Introduction to the Standard
Vegan certification highlights the importance your cosmetic brand places on animal well-being and allows you to share a wider message with your consumers regarding your brand’s ethics and values.
Among other elements, a vegan-certified cosmetic product is defined as containing no animal ingredients or by-products, using no animal ingredients or by-products in the manufacturing process and no testing on animals by any company or independent contractor.
As a reminder, European Cosmetics Regulation EC No 1223/2009 banned animal testing on cosmetic products in 2004 and on cosmetic ingredients in 2009 and 2013 (Article 18). Since the Common Criteria in EU No 655/2013 prohibit any marketing communications that would “convey the idea that a product has a specific benefit when this benefit is mere compliance with minimum legal requirements” (Legal Compliance criterion, §3), claiming that a product is “cruelty-free” is therefore illegal in the EU. As of today, there are not many ways of providing such information to the consumer without raising compliance issues. However, the claim “vegan” is an option since its definition encompasses non-animal testing, among other requirements.
Originating in the food industry, veganism is the practice of abstaining from consuming or using animal products. This trend, which is very popular among the younger generation, seeks to exclude all forms of exploitation of and cruelty to animals. In a vegan-certified cosmetic formula, no animal matter is permitted. As such, a product claimed as “vegan” conveys a lot of information to the consumer, specifically the core values of the cosmetics company and its commitment to protecting animals.
Since animal-based ingredients are quite common in the cosmetics industry, and animal testing is still allowed in many countries, this certification is particularly meaningful for cosmetics brands.
Some examples of animal-derived ingredients in everyday cosmetic products include:
- Carmine (CI 75740), a pigment often found in lipsticks and blushes, which is made from crushed cochineal.
- Ingredients from beehives like honey, propolis and beeswax, which are often present in lip products.
- Milk ingredients such as donkey milk, which is present in some skincare products.
- Lanolin obtained from sheep’s wool with emollient, moisturizing and protective properties, commonly found in creams and balms and not prohibited by organic labels.
- Collagen, glycerin, squalane and keratin from animal proteins, although they also exist in plant-based forms.
Vegan certification criteria
BIORIUS relies on The Vegan Society’s standards for Vegan certification.
According to these standards, a product can be certified as “vegan” if the following four requirements are met:
- No animal ingredients or ingredients derived from animals
- No animal testing of the ingredients or of the finished product
- No genetically-modified organisms involving animal genes or animal-derived substances
- Compliance with kitchen and hygiene standards
Some cosmetic ingredients can be more tricky than others and in-depth reviews are sometimes required. When questions arise, BIORIUS always investigates with due care and transparency.
Certification logo and validity
By fulfilling the ‘Vegan’ certification criteria, you receive:
- a signed certificate
- the right to use the BIORIUS’ ‘Vegan’ logo on the label of your certified cosmetic products and on your website.
This certification remains valid as long as the composition of the cosmetic product does not change. In case the product cannot get certified, the BIORIUS report explains what needs to be changed and you can re-submit the product once the formula is corrected.
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