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Ethics and Personal Care

By: Steve Herman
Posted: August 11, 2009, from the August 2009 issue of GCI Magazine.

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The public perception of a brand as ethical can even have a significant impact on that brand’s sales. This was noted in a survey and report The Body Shop conducted in 2008.11 “The ethics of a brand are as important as the price when making purchasing decisions... Even though the current economic climate may be pushing consumers to cut down on their expenditure, the ethical reputation of a company remains as important as the price in North America, suggests the survey…34% said their purchases were based on the ethical reputation of a company.”

The beauty industry has perhaps more obligation than most to be ethical because it promises specific benefits to its consumers, famously promoting “hope in a jar.” And, as essentially a chemical business, the industry has other responsibilities toward safety and regulation. Since both the cosmetics and fragrance segments of the industry have long campaigned for self regulation, the bar is raised even higher for ethical impeccable science. It is not too fanciful to hope that every time a key decision is made, the good of the company, the good of the industry, the good of the consumer and the good of the world are considered.

References

  1. On Being a Scientist, third edition, Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy, National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine, www.nap.edu/catalog/12192.html (Accessed June 19, 2009)
  2. W Russell and R Burch, The Principles of Humane Experimental Technique, 1959. altweb.jhsph.edu/publications/humane_exp/het-toc.htm (Accessed June 19, 2009)
  3. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuskegee_Study_of_Untreated_Syphilis_in_the_Negro_Male (Accessed June 19, 2009)
  4. Ethical Principles and Guidelines for the Protection of Human Subjects of Research, www.hhs.gov/ohrp/humansubjects/guidance/belmont.htm (Accessed June 19, 2009)
  5. www.hhs.gov/ohrp/policy (Accessed June 19, 2009)
  6. PA Carson and J Holt, Ethics of studies involving human volunteers, I. Historical Background, J Cosmet Sci 57 215–221 (May, June 2006)
  7. PA Carson and J Holt, Ethics of studies involving human volunteers, II. Relevance and practical implementation for cosmetic scientists, J Cosmet Sci 57 223–231 (May, June 2006)
  8. K Richman, “Ethics and Overcleansing: Is Industry Responsible for the Emergence of Superbugs?” Cosmeceuticals Summit 2009, March 2009 Ethics & Human Safety Testing Science, Regulatory and Toxicology Committee, CTFA, December 2007 Ethics and the Over-use of Anti-microbial Personal Products, (N Dayan and P Wertz, eds) The Innate Immune System of Skin and Oral Mucosa: Properties and Impact in Pharmaceutics, Cosmetics and Personal Care Products. Wiley, forthcoming 2010
  9. www.avoncompany.com/investor/corporategovernance/pdf/code_of_conduct.pdf (Accessed June 19, 2009) www.loreal.com/_en/_ww/html/company/pdf/code_of_ethics_us.pdf (Accessed June 19, 2009) media.corporate-ir.net/media_files/nys/el/ EL_Conduct.pdf (Accessed June 19, 2009)
  10. W Leslie, A Promise to Be Ethical in an Era of Immorality, The New York Times (May 30, 2009)
  11. www.cosmeticsdesign-europe.com/Products-Markets/Ethics-are-as-important-as-price-for-consumers (Accessed June 19, 2009)

Steve Herman is president of Diffusion LLC, a consulting company specializing in regulatory issues, intellectual property, and technology development and transfer. An adjunct professor in the Fairleigh Dickinson University Masters in Cosmetic Science program, his book, Fragrance Applications: A Survival Guide, was published by Allured Publishing Corp. in 2001. A former chairman of the Society of Cosmetic Chemist’s New York chapter, he was elected to fellow status in 2002.