By  on March 1, 2013

TOKYO — Shiseido has eliminated most of its animal testing practices ahead of the European Union ban on the import and sale of animal-tested cosmetics products and ingredients in the EU that goes into effect on March 11.

The company said it will no longer engage in animal testing, except in exceptionally rare cases in which the safety of an ingredient has been called into question, a Shiseido spokesman said Friday.

More significantly, Shiseido will continue to use animal testing for products destined for China, where it is legally mandated, the spokesman said. The China exception is hardly a surprising development as the Chinese market is a significant one for the Japanese company, although Shiseido’s performance in the country has faltered of late over political tensions stemming from a territorial dispute between Japan and China.

In January, Shiseido issued a disappointing set of nine-month figures and it blamed China for part of its performance. The company also warned that it was continuing to see weak international sales in the fourth quarter and cut its full-year forecasts.

Net profit for the nine months ended Dec. 31 dropped 21 percent to 4.56 billion yen, or about $57.1 million at average exchange rates for the period. Sales for the period slipped 1.2 percent to total 484.79 billion yen, or $6.06 billion.

International cosmetics brands that want to import their products into China have to undergo stringent registration and licensing procedures. Any ingredient that has not previously been made available on the Chinese market is required to undergo a number of tests before it is licensed, including some conducted on animals.

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