/06/china-implements-rule-change-063014.html

FrustratedFrugal Wed 16-Dec-15 11:34:47

Is this a serious question? Most companies are profit driven, not ethics driven. Also, here the ethics are sort of a gray area (people and governments have varying opinions on animal testing). Most growth can be obtaining in expanding economies.

Buy a few dozen or hundred million of cruelty-free products, the money will do the talking.

I think animal right needs only come to play when most other basic needs are satisfied. I lived for many years in a developing country where many people could not afford to eat meat. They could not understand our vegetarian guests, rich people who could afford to travel across the globe but would not eat meat. In a country where basic human rights were commonly ignored, animal rights didn't make much sense.

WrenNatsworthy Wed 16-Dec-15 11:35:22

That's great to hear Veterinari. I just googled and found a small site selling NYR in China and was about to fire off an extremely worried email to head office!

WrenNatsworthy Wed 16-Dec-15 11:37:26

That said, I think it may have been an unofficial site. My Aunt speaks Chinese so I'll be checking it out with her later.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Wed 16-Dec-15 12:58:21

Is this a serious question

Yes it is. Why would I ask otherwise?

I have been vegetarian since I was 14yo , I;m now nearly 50yo. My choice I know. It makes no difference to anyone else.

So I started with BWC then The Body Shop.
There were a few other brands that came and went.

But even my beloved BS it seems have turned on their heels.

I know there was a cut-off point WRT UK testing and there's a huge difference between "against animal testing" and "cruelty free from source"

I know what I endeavour to do means Jack Shit against the power of the huge consumers.

PeaceOfWildThings Wed 16-Dec-15 13:20:51

Thanks Vetinari!

Veterinari Wed 16-Dec-15 15:49:42

It is true that animal welfare is a luxury. When you want to feed your family you probably don't question too much.

However as the OP was about cosmetic testing, and cosmetics aren't exactly a 'necessity' then I think it's reasonable for anyone to consider the ethics of a 'luxury' purchase.

specialsubject Wed 16-Dec-15 15:56:25

ethics - a county east of London...

Cosmetics are never an ethical purchase. Massive waste of resources; little pots with loads of packaging, transport, all plastic, etc etc etc.

LaContessaDiPlump Wed 16-Dec-15 16:02:14

I've recently discovered that the 'B is for Beautiful' range in Superdrug are vegan. Good news!

Animal welfare is a luxury in many other parts of the world, but not here where I live (UK); therefore it is something I prioritise. People get very het up if you talk about improving animal welfare, because they seem to think that you can't care about both humans AND animals.

To me, it's another version of the 'let's take better care of the homeless in the UK before tending to refugees' argument; i.e. before you get exercised about that, you REALLY need to sort out this. 'We can't possibly get angry about animal welfare when there are so many people starving in X country', says the man buying a t-shirt from the human-rights crusader that is Primark hmm before he goes off to eat his cheap mixed grill made from poorly-produced meat that was fed with the soy beans grown in (you guessed it) X country, meaning that the people of that country had no food themselves.

Ugh. It wears me down sometimes.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Wed 16-Dec-15 17:28:52

Aside from the waste/the 'luxury'/the animal v people debate.....

I have a BodyShop lip pencil that is older than my children (they are teenagers)
I have BodyShop brushes that I bought when I was single (I;m 20 years married) when they used to comb the hair from ponies.

What makes me riled is companies like L'Occitane who I have used for years suddenly changing tack.

I don't buy a load of make-up (and yes, the B Superdrug is nice)

It would make little difference. But I think if I make the effort to do the research, when they change their mind, it sucks.

There are loads of companies that do test (and household products is another minefield).
Yes, I don't need make-up (being naturally gorgeous wink )

But the companies who start off with the USP of being cruelty free - do they suddenly expand soo much that they want to launch into China? Or does China want to buy in the products?

WrenNatsworthy Wed 16-Dec-15 18:26:29

Body Shop is owned by L'Oreal who are far from ethical.

Tutu1000 Wed 16-Dec-15 22:26:01

So is it possible to find out what company's are still cruelty free now? I've been having the same problem as the op which is you find a company on an old list, but then when you got to check them it turns out they are no longer cruelty free.

I try to shop as ethically as I can within my budget and how easily I can get things, and one of my resolutions for next year is to really increase how ethically I shop.

HopefulAnxiety Thu 17-Dec-15 21:38:59

70 I think it's more that Western brands are more available in China than they used to be, so more Western brands can now expand there whereas in the past it wasn't worth it.

Also 'ethical' is quite a broad term and surely should cover poor treatment of people and other things too - for instance NYR heavily fund homeopathy, which I would consider to be deeply unethical. If a company was, say, run by deeply homophobic people who were funding anti-gay legislation in other countries, that to me would be a huge ethical black mark against them even if they were good environmentally or 'cruelty-free' in animal terms.

megletthesecond Thu 17-Dec-15 21:42:23

I wonder how lush get around it?

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