Why we work with non-vegan companies

You are here

» Why we work with non-vegan companies

Anybody who’s paying attention will have noticed the steep interest in veganism over the past few years. 

It’s graced the front of newspapers, been on the lips of every A-list celebrity, broke year on year records on Google search, and seen many a trade journal covering the rise in vegan product launches. With more people than ever adopting a vegan lifestyle and opting for vegan products, companies have taken note. It’s an undeniable fact: there’s money to be made in selling vegan products.

Plain cosmetics pots containing product, scattered across a peach coloured background.

The more products that are available, the easier it is for people to be vegan

This snowball effect has had a profound impact on the popularity and accessibility of veganism. The more products that are available, the easier it is for people to be vegan. The more products that are created, the better they get. The more demand there is for those products, the cheaper they become to produce. What we are observing is veganism becoming easier, more enjoyable and more affordable than ever.

So, where do we get involved, you might ask? The answer is with our Vegan Trademark, the international standard for authentic vegan products that we regulate. We have over 40,000 products currently registered against our standards, products made by companies all over the world and of all shapes and sizes. Our standards look at those individual products, ensuring that they contain no animal ingredients and have never been tested on animals.

We encourage people on their vegan journey

As an organisation, one of our primary goals is that more people choose to be vegan or at least use vegan alternatives. To achieve this, we make sure that our communications are for everyone, vegan or otherwise. We proactively open dialogue with those who are considering going vegan, or on their vegan journey. 

Not many of us were born vegan and it can take some time (and savvy shopping habits) to find the products you like. If you are new to veganism you may prefer a product from a brand you already know, or you may be willing to take a gamble on a totally new product. By working with household names, we can encourage people on their vegan journey (or people shopping for vegans) to simply switch items to the vegan version by their preferred brand. It’s just one way we normalise the swapping process and make it as convenient, accessible and affordable as possible.

Helping non-vegan companies to understand the value of creating vegan products

Why don’t we say an entire company or brand is ‘vegan’? The answer is simple: our standards apply to products, because it’s impossible to check our standards against an entire company’s business practices.

We can’t review the lunchroom choices in a manufacturing facility, audit handwash in their bathrooms or check if Karen from HR’s birthday cake contains eggs. We feel that stating an entire company is vegan against our standards is misleading. What we’re interested in is looking at a company’s products, which are the items we eat, use and enjoy. 

Many companies we work with do not exclusively create vegan products. For them, our Vegan Trademark is the perfect solution to highlight which of their products can be enjoyed by vegans. It helps them to differentiate those products and communicate it clearly to their customers. For us, it helps us show them the value in developing products that do not use animals, and in many instances, they prove so popular that we see companies coming back to reformulate their non-vegan products or expand their vegan ranges. 

What about ethical practices and parent companies?

Our position on this has always been clear: we actively encourage positive changes towards animal-free alternatives. The approach we take is what is ‘practical and possible’ right now and moving forward.

We want all companies, new, old, small, large, family run or incorporated to invest in veganism. We want them to see that they can still be profitable, successful businesses without relying on animal agriculture or selling products into countries that require animal testing. We recognise that businesses must remain profitable, so by encouraging profits from vegan product sales, we see this as a win for the animals and us. Plus, all money raised from companies paying to use our Trademark goes directly towards promoting veganism. 

Our standards on this have been consistent since we created the Vegan Trademark 30 years ago – but it’s only recently we have witnessed large multi-national parent companies investing in and developing vegan products. They have always been eligible to get our Vegan Trademark for products that meet our strict standards, and now that those products exist, we are eager to prove to them the value of not relying on animals!

A strict yet achievable standard to guide industries away from using animals

Companies are increasingly aware that their customers expect more from them. Less plastic, recycled packaging, carbon neutral production and organic ingredients are just some of the requests. We listen to our audiences and welcome and encourage these changes and the individuals and organisations campaigning for them. We see other organisations looking at ethical or environmental practices as being the experts in their fields, just as we are in ours, and in order not to restrict our impact we focus on our standards:

  • No animal ingredients
  • No animal testing
  • Diligent and robust methods to avoid cross contamination

By sticking to these standards, we can continue the conversation and our impact on businesses. By adding further restrictions to a vegan product, we move back into the fringes and allow other types of vegan labelling, such as companies just writing the word ‘vegan’ on pack without any verification, to set a precedent. 

With our Vegan Trademark, we are looking exclusively at how an individual product is made and if it uses animals in the process. It is with that same focus that we’ve been able to support the huge growth in vegan products since we introduced it in 1990, by being true to our mission and implementing a strict-yet-achievable standard to guide industries away from using animals. 
 

Comments

I completely agree with the approach of working with non-vegan companies. The thing is, 30 years ago, as an example, vegan leather wasn't even mentioned in the media. Now, here we are with non-vegan consumers buying vegan leather. Which is awesome. However, there is still a McDonald's, Burger King, and Pizza joint, in most cities around the world that serve mostly meat. We need to help companies curve consumer demand toward vegan but the way to do that isn't to punish, or condemn. The systemic issues that rise with the overconsumption and killing of other species and destroying the planet is from this same thinking. We need to come together to work toward a vegan world, not be divided. Instead of alienating non-vegan companies or consumers we should be embracing and working together with them to make change. There are those that support vegan, cruelty free who don't believe in working together. They push anarchy by saying things like "I don't like this person because they aren't vegan" or "let's shut this restaurant down on the corner that serves meat" versus "let's work together with that company to educate and help them offer more vegan options besides meat." I was speaking with a not-for-profit that supports vegan, cruelty free the other day and they proudly boasted how they helped shut down factories for not being cruelty free. The first thing I thought was what about the families who are affected by the factory shutting down. I'm not saying this factory was not doing inhumane things, or that they shouldn't have been shut down. However, boasting about the fact that they shut that factory down, isn't that the core to the systemic problem that has caused a world of imbalance affecting humans, animals, and mother earth? This thinking creates divide and anarchy when what we are really trying to create is harmony and changing consumer demand is the key, I agree. That doesn't happen over night, as I mentioned 30 years ago we weren't talking about vegan leather, now we have non-vegans supporting vegan leather. Change is happening for the vegans and vegetarians living that lifestyle and being the change you want to see is doing the REAL work. Before we get to vegan most of us had to eat meat and then choose a different path outside of the mainstream. That's hard to do and we'll only get more people to walk that vegan path when we lead by example versus shaming the non-vegan consumers and businesses alike. Thank you for this approach guys, I love it!

Add new comment

The views expressed by our bloggers are not necessarily the views of The Vegan Society.

Reg. Charity No: 279228 Company Reg. No: 01468880 Copyright © 1944 - 2020 The Vegan Society