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Animal testing in China – not with Logocos, Lavera and BDIH

by Redaktion (comments: 0)

Since Logocos announced at the end of November that the firm was withdrawing from the Chinese market with immediate effect, things have been happening very fast.  There was a huge response in the media to the announcement, and Logocos received a lot of positive reaction from retailers and end customers. The question most people were asking was how to reconcile exports of certified natural cosmetics, that by definition do not permit animal testing, with the practice in China of testing all cosmetics products on animals before being given permission to be sold on the open market. Only a week or so after Logocos made its decision known, BDIH and its international subsidiary IONC said the one thing could not be reconciled with the other. Lavera too has announced that it will cease doing business in China. People are now watching and waiting to see how other market participants will behave. (Picture: Rabbit logo - Leaping Bunny is the logo of the German Animal Protection League guaranteeing no animal testing)

Shortly before the news that Logocos was quitting the Chinese market, hopeful signals were apparently emanating from the Chinese authorities. The China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) had published a draft on 5.11.2013 that contained proposals to the effect that at least some Chinese cosmetics produced in China could be tested by alternative methods instead of animal testing. According to the draft, the intention is to introduce a new procedure from June 2014 that will also apply to imported goods and will permit special products like shampoos and perfumes on the basis of data obtained from testing in compliance with the EU Cosmetics Directive. That’s as far as the proposals go. (Picture: BioFach China: Demand for organic products and natural cosmetics has increased hugely in recent years)

“The Chinese authorities have made proposals like these on several occasions and then discarded them,” explains Thomas Mendes, speaking on behalf of Logocos. His boss, Ulrich Grieshaber, who has been in charge of Logocos since June 2013, also has no faith in the promises coming from China. He says that they have carried out thorough research and tried to influence the Chinese authorities. In the process, Grieshaber came to the conclusion that animal testing will not be discontinued for some time to come, and this induced him to take a drastic step: no more business with China. (Picture: Ulrich Grieshaber has taken a logical decision

Put simply, this means that Logocos distributors were asked to delete all registrations and to remove Logocos brands. Mendes describes the procedure: all contracts with Chinese trade partners were terminated as of 1.12.2013. With the loss of business in China, Logocos is expecting legal repercussions and painful loss of turnover in double-digit millions. He says the market has huge potential – many in the industry agree on that point. Other firms are staying. They are convinced  they have a chance to change things only if they stay on the front line and fight. (Picture: Logocos brand sante at the Vivaness. The company will have to bear the financial consequences)
Logocos has been a presence in the Chinese market since 2008 with the Logona brand, and in 2012 it was joined by Heliotrop and Santé  –  with “outstanding prospects”, as spokesman Mendes emphasizes. All the brand rights are in the hands of agencies, and in the past they had accepted in good faith the practice of animal testing. However, detailed investigation had produced a different picture, and this was the reason for the new head of Logocos, Ulrich Grieshaber, reacting forthwith. That he was right to do so is proved by the huge backing he has received from employees, and above all from customers. The company has announced that, in conjunction with the animal rights organization Peta and bearing in mind the impact of the BDIH decision, there will be further action regarding animal testing. We await these moves with a sense of urgent anticipation. (Picture: Part of Logocos’s headquarters)

Only a short time after the Logocos announcement came the reaction of the BDIH, and it explained to manufacturers who use the BDIH control mark on their products that business with China is not in compliance with BDIH guidelines. This statement affects about 7,000 products internationally. As the BDIH says to the manufacturers affected by its explanation, compliance with the BDIH standard is infringed by exporting to China. The association explained further that the ban in the BDIH standard on carrying out or commissioning animal testing by others “applies without any limitation whatsoever worldwide” (we reported earlier). (Picture: BDIH logo)

In the detailed document sent to manufacturers dated 10.12.2013, the BDIH points out, among other things, what consequences non-compliance with the BDIH standard can have. The letter states that “IONC GmbH and the BDIH take the view that the users of the logo were unaware of the above interpretation of the prescriptions in the standard and of the scale and scope of the actual implementation of animal testing in China. In future, except for products proven to be free of animal testing, confirmation of conformity can therefore also be issued for products that were given, or have applied for, permission to be distributed in China if the manufacturer can prove that he took all the necessary measures up to 15.01.2014 to immediately stop the marketing of the relevant goods in China, which includes instructions to partner distributors in as far as they are bound by his orders.” (Picture: Cosmetics at Vivaness)

The IONC GmbH and the BDIH said they were aware that in individual cases this approach could  have a significant economic impact on relevant companies and that control in keeping with the BDIH standard was probably the only one that to date had taken this action. The decision makers at the BDIH seek the understanding of the manufacturers and they express their conviction that “any other approach would not benefit animal protection or meet the justified expectations consumers have of natural cosmetics that are free of animal testing. They go on to say that their decision would, moreover, strengthen the reputation of the BDIH standard and of the manufacturers who use the BDIH mark. They would back up the decision with strenuous public relations work and emphasise the outstanding importance of certification in compliance with the BDIH standard, and also in comparison with other certification systems. (Picture: In future, China’s wholefood stores will have to do without BDIH-controlled natural cosmetics

The day after BDIH’s announcement of their new policy, the company Lavera also stated that it was immediately stopping further consignments to China. In a declaration, the company said it would not export to China “until freedom from animal testing has been established".  Lavera said they were of the opinion that every individual has the right to natural personal care and beauty products - "organic for everybody and natural cosmetics for everybody, but not at any price!".  "As manufacturers of certified natural cosmetics, we’re opposed to animal testing, and we’ve never commissioned anyone to do it for us." The company insists that it is very careful to use only ingredients that are well known and registered. Lavera states that the evidence (the effectiveness of products, compatibility with the skin) for its advertising has, since the creation of the brand, been documented in accordance with the EU Cosmetics Directive in collaboration with trial subjects and institutes that carry out testing. This is why Lavera too is demanding that alternative testing methods and existing proofs must be acknowledged in China. The company’s standpoint: "To achieve this aim, we’ll explore all political measures in Europe and use our contacts with associations in China to promote freedom from animal testing in their country.”  (Picture: Lavera stand at Vivaness)

This leaves us with the question of the former Logocos brand Aquabio that, in 2012, was sold to the Chinese firm Shanghai Danbloom International Trading Co. Ltd. According to Logocos, the products are still manufactured in Salzhemmerndorf, although they are only destined for the German and European market and have still not been sent to China. The contract business is soon to be terminated, because the company can no longer influence sales policy. (Picture: Aquabio has belonged to a Chinese firm since 2012)


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