Report by The Vegan Society,

The use of animals in the cosmetics industry has been high on the public’s ethical agenda for decades, most notably for animal testing.

There are many large-scale public awareness campaigns that have been running for years, and these have helped to change global legislation, reformulate products, develop different processes and save animals’ lives.

But it is not just the animals used for testing that consumers should be concerned about, as products derived from animals find their way into cosmetic and toiletry supply chains. In a way, these animals are even more invisible to the public, as unfamiliar terms can be misleading, and labelling can be confusing as we will demonstrate later.

There is no legally binding definition of what makes a “vegan” or “cruelty-free” product when it comes to product labelling.

Vegan: Products labelled as vegan are open to being mislabelled by companies – either because they misunderstand the definition or because they want to gain access to a vegan audience without doing the groundwork. In fact, it’s why we introduced the Vegan Trademark – the world’s first vegan product labelling scheme of its kind. The Vegan Trademark gives you the peace of mind that we have ensured those products are free of animal use – that’s including ingredients, processes, and testing.

Cruelty-free: In the beauty industry, the term cruelty-free refers to products which have not been tested on animals, or products that are not sold in territories where post-market animal testing is required by law. Cruelty-free does not, however, cover whether the ingredients in a product are derived from animals.

There are often misconceptions around what these two phrases mean among manufacturers, brands, and consumers alike.

To download the full report of the vegan society, click below.