Today Estee Lauder announced that they are supporting the efforts of Cruelty-Free International and Humane Society International to fight animal testing! It’s great to see support from them, but many cruelty-free consumers are confused about what it really means. Does this mean Estee Lauder is now cruelty-free? How does this impact any Estee Lauder-owned brands? What does the support from Estee Lauder mean for Cruelty-Free International (CFI) and Humane Society International (HSI)?
I break it all down here to make it easy for you to understand what this means. There are still a lot of positive takeaways here and it’s important to talk about those.
Is Estee Lauder is now cruelty-free? No.
First things first, is Estee Lauder is now cruelty-free? No. They are not cruelty-free. They are still sold in China and do test on animals as required by law. Most Estee Lauder brands are also not cruelty-free.
Did CFI and HSI say Estee Lauder was cruelty-free? No.
In their announcements about this, neither CFI nor HSI said that Estee Lauder is cruelty-free. They are joining the fight against animal testing and supporting both CFI and HSI with what they are doing to help end animal testing.
What does this partnership mean? How will it help fight animal testing?
No matter how you feel about Estee Lauder, I think it’s really important to focus on the big picture and the positives here. This partnership could really help push for change in markets that do require animal testing.
HSI and CFI work really hard to push for change already. Both do such great work and I think that needs to be recognized. I have talked so much in the past about my respect for HSI and their work. They focus a lot on regulatory change and are very transparent in their communications. They don’t sugarcoat things or put a PR spin on things. CFI does a lot to help large brands ensure that they are cruelty-free and they also work on regulatory change.
Brands that have a sales presence in China, like Estee Lauder, can help them. Because Estee Lauder and many of their brands are sold in China, their impact can come from a different approach because they are financially involved with the cosmetics market. It can help push change forward in China in a different way. They can cover more bases & push for a bigger change.
Why doesn’t Estee Lauder just leave the Chinese market?
Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple. It’s work for a brand to enter or leave any sales market due to contracts that may be in place and other elements. Even if it was simple, the brand would likely take a financial hit by doing so. This could be a worthwhile move for some brands but may be crippling for others. In order to support the efforts of an organization pushing for change, brands need to be able to run. This may mean that they cannot make an immediate change but there is still progress happening.
A lot of consumers also overestimate the impact it would have on the market in China. More and more brands are also entering the market in China and testing on animals do to so. If they leave, another would take their place.
Estee Lauder using their sales in China as leverage gives them some power that brands not in China and groups like CFI and HSI do not have. I don’t agree with brands testing on animals at all, but I do think it’s important to think about the big picture. By partnering with HSI and CFI, they can take a multi-tier approach to fight against animal testing and push for regulatory changes.
It’s like when a fast food joint introduces a vegan burger. When Beyond Meat started selling in Carl’s Jr, Del Taco, and A&W they just had one menu item. It’s expanding and changing and now they have more and more of the menu and more marketing budget from these chains. They are leveraging the market in that establishment to push their own agenda.
It’s good to see Estee Lauder support the already cruelty-free brands they own like Too Faced, Smashbox, and Aveda. I hope that this increases and that they continue to let these brands be proudly cruelty-free.
Estee Lauder also announced that more of their brands, and eventually, Estee Lauder itself as well will go cruelty-free in the future. This is HUGE. Please don’t underestimate the number of animals this would save & the amount of work required to make that change. Estee Lauder said some of their brands will be Leaping Bunny certified through CFI.
How can you help?
Letting brands know that cruelty-free matters to you is key. Brands need to hear it and it helps them decide their future. If you avoid cruelty-free brands with a parent company that is not cruelty-free, let those brands know that you support cruelty-free and wish their parent company was too.
Please be kind when sending these messages. The person reading your DM, comment, or email is not the one calling the shots. That said, most support teams do escalate topic types to higher-ups and consistently having “cruelty-free” included will make an impact.
What does Estee Lauder say?
The following is the full press release from Estee Lauder.
The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. (NYSE:EL) today announced a new partnership with Cruelty Free International and an expanded partnership with Humane Society International to advance the global end to cosmetics animal testing, an area the company has been a leader in for more than three decades.
More than 30 years ago, The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. was one of the first cosmetics companies to eliminate animal testing as a method of determining cosmetic product safety. The company does not test its products on animals and it does not ask others to do so on its behalf. The Estée Lauder Companies acknowledges its brands are sold in countries where animal testing on cosmetics or cosmetic ingredients is required by law. As a global company dedicated to bringing many of the beauty industry’s most beloved products and experiences to consumers in more than 150 countries and territories, The Estée Lauder Companies believes it has a responsibility to contribute to the sustainable solution to end animal testing for cosmetics, and that through strong partnerships, sharing of its science and engaging with communities in a meaningful way, it can contribute to the global end of cosmetic animal testing.
The Estée Lauder Companies wholeheartedly believes alternatives to animal testing are achievable through collaborations with leading scientists, industry groups and NGOs worldwide that share its passion and dedication to reach this common goal. To this end, the company has long worked with collaborative organizations including university research programs, industry consortiums and non-profits that have a proven track record of advocating for practical solutions and the acceptance of alternatives to cosmetics animal testing.
The Estée Lauder Companies is pleased to share that its newest partners, Cruelty Free International and Humane Society International (HSI), are joining this effort. Both organizations stand at the forefront of a global shift in public policy in the cosmetic sector, working in collaboration with forward-looking companies, local partners and advocating for the legislative end to cosmetic animal testing.
Together the organizations are working to foster meaningful and sustainable change to cosmetics animal testing in countries where it is still practiced or mandated by law, through three key focus areas:
Demonstrating Proven Scientific Alternatives to Animal Testing for Cosmetics: The Estée Lauder Companies continues to support research and adoption of alternatives to animal testing to determine cosmetics safety.
Supporting and Aligning on Legislation: The Estée Lauder Companies works closely with key stakeholders to align on legislation that balances animal welfare, existing regulations and science.
Global Approach: The Estée Lauder Companies is committed to working with both global and local partners to promote alternatives to animal testing in the cosmetics industry.
Partnership with Cruelty Free International
‘We have been working at the level of the UN to bring attention to the continued suffering of animals for cosmetics and are thrilled to be partnering with such an important respected global beauty company to bring animal testing for cosmetics to an end.’
– Michelle Thew, Chief Executive Cruelty Free International
The Estée Lauder Companies is proud to announce a newly established relationship with Cruelty Free International, a London-based animal-protection and advocacy group, whose work is deeply rooted in making a positive difference for animals, by advocating for better science and cruelty-free living.
The Estée Lauder Companies supports Cruelty Free International’s efforts to encourage leaders to embed cruelty-free consumption and production measures in the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This collaboration with Cruelty Free International underscores the importance of bringing cosmetics animal testing in product supply chains to a global end, in support of the United Nations’ SDG on responsible consumption and production. As a further demonstration of its commitment, The Estée Lauder Companies will begin the process of seeking Leaping Bunny certification for some of its brands.
Partnership with Humane Society International and Humane Society of the United States
‘We couldn’t be more pleased to welcome The Estée Lauder Companies to HSI’s #BeCrueltyFree campaign. By working together, I’m confident we can bring an end to cosmetic animal testing.’
– Troy Seidle, Vice President for Research & Toxicology, Humane Society International
Together with Humane Society International and Humane Society of the United States, The Estée Lauder Companies is proud to share that it has made a further pledge to support HSI’s flagship campaign, #BeCrueltyFree, to end animal testing for cosmetics. Through its support of #BeCrueltyFree The Estée Lauder Companies will encourage non-animal alternatives through knowledge sharing programs and continued development of non-animal advances to cosmetics safety assessments.
The Estée Lauder Companies is a longtime member of the Human Toxicology Project (HTP), led by Humane Society International. The HTP is group of forward-thinking industry and non-profit partners working toward a common goal – a global shift to a non-animal chemical safety risk assessment determined through the study of human biology and disease pathways.
To learn more about our commitment to animal welfare and for information on our cruelty-free brands visit www.elcompanies.com.
What does Humane Society International Say?
The following is the full press release from Humane Society International.
The Estée Lauder Companies has become the latest beauty company to back the #BeCrueltyFree campaign, the largest effort in history to end cosmetic animal testing globally. The Estée Lauder Companies is one of the world’s leading manufacturers and marketers of quality skin care, makeup, fragrance and hair care products, sold in over 150 countries and territories under 25+ brand names. The #BeCrueltyFree campaign is led by Humane Society International, the Humane Society of the United States and the Humane Society Legislative Fund.
Anna Klein, senior vice president, Global Corporate Affairs for The Estée Lauder Companies, said: ‘We are proud to partner with Humane Society International, an organization that has done such thoughtful work advocating for animals everywhere. They have been a wonderful partner and advisor as we work together towards our common goal to bring an end to cosmetics animal testing, worldwide.’
Kitty Block, president of Humane Society International and president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, said: ‘Animal testing is last century’s science, but to legislate it out of existence requires us to join forces with forward-looking industry leaders like The Estée Lauder Companies. I’m confident that by working together with beauty companies through our #BeCruelty campaign, we can help bring an end to cosmetics testing on animals by 2023.’
The #BeCrueltyFree campaign is an unprecedented education and consensus-building effort among federal legislators, regulators and corporate and other stakeholders to ensure that all newly manufactured cosmetics are both safe and cruelty-free. It has already helped shape cosmetics animal testing and sale bans in nearly 40 countries.
As part of the campaign, HSI is leading negotiations with cosmetic trade associations and key beauty brands to advance forward-looking federal legislation in countries around the world.
To learn more about The Estée Lauder Companies’ commitment to animal welfare and information on their cruelty-free brands visit www.elcompanies.com.
What does Cruelty-Free International Say?
The following is the full press release from Cruelty-Free International.
Today we are delighted to announce a new collaboration with global cosmetics company The Estée Lauder Companies, one of the world’s leading manufacturers and marketers of skincare, haircare, and makeup products, to achieve a worldwide end to animal testing for cosmetics.
The Estée Lauder Companies will support our efforts to encourage leaders to embed cruelty-free consumption and production measures in the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals – a collection of targets set by the UN General Assembly for the year 2030 to achieve a better and more sustainable future.
As a demonstration of their commitment, The Estée Lauder Companies will also be beginning its journey of Leaping Bunny cruelty-free certification, starting with the certification of some of its brands.
Anna Klein, Senior Vice President Global Corporate Affairs at The Estée Lauder Companies, said: ‘Cruelty-Free International has been at the forefront of ground-breaking advocacy in the animal testing space with like-minded partners globally. We are very proud to collaborate with them on their tireless commitment to sustainable cruelty-free beauty.’
Cruelty-Free International Chief Executive, Michelle Thew, said: ‘We are thrilled to be partnering with such an important respected global beauty company to help bring animal testing for cosmetics to an end. Consumers expect brands to be leaders for positive change which is why genuine engagement from businesses is so important. We hope today’s announcement encourages more cosmetics companies to do the right thing, listen to public demand and make a commitment to ending animal suffering in the cosmetics industry.’
Change can happen and it will happen. Sometimes it feels like baby steps, but baby steps are better than nothing at all.