In order to be Beauty, it also needs to be Good. Beauty is the result, but also the process followed in pursuing that result.
-Dominique Conseil, PresidentOur stance on animal welfare is one of Aveda's founding principles: We do not conduct animal testing, and do not ask others to do so on our behalf, except if required by law. While we are continually developing new products, our product safety testing relies on the use of volunteer humans as well as numerous scientific databases.
What We've Done
Our commitment to the end of animal testing is wholehearted and without exception. In 1989, Aveda was the first company to endorse and sign the CERES Principles (Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies), which encourages higher corporate standards for corporate environmental performance and disclosure. One of our most prized accolades is our 2004 PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) Proggy Award for Progress as the Best Cruelty-Free Personal Care Products.
In 1997, Aveda was acquired by The Estée Lauder Companies, which shares our commitment to the elimination of animal testing. The Estée Lauder Companies was one of the first cosmetic companies to completely abandon animal testing on finished products in the late 1980s. In addition, the Company is one of the founding supporters of the Scientific Committee on Alternatives to Animal Testing of the European trade association COLIPA, and is a member of the European Partnership for Alternatives to Animal Testing.
The sad reality is, almost all ingredients have been tested on animals at some point. Some companies claim that they don't conduct animal testing but then ask suppliers to conduct animal testing without disclosing this fact. Rather than make a questionable claim, Aveda's choice is not to conduct animal testing or ask others to do so on our behalf, except if required by law, and to make the honest admission that in certain cases, some of our ingredients may at some point have been tested on animals.
The opportunity for the future lies in working with advocacy and industry groups as well as the global scientific community to further the development of animal-free, in vitro alternatives to replace increasingly unnecessary in vivo tests.
What We're Doing
While our consumers—and the cosmetics world as a whole—see the value we have in protecting animals, new international regulations may simultaneously support and challenge our efforts to protect animals. A ban on the marketing of cosmetic products that contain ingredients tested on animals to meet the safety requirements of the European cosmetic legislation will apply in the EU beginning of March 2009. However, for tests relating to repeated-dose toxicity, reproductive toxicity and toxicokinetics, the ban will not enter into effect before 2013. Once the marketing ban is in effect, no cosmetic products sold in the EU can have ingredients tested on animals for use in cosmetics after these dates.
At the same time, however, a new European regulation called REACH will begin to be enforced in June 2008. As part of its goal to strengthen consumer and worker safety, REACH requires that all chemicals used in the EU be registered and evaluated according to set standards, which may include testing on animals for some chemicals. The REACH registration of ingredients already in use on the EU market will have to take place according to fixed deadlines and in the interim Aveda is putting forth extensive efforts to develop alternative testing that will satisfy the regulations for raw materials without testing on animals.
As we navigate the ever-changing world of international standards and regulations, we continue to live and breathe our commitment to being an animal-friendly company in other ways.
When Aveda opened its manufacturing plant in Blaine, Minnesota, the company immediately took steps to restore 18 of the 57 acres to a natural state. Use of any chemical fertilizers and weed killers was replaced by corn-based fertilizers, while water ponds were created to collect storm runoff for watering the grounds. To date, 3.1 acres of the land have been restored to the region's native prairie state, now certified as wildlife habitat through the National Wildlife Federation. Aveda is evaluating ambitious plans to expand this area and plans to join forces with other national organizations to help protect it. This natural habitat is a haven to native animal species—bringing with it a few unexpected challenges. Because of the size of property's ponds, Canadian geese were literally flocking to the area. To control the amount of wildlife without having a major impact on environment or behavior, Dirk and Anna, two yellow Labrador dogs were allowed to frequent the property, with just enough presence to keep the geese in check. Dirk and Anna were trained for up to three years so they would not stress the geese nor approach when goslings were around.
When responding to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, Aveda committed money to animal relief, donating to the Animal Humane Society, as well as supporting The Red Cross, the Salon/Spa Relief Fund and Farm Aid. The Aveda culture is so animal friendly that employees, on their own initiative, assist injured animals on the company campus and see that they get the help they need from neighboring animal hospitals, ranger stations or humane society chapters. Wildlife on the Aveda campus includes a number of animal habitats for woodchucks, deer, opossums, raccoons, snapper tortoise, egrets, pheasants and many migratory birds.
Our involvement in animal and habitat protection extends across our salon and spa network as well as throughout the world. In the last decade, our salon/spa professionals, employees and customers have raised more than $8 million for grassroots organizations with programs that help protect threatened or endangered plants and animals. This company- and network-wide coalition also sent more than 275,000 petitions in 2006 to the United Nations and the White House to support the protection of endangered species.
What Can You Do?
The first and most important thing you can do to prevent animal testing is to support organizations that work against animal cruelty. Find out about PETA and their many actions regarding animal testing and other animal rights issues. You can also learn about how to make cruelty-free choices in your everyday life.
For more information on the alternatives to animal testing, find out about the latest research at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (http://caat.jhsph.edu). In addition, you can find out more about the FDA's position on animal testing (http://vm.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/cos-205.html), as well as the possible implications of REACH (www.denehurst.co.uk/id14.html) and the European Union's 2009 marketing and testing ban (www.eceae.org/english/cosmetics.html) on animal testing for cosmetic ingredients. You can reach out to PETA at www.peta.org or contact www.gocrueltyfree.org.