Sali Hughes

The big skin brands get eth­i­cal

The Guardian - Weekend - - News -

More than ever, brands are be­ing asked to state – and act on – their eth­i­cal values and be­ing called out on their flaws. It’s a pos­i­tive move to­wards more re­spon­si­ble, sus­tain­able con­sumer choices but, at the same time,

I don’t feel that some­thing must be ei­ther per­fect or worth­less. A prod­uct can be high­qual­ity, cru­elty-free, bee-friendly, aes­thet­i­cally pleas­ing and made by a so­cial en­ter­prise scheme that di­rectly ben­e­fits its vi­sion-im­paired em­ploy­ees (The Soap Co, for ex­am­ple), and naysay­ers will im­me­di­ately call out its use of plas­tic bot­tles (it is work­ing on al­ter­na­tives) as though ev­ery­thing is now ru­ined. Con­versely, a cash-rich megabrand will es­cape cen­sure be­cause it’s not even try­ing to be bet­ter.

I take the view that ev­ery ges­ture is a move in the right di­rec­tion. I’ve also spent enough time writ­ing about the beauty in­dus­try to know that if con­sumers don’t make eth­i­cal busi­ness prac­tices prof­itable, then com­pa­nies will cease to ini­ti­ate them.

So I ap­plaud a num­ber of ini­tia­tives by huge brands that didn’t have to change their ways be­cause no one ex­pected them to. Sim­ple – Bri­tain’s big­gest (in my opin­ion, best) cleans­ing wipe brand – last week launched a biodegrad­able ver­sion (£4.39). It’s a first step – by the end of 2019, ev­ery Sim­ple wipe will have fol­lowed suit.

And last month, Dove was ac­cred­ited by Peta (Peo­ple for the Eth­i­cal Treat­ment of An­i­mals) as a cru­elty-free brand. So now you can en­joy with im­punity its best prod­ucts – de­odor­ant, grad­ual tan, non-dry­ing hand soaps and the ex­cel­lent Nour­ish­ing Care & Oil Body­wash (£2.65). Dove’s par­ent com­pany, Unilever, this year be­came a found­ing mem­ber of the UK Plas­tics Pact, mean­ing it has com­mit­ted to elim­i­nat­ing prob­lem­atic or un­nec­es­sary sin­gle-use plas­tic and to mak­ing all of its pack­ag­ing re­us­able, re­cy­clable, re­cy­cled or com­postable by 2025. It is also col­lab­o­rat­ing with Hu­mane So­ci­ety In­ter­na­tional to end an­i­mal test­ing (il­le­gal in the EU, manda­tory in China) world­wide.

Fi­nally, Pri­mark joins Marks & Spencer in be­ing fully cru­el­tyfree on all own-brand beauty prod­ucts, in­clud­ing Max­i­mum Mois­ture Hy­dra­tion On-The-Go (£4), a lit­tle tube of hy­dra­tion that goes well over makeup for that mid-af­ter­noon skin drought

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