Cosmetics industry responds to campaign to end commercial use of shark squalene

Shark liver dissection

Sharks are endangered and continue to be threatened especially by the cosmetic industry, according to the Rob Stewart Sharkwater Foundation (RSSF).

The RSSF works with leading shark and ocean conservation groups globally to change laws and public opinions to save the world’s sharks and oceans. Shark Free is the initiative behind the survey to remove shark ingredients from consumer and industrial products.

“Nearly 200 companies, organizations, and individuals, including 100 cosmetic and personal care brands have already signed on to the Shark Free campaign, pledging their support to protect sharks through the responsible sourcing of plant-based alternatives to shark squalene,” RSSF Executive Director Lana Brandt said.

Squalene, which is derived from shark liver oil, is occassionally used in cosmetic applications. Its popularity is from its ability to spread and absorb in the products.

“Shark squalene has crept into products for decades; Our study confirms that consumers are opposed to this and will seek out brands in line with their ethics. Many industry giants including Unilever, Shiseido, and L’Oréal have already removed shark squalene from their products and we are working with others to determine the source of their supply as well as commit to non-shark-based alternatives,” RSSF Board Director Sandra Stewart said.

RSSF recently commissioned a study conducted by the Research Co. that found more than 80 percent of cosmetic consumers are likely to switch to shark-free brands. The study found 75 percent of Americans and 73 percent of Canadians are against having shark products in their cosmetics and personal care products.

Personal Care Products Council (PCPC) advocates for 600 member companies that represent up to 90 percent of the U.S. beauty industry to ensure product safety and quality.

“Protecting the planet is a responsibility, not a choice," PCPC President and CEO Lezlee Westine said. "Our member companies are committed to improving the well-being of people and the planet. We are actively engaged in managing the environmental impacts on biodiversity, the environment, and climate change.”

Cosmetic Alliance Canada President and CEO Darren Praznik said the industry was taking special precautions to avoid trading in products derived from endangered species.

“It should be standard policy and practice not to engage in the trade of endangered species," Praznik said.

Photo courtesy of Lookwha Piraya/Shutterstock


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