Oct 12, Colombo: On 4 October, World Animal Day, UK's iconic global retailer of cosmetics and toiletries, the Body Shop and Cruelty Free International brought 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 mobilize 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."
"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 mobilize 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.
The Body Shop India made definitive progress towards FAAT, advancing the United Nation's vision of a world where humanity lives in harmony with nature. The brand has received tremendous response from across the world with maximum signatures from UK, followed by Canada and third from India. In fact India produced maximum support in Asia by garnering maximum number of signatures in Asia towards supporting the cause.
Sri Lankan actress, philanthropist and Brand Ambassador, The Body Shop India, Jacqueline Fernandez, was also present along with the global team and spoke at United Nations, where the signature campaign was submitted. She said, "It's been a most fulfilling journey being associated with The Body Shop as the Brand Ambassador for India for the last five years and champion Cruelty free, 100% vegetarian beauty. I personally believe that real beauty cannot be achieved at the cost of harming anyone, especially animals. The concept of animal testing for cosmetics and its ingredients is outdated, cruel and unnecessary and should be banned forever. A socially responsible world cannot continue testing measures that prove hazardous to anyone's health. Today, as we stand vindicated, proud that the campaign has touched a chord with so many across the world, inspired & ignited men & women, customers and fans, young & old, believers and cynics; it is time to take this to its logical conclusion. It's time to ban Animal Testing Forever and everywhere."
Consumers can get involved with the campaign by joining the online rally at-
https://www.thebodyshop.com/against-animal-testing, and can show their support by using the campaign hashtag, #ForeverAgainstAnimalTesting, on social media to raise awareness of the issue.