Ecover and Method Boycott

SC Johnson takeover leads to boycott of Ecover and Method brands

Consumer goods giant SC Johnson took over ethical brands Ecover and Method in December 2017. 

Both brands have been under a boycott call from campaign group Naturewatch Foundation, over SC Johnson's links to animal testing.

In April 2018 Naturewatch launched a campaign asking supporters and the general public to contact Ecover and Method, expressing their disappointment at the takeover and pledging to no longer buy their products until SC Johnson is cruelty-free.

At the time of the take over Caroline Ruane, Naturewatch Foundation CEO, said:

It's hugely disappointing to compassionate shoppers when favourite brands compromise their cruelty free credentials by selling out to multinationals that continue to benefit from animal testing. We sincerely hope that Ecover and Method will stand up for animals by using their new position of influence to convince SC Johnson that the way ahead is cruelty free.

Naturewatch continues to ask compassionate consumers to boycott all SC Johnson brands, including Ecover and Method, until the entire company is cruelty-free.

Three years after the takeover SC Johnson has made some progress. The Naturewatch Foundation said:

We wrote to SC Johnson and the company has since made significant changes to its website, including being transparent about whether animal testing takes place in a product’s development. They state that they won’t claim a product is cruelty-free if testing has happened further down the supply chain. Unless SC Johnson stops testing on animals completely, and deal with the issue of selling in countries where animal testing is mandatory, the Naturewatch Foundation boycott of Ecover and Method will continue.

SC Johnson owns other non Naturewatch-endorsed household cleaning brands such as Duck, Shout, Glade, Pledge and Windex.

Ecover and Method are themselves cruelty-free and remain Leaping Bunny certified but are no longer endorsed by Naturewatch because of the parent company.

Ethiscore falls

The takeover also led to Ecover and Method both losing marks in our ethical rankings

  • Ecover dropped from an Ethiscore of 11.5 points to current 3.5.
  • Method dropped from an Ethiscore of 12 points to current 3.5.

SC Johnson (and therefore Method and Ecover) lose marks for scoring a worst rating in many of the Ethical Consumer categories. This includes:

  • Worst rating for animal testing
  • Worst rating for environmental reporting
  • Worst Ethical Consumer rating for likely use of tax avoidance strategies
  • Worst Ethical Consumer rating for pollution and toxics
  • Worst rating for palm oil sourcing

It also has operations in five oppressive regimes, didn’t disclose director pay, and was involved in lobbying.

Take action

Naturewatch is asking stockists to stop selling Ecover and Method.

It is also asking consumers to:

  • Visit your local independent health shop or ethical store and request that they replace Ecover and Method with cruelty-free alternatives.
  • Email stockists of Ecover and Method, requesting that they remove both brands from their range until SC Johnson adopts a satisfactory animal testing policy.
  • Contact Ecover and Method directly, calling on them to increase transparency about their parent company and the relationship between them.
  • Visit www.naturewatch.org to find out how you can help continue the fight against animal cruelty.

Previous takeovers

Twelve years ago, L’Oréal infamously acquired The Body Shop. The cruelty-free subsidiary and the cruel parent company proclaimed they shared hope for a cruelty-free world.

But L’Oréal products continued to be routinely tested on animals, and The Body Shop’s reputation - and profits - plummeted. The Body Shop has since been sold and has been returned to independent ownership.

Will the same story play out for Ecover and Method? Or will they be the ones who can convince a parent company to change its ways and end animal testing?

Naturewatch Foundation continues to call on Ecover and Method to use their position of influence with SC Johnson to convince them to stop all commissioning or conducting of animal tests across their entire range of products.

Until then, Naturewatch is asking compassionate consumers to continue to boycott all SC Johnson brands, including Ecover and Method, until the entire company is cruelty-free.

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