Every gesture towards better consumer options is a move in the right direction

‘I don’t feel that something must be either ideal or worthless.’
Photograph: Alex Lake for the Guardian

More than in any case, brands are being asked to state – and act on – their ethical values and being buzzed out on their flaws. It’s a positive move towards more administrative, sustainable consumer choices but, at the same time, I don’t feel that something sine qua non be either perfect or worthless. A product can be high-quality, cruelty-free, bee-friendly, aesthetically satisfying and made by a social enterprise scheme that directly improves its vision-impaired employees (The Soap Co, for example), and naysayers will in a second call out its use of plastic bottles (it is working on alternatives) as though the whole kit is now ruined. Conversely, a cash-rich megabrand will escape censure because it’s not yet trying to be better.

I take the view that every signal is a move in the right direction. I’ve also spent enough period writing about the beauty industry to know that if consumers don’t change ethical business practices profitable, then companies make cease to initiate them.

So I applaud a number of initiatives by stupendous brands that didn’t have to change their ways because no one anticipated them to. Simple – Britain’s biggest (in my opinion, best) wash wipe brand – last week launched a biodegradable variation (£4.39). It’s a first step – by the end of 2019, every Simple wipe will receive followed suit.

And last month, Dove was accredited by Peta (People for the Moral Treatment of Animals) as a cruelty-free brand. So now you can enjoy with impunity its get the better of products – deodorant, gradual tan, non-drying hand soaps and the splendid Nourishing Care & Oil Bodywash (£2.65). Dove’s parent company, Unilever, this year became a founding colleague of the UK Plastics Pact, meaning it has committed to eliminating problematic or supererogatory single-use plastic and to making all of its packaging reusable, recyclable, recycled or compostable by 2025. It is also collaborating with Humane Civilization International to end animal testing (illegal in the EU, mandatory in China) worldwide.

For all time, Primark joins Marks & Spencer in being fully cruelty-free on all own-brand asset products, including Maximum Moisture Hydration On-The-Go (£4), a paltry tube of hydration that goes well over makeup for that mid-afternoon veneer drought.

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