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.

Reference:

Unilever website (21 January 2019)

According to the PETA website viewed by Ethical Consumer in June 2016, Unilever was listed in a pdf called 'Companies that test on animals' produced by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and updated 14 June 2016. The companies were on the list because they had not eliminated tests on animals for their entire line of cosmetics and household products.

Reference:

Companies that do test (17 April 2015)

In March 2020 Ethical Consumer viewed the Unilever website. The company sold a number of products containing dairy products that were not labelled as free range or organic, including ice cream.

Unilever's position statement on Animal Welfare was viewed. The company stated:

“Farm animal welfare is part of our Sustainable Agriculture Code (SAC). We have set out clear standards of care that we expect our suppliers to achieve...

We believe good farm animal welfare schemes include issues such as housing and stocking density, hygiene, feeding and feed, water supply, health management and the responsible use of antibiotics, the avoidance of mutilations, transport, traceability and slaughtering methods."

Unilever's Sustainable Agriculture code dated 2017 was downloaded which included general recommendations and requirements for farmers. It did not preclude the use of zero-grazing practices used in dairy farming.

The company therefore lost a mark under both the Factory Farming and Animal Rights categories.

Reference:

Unilever website (21 January 2019)

In March 2020 Ethical Consumer viewed Ben & Jerry's UK website. It displayed products containing dairy products for sale that were not labelled as free range or organic.

It consequently lost marks under the Factory Farming and Animal Rights categories.

Reference:

www.benjerry.co.uk (August 2020)

When viewed on the Unilever website by Ethical Consumer in March 2020, Unilever's Sustainable Living Plan stated "In 2018 we announced our commitment to convert all our egg supplies to cage-free by 2025." It stated that 61% of eggs were cage-free by the end of 2017.

No more up to date information was available on whether the company had met its target.

As the company therefore continued to sell caged eggs before this date, it lost full marks under Animal Rights and Factory Farming.

Reference:

Unilever website (21 January 2019)