Ok let’s get one thing cleared up.
A Vegan label does not mean a product is automatically Cruelty-Free and a Cruelty-Free label does not mean it’s Vegan.
Therefore, it’s good to understand what common logos on products actually mean for us as consumers and what assurances each one provides. I’ve included some other logos that you might come across too, such as certified organic logos.
? TOP CHOICE FOR VEGAN ? The Vegan Society Trademark – Vegan and Cruelty-Free
- This is also an internationally recognised trademark.
- The Vegan Society check each individual products against their criteria and work with manufacturers and even auditors in certain cases to ensure that the item really is free from animals and their by-products.
- The re-assuring thing about this trademark is that it has to be renewed every year.
- Food that has this trademark has been prepared separately from non-vegan food.
- You can search for approved products and companies here. They’ve accredited skincare products, food and even an electricity company!
? TOP CHOICE FOR CRUELTY FREE ? Leaping Bunny – Cruelty-Free not automatically Vegan
- The leaping bunny is an international logo created by Cruelty-Free International.
- It guarantees consumers that no animal tests were used when making the product.
- It’s a thorough set of standards that allows no wiggle room or loop holes for companies that may use animal testing indirectly in their products.
- Cruelty Free Intl send someone to investigate to ensure the what a company is claiming, is true and ensures companies implement a supplier monitoring system.
- It does NOT mean that the product is vegan, as animal by-products can still be used.
- It’s my top choice as it does not allow animal testing to be performed for regulatory agencies in foreign countries. If a company sells it’s skincare products in China, it will have permitted it’s products to be tested on animals, and therefore would not be able to achieve the Leaping Bunny logo.
- You can search through their list of approved companies here.
? TOP CHOICE FOR ORGANIC ? Soil Association Certification – Organic and Natural – Neither Vegan or Cruelty Free
- The Soil Association are the UK’s leading organic certifier, who claim to make up approximately 70% of certified products.
- They developed the Cosmos Standard for Cosmetics (COSMOS) with other organisation across the world.
- COSMOS products can include animal-derived products, so is not always vegan.
- The accreditations ensure no GMOs and that agro-ingredients comply with strict toxicity and biodegradability levels.
- Packaging must be minimalist and environmentally friendly.
- There are two standards
- Cosmos Organic – products containing the required level of organic ingredients
- Cosmos Natural – where the product does not have required level of organic ingredients, but does comply with all other COSMOS standards
- Full standards can be viewed here.
PETA Approved Vegan Logo – Vegan, Cruelty Free N/A
- Primarily used for vegan fashion and interiors, they approve either individual products, or companies, where there is no animal-derived fabric.
- Having reviewed the application form to attain this logo, it appears to be largely based on honesty from the company applying…I was pretty surprised by this as no external checks appear to be carried out.
- You can search their list of accredited companies here.
PETA Approved Beauty Without Bunnies – Cruelty Free and sometimes Vegan
- Used for beauty products and guarantees that the product was not tested on animals.
- There are two versions of this logo, one for vegan products and one for non-vegan products.
- These accreditations reliant on the honesty of companies, as PETA do not conduct their own checks. This is far from ideal and lacks legitimacy.
- Check out their approved companies here. Or go straight to their vegan cruelty-free list here.
Choose Cruelty Free Logo – Cruelty Free not automatically Vegan
- Choose Cruelty Free is based in Australia, however some products are imported to the UK and therefore you may still see this on products on the high street.
- This bunny logo ensures none of the ingredients, or the product itself has been tested on animals.
- It only accredits companies where parent companies are also accredited, ensuring you aren’t supporting companies who allow products to be tested on animals so they can sell in China. This is a step further than Cruelty Free International, but it doesn’t take my top spot as the logo is not as common in the UK.
- Does NOT mean that the product is vegan.
- Search the list of Choose Cruelty Free companies here, but beware most are Australian.
There are many more accreditations and logos out there, these are just the most common ones. Each will have their own policies and procedures. If you are in doubt when you are out and about, whip out your phone and look at their website of the organisation providing the accreditation. That way you can see what exactly they are verifying. As you can see, some accreditations are stricter and more vigorous than others.
Some products will say ‘not tested on animals’, or ‘cruelty-free’ but may have no external accreditation to back this up. This doesn’t mean that anything that’s not accredited should be dismissed though. You can take a number of things into account. Is it a big company that could afford accreditation? Then there’s probably something that it’s not adhering to. Is it a small independent business that’s new? Maybe they can’t afford an accreditation, or are just starting out and plan to get this sorted in the future. There are no hard and fast rules! Just use your knowledge, common sense and google if needs be!
Looking for another quick guide? Visit the quick guide for Sulphates and Other Controversial Ingredients here.