Until recently, French mid-market skincare and make-up company NARS Cosmetics was celebrated as being one of the few big name brands that refused to test their products on animals.
NARS, under their parent company Shiseido, has announced that the brand will now be selling in China, which, unfortunately, requires by law all cosmetics to be tested on animals to be certified for sale:
"We are launching in China later this year and local regulations mandate animal testing on imported cosmetics. We have updated our website FAQ to reflect this global expansion."
The FAQ now reads:
DOES NARS TEST ON ANIMALS?
NARS does not test on animals nor do we ask others to test on our behalf, *except where required by law. NARS is actively working with industry and other partners to eliminate animal testing globally and is committed to the development and acceptance of alternative methods.
This new headline opens up the difficult issue of selling products in the world's second largest consumer market:
'Mainland China requires that most of the cosmetics sold there be tested on animals. For foreign brands, this means agreeing to mandatory pre-market animal testing. For all brands, the authorities can request that products be taken off the shelves and tested on animals (for what we call post-market animal testing). If a company decides to sell in China, not only do they have to agree to cruel tests on animals, but they also have to finance those tests. This means that the brand itself is paying for animal testing, so they’re forfeiting their cruelty-free status. No one is forcing these companies to test on animals in China! Every company has a choice, and many brands choose not to sell in mainland China in order to remain cruelty-free' (writes Cruelty Free Kitty, a blog dedicated to cruelty free beauty products).
Brands must choose wisely between ethics and profits, for risk of alienating existing loyal fans, like much of the cruelty-free beauty community.The response to NARS' announcement online has been highly passionate, This begs the question, how will NARS respond to the social media backlash? Will they back out of a huge deal with Chinese markets? Will they sell out on their values? Or will they try to influence policymakers from the inside?