London-based men’s brand Bulldog Skincare has just become the first international company to maintain its cruelty-free commitments while on sale in mainland China. After striking up a “unique agreement”, Bulldog Skincare will be able to sell its products within Shanghai without needing to abide to existing regulations in the country where pre-market animal testing on imported cosmetics is required. This marks a major step forward in China, home to the region’s most dominant market for beauty and cosmetics.
In a recent announcement, Bulldog Skincare will be the first international skincare brand to maintain its Leaping Bunny approved status while its products are on sale in Shanghai, China. This was made possible after a collaboration between animal rights activist group Cruelty Free International, Shanghai Fengpu Industrial Park, compliance company Knudsen & CRC and shopping centre Oriental Beauty Valley. It resulted in a special agreement to allow Bulldog to manufacture in the United Kingdom, fill the products in Fengxian and sell its products in stores within Shanghai. This means that throughout the entire supply chain and production line, Bulldog’s products will not face animal testing.
Speaking on this breakthrough, founder of Bulldog Skincare Simon Duffy said: “Even with the temptation of the huge Chinese market, we decided that we would never compromise our stance on animal testing. It is fantastic that this scheme has allowed us to enter mainland China while maintaining out cruelty-free status.”
This unique settlement marks a significant step forward for the global cosmetics market, given that Chinese consumers play a huge role in the industry. According to Statista, the retail trade revenue of the beauty and cosmetics sector was nearly 22 billion yuan in 2017 – and these figures are set to keep rising alongside the wealth of Chinese shoppers. The stakes of missing out on the potential sales in China means that many brands are unlikely to protest against the country’s current animal testing policies.
Currently, all imported products that are physically sold in retail shops in mainland China must go through animal testing according to Chinese law. This has meant that major global brands have given up their Cruelty Free status in order to sell to the Chinese brand. These include cosmetics giants such as NARS and L’Oreal, who are willing to abide to the country’s animal testing policies.
There are a few brands that circumvent this by selling their products online via cross border e-commerce such as Charlotte Tilbury Beauty. However, we have seen some loosening of the rules with China announcing the end to post-market animal testing in March this year.
“We know that there is great demand from consumers in China for cruelty-free cosmetics. This is an amazing opportunity not only for Bulldog, but for consumers in China and for the future of the whole beauty industry,” said Michelle Thew, the CEO of Cruelty Free International.
Founded in 2006, Bulldog Skincare has had a long track-record for ethical and responsible practices. Not only are their products suitable to vegans and vegetarians and certified cruelty-free by Cruelty Free International, the company has also made eco-friendly strides. In 2007, the brand declared in a statement that none of their offerings have ever contained microbeads or microplastics, which are detrimental to marine ecosystems and human health once contaminated in our waterways and oceans.
They have additionally announced that their best-selling product, Original Moisturiser, is certified CarbonNeutral in the UK, meaning that all emissions generated during the production and distribution process has been offset. Most recently, Bulldog debuted a sugarcane plastic packaging, which eliminates the use of carbon heavy fossil fuels involved in conventional plastic manufacturing.
With their major leap in China underway, Bulldog hopes that the “success of this scheme will pave the way for more international cruelty-free brands to sell there.”
Lead image courtesy of Bulldog Skincare.