Because brands aren’t required to label products that have been tested on animals, it can be difficult to know whether a product is cruelty-free or not. Instead, companies must go to the trouble and expense of getting certified to prove they’re doing the right thing. “PH Simply by Paris Honoré is a cruelty-free brand by a cruelty-free company,” says the brand's cofounder Cyndi M. Frick. “While we believed in cruelty-free beauty and what it stood for, we had not sought official certification until attending the Indie Beauty Expo in January of 2017, where a representative for Leaping Bunny approached us at our booth. As a relatively new brand at the time, we became aware how important it would be to our growing brand to be certified as cruelty-free.”
Some brands, particularly those manufactured in Europe, often view certification as unnecessary. “Many brands have gone down the road of adding logos to highlight their cruelty-free stance, however, as we are manufacturing in Europe and compliant with the EU Cosmetics Directive, we are cruelty-free,” says Emma Roberts, head of sales and business development of Voya. “We do feel that customers are becoming more educated in this area, so they are aware of the industry requirements in Europe.” Here are the key certifying organizations, all of which feature a unique bunny logo to designate a brand is cruelty-free.
LEAPING BUNNY is the only internationally recognized certification organization for cruelty-free brands. It requires independent audits to verify the cruelty-free claims are true. It is considered the gold standard in cruelty-free certification for personal care and household product companies and indicates no animal testing at any stage of development.
BEAUTY WITHOUT BUNNIES is PETA’s cruelty-free certification program. Companies are required to either sign PETA’s statement of assurance or provide a statement verifying that they do not conduct or commission animal tests on ingredients, formulations, or finished products and that they pledge not to do so in the future.
CHOOSE CRUELTY FREE (CCF) is an independent, non-profit organization based in Australia that is against animal testing. Companies seeking accreditation must sign a legally binding contract. To be accredited, none of the company’s products and ingredients, including those provided by its suppliers, may have been tested on animals. CCF also has a strict policy on animal-derived ingredients.
Even if companies are certified by Leaping Bunny, PETA, or CCF, that doesn’t mean you’ll see the cruelty-free bunny logos displayed on their packaging. Unfortunately, there is a licensing fee to use the logos, which not all companies can afford. However, these organizations fulfill an important function. Says Jane Iredale, “Certifications matter, because anyone can claim to be cruelty-free, but without proof, it’s a meaningless statement.”