There’s a slew of vegan-friendly products and companies out there, but not all carry the mark of vegan certification, so can we really trust them?
For those of us who don’t relish the idea of having to check every ingredient, or the manufacturing processes related to a new product, the Certified Vegan logo or Vegan Trademarks are easy ways to be sure that we are buying something fully aligned with our lifestyle. But how do companies gain certification?
What is vegan certification?
Let’s start with a nice, simple question. Vegan certification is granted when an item has been proven to contain no animal products of any kind and has been manufactured without animal testing. Essentially, no living creature needed to die or be exposed to cruel practices for that one product to come into existence.
Countries around the world subscribe to different ‘official’ awards of compliance, with vegan organisations usually spearheading the campaigns. That’s why you might see contrasting imagery and logos on various vegan products, as those from the UK will most likely be aligned with The Vegan Society and others might say ‘certified vegan’ or similar and be backed by an organisation you don’t recognise.
Why is it important?
It’s a rite of passage to endure the endless reading of product labels, when you first embrace veganism. Everything from food and clothing to health and beauty products need to be sifted through for the vegan options that will let you rest easy, and though there are plenty of products in the marketplace today, being able to spot them quickly is never a bad thing.
Let’s imagine that you are rushing out for a few essentials on your lunch break. You’re a new vegan and unsure which brands you can buy. Do you really want to waste time having to read, Google and cross-check every parent company and ingredients list? Of course not. Especially sanitary products, which will shock you when you start reading what’s in them. That’s when vegan certification is so valuable.
All the hard work has been done for you with audits carried out to ensure that there are no animal derivatives or cruel testing practices being used for individual items. Simply look for the certified vegan logo and buy with confidence.
Do companies care about being certified?
Veganism is only growing in popularity, which means that all companies, mainstream and independent, have a versed interest in catering to the plant-based and ethical consumer demographic.
Any organisations that produce vegan products, whether intentionally or accidentally, will benefit from being certified as free of animal ingredients and having not tested on animals. Certification is granted after stringent verification has been completed, with the onus of proving animal-free status firmly on the companies that are seeking to be marked with a recognisable vegan stamp of approval.
The only stumbling block to certification can be cost. For large companies, this is rarely an issue, but for medium-sized organisations, investing in specifically vegan production lines can be difficult to impossible. Small businesses and sole traders can find things a little simpler, especially if they set up with vegan-friendly production in mind, as there will be no risk of contamination from the start.
Are certified vegan and cruelty-free awards different?
Yes, and it’s vital to know the difference. Any company or product that has been granted vegan certification is both animal-free and subscribes to no animal testing.
Anything dubbed cruelty-free merely references the lack of animal testing. The end products could easily contain animal-based ingredients. They are similarly aligned, obviously, but not the same thing.
A trusted and easy to identify marker of ethical production methods, vegan certification is becoming more prevalent and offers all vegans, old and new, reassurance when they shop.