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Is Weleda Cruelty-Free? (UPDATED) Animal Testing Policy

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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.


 

14 Responses
  • sick
    March 19, 2018

    Well they might not test the products on animals but they use wool to produce them in first place. At least some of the creams are. How could this be vegan? How can you say its cruelty-free when it still requires livestock farming? Just because the outcome isnt tested against animals?.. Sorry but this makes me tilt, its just stupid

  • Viv
    September 5, 2017

    I hastily bought a Weleda product (in a small box so I couldn’t see the print clearly), thinking that their products were both vegan and cruelty free. Later, when I looked more closely, I saw that it had beeswax. I looked at their website, and they don’t mention animal testing or welfare at all. I certainly won’t buy their products again, and will make sure I see one of the cruelty-free logos before I choose an item again. Thanks for the informative article btw.

  • mevis
    June 18, 2017

    Hi, they are selling more than just soaps and dental care products. Can someone explain?

    Go to http://www.weleda.com/ and choose China, you will be directed to https://weleda.tmall.hk/
    and you will see they are selling face cream too. ( https://detail.tmall.hk/hk/item.htm?spm=a1z10.1-b-s.w5003-14449424119.41.EPjICz&id=43866312532&scene=taobao_shop&skuId=96186780046)

  • Helen Warner
    May 16, 2017

    China stopped the requirement of animal testing on toothpaste & soap in June 2014, this is fact and can be found on several ethical websites and cosmetic sites that do not test on animals. I don’t think any company should be held accountable for Chinese authorities pulling products off the shelf to test on animals. If this is going to be a Chinese policy then fair enough but if this argument is to be used then any random (sick) individual could do this themselves in any country. I feel it is important to at least try to support the companies that are trying to bring around change in China. L’Occitane ship to China, their products are not tested by them but by independent Chinese laboratories. This effectively allows them to wash their hands of the problem but when you consider they were instrumental in bringing about the change in testing for toothpaste/soap then I think a little understanding goes a long way. China is going to be a tough nut to crack and it’s not going to happen over night. However I do believe that western companies changing things within China is the only way things will improve. Having said that I will only buy leaping bunny products but I do think these companies should be applauded for there determination to change the situation and not berated for being there in the first place. You already show your disapproval by not buying their products.

  • Kayleigh Diggle
    May 5, 2017

    Brilliant response from the lady working for Weleda.. This article is crazy, to do so much research and not come across the fact Weleda are certified
    y NATRUE. Doh!

  • Frédéric Anklin
    April 27, 2017

    Hi Vicky,

    I work at Weleda in Switzerland and I just came across your article. I’m really sorry if our comments on this topic have come across as being vague. That hasn’t been our intention at all. I can assure you that we do our utmost to make sure that the products that we sell in China do not risk being tested on animals.

    Please allow me to clarify:

    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.

    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 hope that I’ve been able to answer your questions – if you have any more, please let me know. This is a topic we take very seriously.

    • Hana
      August 17, 2017

      Thanks for this information. However, I can’t seem to find information on NATRUE.ORG regarding their policies on animal testing. I have contacted them for further information. As a consumer I am disinclined, no matter how sincere a company’s statement may be, to simply trust what is stated without a reputable third party verification. Weleda seems to have outstanding products. Sadly, as a non EU consumer, I am not confident in continuing the use of Weleda products based on the information you’ve provided. Would you happen to have links to NATRUE’s requirements regarding animal testing?

  • Paul
    January 11, 2017

    Can anyone confirm this yet?
    Although I’m not a vegan myself, my partner is, and I do my upmost to buy products that are truly cruelty-free.
    Weleda’s vague statements don’t clarify anything and will potentially fool customers. That, to me, is not what a respectable company should do.
    Until I know otherwise I won’t be buying their products.

  • Susie Fairgrieve
    December 9, 2016

    If you research it fully you will find out that in China toothpastes and soaps are not categorised as ‘cosmetics’ so they are exempt from the animal testing requirements.

    • Vicky Ly
      December 9, 2016

      What concerns me is the issue of post-market surveillance testing and how the Chinese authorities can just take any product off the shelf and test it on animals without telling or asking the company. And I can imagine this is quite difficult to monitor when selling your products in a foreign country.

      I think it would give us all a peace of mind if there was a third party, like Leaping Bunny, verifying and looking into Weleda’s animal testing claims. I heard they were looking into becoming certified CF soon…so until then, I’m personally just a bit wary of simply taking their word for now!

      I really do hope they get certified cruelty-free sooner rather than later! =)

  • Raquel
    November 12, 2016

    They sound like they’re just trying to give “the right answer.” Was going to buy their deodorant because the ingredients look clean, but I’m gonna pass on them. No animal’s life is worth my armpit comfort.

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