On World Animal Day, The Body Shop and Cruelty Free International were joined by actress, activist and entrepreneur Maggie Q to bring 8.3 million signatures against cosmetic animal testing to the United Nations Headquarters in New York City to create a global framework to end animal testing while advancing the United Nations’ sustainable development agenda.
The celebration of these signatures is a culmination of more than 30 years of advocacy between The Body Shop, the first international beauty brand to campaign against animal testing in cosmetics, and its long-time campaign partner Cruelty Free International, the first global, non-profit organization dedicated to ending cosmetic product and ingredient testing on animals.
The joint effort is the most ambitious campaign ever against cosmetic animal testing and serves as a model to inspire action from businesses, governments and citizens to advance Sustainable Development Goal 12 (SDG12): Responsible Consumption and Production and other key responsible production and consumption issues. Lise Kingo, Executive Director of the UN Global Compact, joined The Body Shop at the UN to discuss how businesses can do more to engage and mobilise consumers in support of the SDGs.
The petition signatures, collected from supporters around the world in just 15 months, call on the countries of the UN to formalize an international framework to end cosmetic animal testing, everywhere and forever. Cosmetic animal testing is cruel, old-fashioned, expensive and inefficient. Today, there are more reliable alternatives. The Body Shop and many other cruelty-free companies use innovative and effective cruelty-free ingredients in all their products, all tested through innovative non-animal methods.
Although there has been sizable progress, including the European Union prohibiting all cosmetic animal testing in 2013 as well as the sale of products tested elsewhere, 80 percent of countries still have not made it illegal to test cosmetics on animals. Cruelty Free International estimates that more than 500,000 animals each year are used in cosmetics testing. A global framework is the only way to eliminate animal suffering and create a level playing field around the world.
Harmonizing safety testing requirements globally would allow companies to avoid unnecessary bureaucracy and test duplication when accessing international markets to fill the consumer demand for safe and humane cosmetics. Not only would a global framework give confidence to companies that they are producing safe and effective cosmetics while meeting consumer demand for truly cruelty-free products, but also, the global framework would align with the United Nation’s vision of a world in which, “humanity lives in harmony with nature and in which wildlife and other species are protected.”
“Over 8 million people worldwide have spoken up for animals and made it clear they want to see an end to cruel and unnecessary animal testing for cosmetics NOW. I’m delighted to join Cruelty Free International and The Body Shop in taking this record breaking petition to the UN. The time is right to eliminate animal suffering for the sake of cosmetics everywhere and forever,” said Maggie Q, actress, activist and entrepreneur.
“In just 15 months more than 8 million people signed their names in recognition that cosmetic animal testing is outdated, cruel and unnecessary,” said David Boynton, CEO of The Body Shop. “We are determined to finish what Dame Anita Roddick, our founder, started back in 1989, and today we are hosting a special event at the United Nations to call for collaboration among the cosmetic industry, civil society and governments finally to end cosmetic animal testing everywhere.”
“Together with the activist spirit of our store teams and customers around the world, we have reached more consumers with this campaign than we ever have before.” said Jessie Macneil-Brown, Global Head of Activism at The Body Shop. “The support of so many people around the world demonstrates that corporate activism can make a positive impact on a global scale.”
“People are misinformed about cosmetic animal testing,” said Michelle Thew, CEO of Cruelty Free International. “The Forever Against Animal Testing petition demonstrates that across the globe, people want this cruel practice to end. A global framework is the only way to truly eliminate animal suffering.”
“This initiative shows the potential for brands to engage and mobilise consumers at scale in support of the SDGs, and how, by combining business innovation, enabling policies and consumer power, real change can be achieved. The SDGs are everybody’s business and we look forward to working with The Body Shop to build and share industry knowledge and insights on how to harness consumers and drive collective action in support of more responsible production and consumption patterns,” said Lise Kingo, CEO and Executive Director of the UN Global Compact.
Consumers can get involved with the campaign by joining the online rally here, and can show their support by using the campaign hashtag, #ForeverAgainstAnimalTesting, on social media to raise awareness of the issue.