Garnier now represented one of the largest, most global brands Cruelty Free International had ever approved under its Leaping Bunny programme given its estimated net worth just shy of €4bn with an expanse of products in hair care, skin care and sun care.
The Leaping Bunny certification, designed to independently verify the cruelty-free status of cosmetic, personal care, household and cleaning brands, could only be granted when every finished product under a brand was verified cruelty-free – a process that had taken Garnier several months. The beauty major had secured declarations from 500+ suppliers, collectively responsible for the worldwide sourcing of more than 3,000 different ingredients used in Garnier products.
Obtaining the approval always took time because of this forensic supply chain investigation to confirm no animal testing was taking place, including at raw material and individual ingredient manufacturing level. The Leaping Bunny approval also required brands to agree to a fixed cut-off date whereby every product thereafter was cruelty-free; an ongoing supplier monitoring system to scrutinise materials; and independent auditing to verify continued compliance to the cruelty-free certification – the first within one year and every three years thereafter.
‘Real milestone’ for Garnier, Cruelty Free International, consumers and wider industry
“Garnier has been committed to a world against animal testing since 1989. To be officially approved by Cruelty Free International under the Leaping Bunny programme is a real milestone and was always an important part of our Green Beauty mission,” said Adrien Koskas, global brand president of Garnier.
Michelle Thew, CEO of Cruelty Free International, agreed it was a true milestone for the brand, but also marked an important milestone for the Leaping Bunny programme, the wider beauty industry and consumers worldwide.
“It’s hugely significant for a couple of reasons. Firstly, not only are we excited to welcome Garnier to our cruelty-free family because this means more choice for consumers – this is a brand that has huge range and scope in many countries and being at that scale means we’re making cruelty-free accessible to more consumers – but it’s a milestone moment for us because if a brand of that scale can go the extra mile to be cruelty-free, it demonstrates to regulators and other brands what’s possible,” Thew told CosmeticsDesign-Europe.
The Leaping Bunny approval of Garnier, she said, had proven that a “mainstream, fast-moving” beauty brand could achieve this cruelty-free status which had the potential to inspire others, particularly important given the European Parliament's call for a worldwide ban on animal testing of cosmetics by 2023.
Larger cruelty-free shift extends consumer choice and creates supply demand
Thew said the process of Garnier achieving the global cruelty-free status would have also sent a strong message to global raw material and ingredient suppliers, which was “a really important aspect” for Cruelty Free International.
“If you think about the Garnier process – 500 suppliers, 3,000 ingredients – that starts to create demand for ingredients that are approved under the Leaping Bunny programme through the supply chain. So, not only is this important for the reach of consumers but also because it has an impact on the industry more globally,” she said.
Raw material and ingredient suppliers, she said, were “critical” to creating Cruelty Free International’s vision of a cruelty-free world.
“We know that more and more brands are coming on board with Leaping Bunny approval, so not only would we like to work with suppliers through brands, we would also like to have those conversations directly (…) Our door is open and we can talk about how to make that process as smooth as possible.”
Ethical beauty – ‘the direction of travel is only one-way’
Thew said now was the time for all beauty brands to “step up” and seek Leaping Bunny approval because of the “growth of ethical consumerism”.
“The direction of travel is only one-way. We would love to work with every business to give them the tools they need to demonstrate their cruelty-free status and have that transparency and conversation with consumers,” she said.
Asked if we could expect L’Oréal to secure Leaping Bunny approval on more of its brands, Thew said: “We really hope the learnings L’Oréal has gained from this approval means we will see more brands [within its portfolio] looking to achieve Leaping Bunny status.”
The approval of Garnier had given L’Oréal a “head start” in some ways, she said, should the company wish to secure approval on other brands, notably because of the response and engagement from its supplier network.
“Critically, if it’s demonstrated that this is what consumers want to see, that will encourage other brands to follow,” she said.