Trying to figure out whether a brand is cruelty-free is not always easy and Weleda’s animal testing policy was a hard one to crack!
Update: I have received an updated comment from Weleda and they have assured me that all of their products are cruelty-free. Weleda does sell some products in Mainland China however those products are not required by Chinese laws to be tested on animals.
It should also be noted that Weleda is now cruelty-free approved by Logical Harmony and I’m glad to know that Weleda’s cruelty-free claims have been verified by someone other than the people trying to sell us their products. (Thank you to the team at Logical Harmony for your dedication and diligence!)
Weleda’s Animal Testing Policy
Weleda’s animal testing policy was hard to crack because when I originally published this blog post on Oct 31, 2016, they had different statements depending on their website’s domain, and that is still the case.
On their US website, they do not mention anything about selling in China which led me to emailing them where they responded with a statement dated back to 2015, which confirmed the rumors were true and that some of Weleda products are sold in mainland China through an online shop and in regular shops.
Here is a snippet of their statement which was dated on May 22nd, 2015:
“In Mainland China, cosmetics sold online through shops located within free trade zones in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Ningbo and Tianjin do not require registration involving animal tests, and the same applies to cosmetics delivered from Hong Kong. For this reason, Weleda is able to sell an assortment of its natural and organic cosmetics through a Chinese partner and a local online shop without compromising its position in regard to animal testing. Our local partner also runs the website www.weleda.com.cn.
In addition, there are still cosmetics for which registration involving animal tests is not required for sale in regular shops outside these zones, such as soaps and dental care products. Weleda sells a small assortment of these products through its local partner.”
As of today, some of Weleda products are still available for sale in mainland China and those products include:
- Calendula Toothpaste
- Children’s Toothgel
- Plant Toothgel
- Ratanhia Toothpaste
- Ratanhia Mouthwash
- Salt Toothpaste
- Calendula Soap
- Iris Soap
- Rose Soap
- Rosemary Soap
Welda’s Updated Animal Testing Statement (2017)
Now, in 2017…I found Weleda’s animal testing statement on their UK website which was a lot more thorough than their US statement.
Weleda IS cruelty-free!
Since the original publication of this post, my questions and concerns about whether Weleda should be considered cruelty-free or not has been addressed and kindly answered by a member of their team. I appreciate their transparency on this matter and I’m pleased to confirm that Weleda is indeed cruelty-free.
Concern #1: “Some of the products that Weleda sells in-stores in Mainland China can theoretically be subjected to post-market animal testing without the company’s knowledge.”
China’s animal testing laws can some times be hard to fully understand but Weleda has assured me that they are closely monitoring the handful of Weleda’s toothpastes and soaps that are sold in-stores in Mainland China and making sure they will not be subjected to post-market animal testing or any such testing for that matter. Below is their comment:
“First of all, there is no reason to believe that our soaps and dental care products would be subject to after-market testing in shops, since they are in no way classified as products (such as cosmetics) for which animal testing is seen as necessary by the Chinese authorities. We know that these products are not subject to testing based on our local contacts, and this has also been confirmed to us by a representative of Humane Society International working in China, as well as the Institute for In Vitro Sciences, which collaborates with PETA. We follow regulatory developments in China closely, and we react immediately to any developments. If the current situation should change, any affected products would immediately be withdrawn from the Mainland Chinese market.
Our presence in China has always been small, but we do think that it is worth being there if it means that we can spread awareness of the benefits of natural cosmetics, and meet the needs of Chinese consumers for this type of product. We would not be selling any product in China if we had reason to believe that animals would be hurt because of this.”
Concern #2: “Here is what worries me about Weleda. Weleda is not certified cruelty-free by a third party (like Leaping Bunny or PETA), so there is no one else looking into or substantiating their anti-animal testing claims.”
I live in Canada so the cruelty-free certifications I follow are Leaping Bunny and PETA, however Weleda reminded me that since they are a European company (with headquarters in Switzerland), they opted to become certified by NATRUE which also reviews company’s animal testing claims before approval.
“As for third-party certification, please allow me to point out that we are a European company. Our headquarters are based in Arlesheim, Switzerland, and all of our cosmetics are produced in Europe. Animal testing on cosmetics and their ingredients has been banned in the EU since 2013. Our company’s history goes back to 1921, and we have always had a policy of no animal testing on our cosmetics. Weleda is in fact a pioneer of the natural approach to cosmetics.
For all of these reasons, it is true that we have been slow to consider adopting the kind of certification that would be well known outside of Europe, such as Leaping Bunny, which we do regret. However, we are currently certified by NATRUE, one of the strictest labels for natural and organic cosmetics. Admittedly, it is perhaps still not very well known outside of Europe. NATRUE does not permit animal testing on its cosmetics, and also has a policy against animal testing in China.”
I’m so glad to hear that Weleda is taking all the necessary precautions to making sure none of their products or ingredients are tested on animals while at the same time, providing quality natural and organic products to the global market.