In May 2021 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 under 'Our position on', which said:

"We do not test our products on animals and are committed to ending animal testing."

"As part of our commitment to end animal testing globally, a growing number of our brands ensure that their products and ingredients are not subject to animal testing by Unilever, by our suppliers,or by regulatory authorities. These brands’ commitment to no animal testing is certified by global animal protection groups."

"Occasionally, across Unilever’s broader portfolio of brands, ingredients that we use still have to be tested by suppliers to comply with legal and regulatory requirements in some markets; and some government authorities test certain products on animals as part of their regulations."

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 its animal testing policy and lost a whole mark under the Animal Testing category.

Reference:

https://www.unilever.com (23 April 2021)

In May 2021 Ethical Consumer viewed the page 'Farm animal welfare' on the Unilever website.

It stated "We were one of the first global companies to work with egg suppliers to start providing cage-free eggs for our products.
In Europe, all our brands including Hellmann’s, Amora and Calvé have used 100% cage-free eggs since 2009. We then worked on a similar transition in North America, achieving 100% cage-free by the end of 2020.
We also committed to extending this throughout the rest of the world by the end of 2025."

As the company was planning to continue to use eggs from caged hens until 2025, it lost full marks under Animal Rights and Factory Farming.

Reference:

https://www.unilever.com (23 April 2021)

In May 2021 Ethical Consumer viewed Ben & Jerry's UK website. Several products were viewed and all listed 'Values Led Sourcing' features including 'Caring Dairy with Free Grazing'. Using its Search function a page on Dairy was found which stated that "For over 16 years we have worked with European family farms that let their cows graze outside, where- as cows are grazing animals, they can engage in their most natural behavior." An FAQ stated, "Our European cows are outside for at least 120 days a year and 6 hours per day. We say at least, because in practice, Caring Dairy cows are outside for 180 days on average."
It also stated, "we are proud of the relationship with the 400 family farms that are part of our European Caring Dairy program."
A page about its 2019 SEAR report stated that it had 59 continuously-participating farms in its Dairy Program.
It appeared that much of its milk was therefore not sourced from farms in its program, and may not have the same free grazing standards.
It consequently lost marks under the Factory Farming and Animal Rights categories.

Reference:

Caring Dairy pages (24 May 2021)

In October 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.

Ethical Consumer downloaded a document titled 'Animal Welfare Progress Report 2020', but the file appeared to be corrupted and could not be opened.

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.com (8 October 2020)