In March 2020 Ethical Consumer viewed Unilever's website for the company's animal testing policy. The company manufactured foods, cosmetics and household cleaning products. It therefore operated in a sector where animal testing was commonplace.
A statement was found on its website which said:
"We do not test our products on animals and are committed to ending animal testing. Unilever has complied with the EU animal testing bans for cosmetics since 2004 and supports calls for similar bans to be introduced globally.
"Occasionally, across our portfolio, some of the ingredients we use have to be tested by our suppliers to comply with legal and regulatory requirements in some markets; and some governments test certain products on animals as part of their regulations.
"As part of our commitment to ending animal testing, we have a growing number of brands that ensure that neither their products – nor the ingredients they use – are subject to animal testing by suppliers or by regulatory authorities. These brands’ commitment to no animal testing is certified by animal welfare groups.
"We use a wide range of non-animal approaches to assess the safety of our products for consumers and continue to develop new ‘next generation’ approaches. Our team of internationally recognised leaders in non-animal safety science work with regulatory authorities, NGOs, our suppliers and other scientists across the world to share these approaches, to promote their broader use and acceptance by authorities. Our leading-edge research has one clear purpose: to continue to develop new non-animal approaches that can guarantee that our products are safe, without any need for animal testing."
While Unilever appeared to be working to end the use of animal testing in cosmetics, food, and household cleaning products, the fact it operated in countries that still required animal testing and had no fixed cut off date for ingredients tested on animals meant that it received Ethical Consumer's worst rating for animal testing and lost a whole mark under this category.
Unilever website (21 January 2019)