Omorovicza Enters, and Swiftly Exists, the Chinese Market
Disappointment would be an understatement. Jump back to the winter of 2016: My heart sank when I read that Omorovicza would be entering the mainland China marketplace. The vast majority of luxury brands eventually give in to the profitable temptation of selling cosmetic goods in China. They put animal rights second to whatever excuse they feel negates their responsibilities as an ethical product provider.
Omorovicza prides itself on the potent thermal spring waters and muds featured in their spa-quality products. Their products are very effective, non-toxic and gentle on the skin. Omorovicza was one of my favourite natural luxury skin care lines commercially available. When visiting the Four Seasons Toronto spa, I looked forward to being pampered with Omorovicza products. I had also held them in high regard for holding out against animal testing. In contrast, most luxury skin care and makeup lines, like Chanel, SK II, Dior, YSL, Caudalie, La Mer, L’Occitane, Biotherm etc etc, will sell where ever there is profit. These highly-regarded beauty lines cause unnecessary animal pain, torture and deaths because of their choice to sell in certain markets.
Please read on to see Omorovicza’a cruelty free status.
2016 Market Change?
A company can promote a “cruelty free stance” and indirectly support animal testing. Selling your products in a foreign country means you must abide by their laws. Even if a company doesn’t preform tests directly, testing can be enforced in countries they choose to sell to. As of 2016, Omorovicza began the process of opening its first shops in Beijing and Shanghai. Selling in mainland China means subjecting animals to excruciating toxicity tests. Animal testing is currently a firm requirement by Chinese law for imported cosmetics.
“China’s Food and Drug Administration requires all imported cosmetics, new cosmetic ingredients, and “special-use” cosmetics such as hair dyes, deodorants and sunscreens, to undergo animal testing before being sold. Companies are required to submit finished product samples to the government for testing in a CFDA-recognized laboratory. Once approved for sale, provincial authorities also conduct post-market inspections of cosmetic products, which can include a further layer of animal testing.
Currently, CFDA accepts only a few of the available, internationally recognized cell- and tissue-based methods as alternatives to animal testing for cosmetics. In other words, even if a test requirement, e.g., eye irritation, can be satisfied using a validated non-animal approach, results from an animal test will still be required for sale in China. …” — Source Huffington Post May 2016.
After posting on my YouTube video my disappointment about Omorovicza’s decision, I received a message from a viewer that they may be regretting their decision and pulling out.
“What!” I thought, “That’s unheard of!”
It’s been my observation that, unless forced, companies don’t openly admit when they’ve messed up. My history working “behind the scenes” with various companies over the years has left me a bit callous, I suppose. To hear a beauty company formally admitting and taking responsibility for their mistake is… not something you come to expect. And yet, it happened.
I sent an email to the company requesting more information on the situation. Here is the very honest response I received back:
I can confirm that from Chinese New Year 2017, Omorovicza products will no longer be available in mainland China.
As you know, we have always been against animal testing. However, in applying for the registration of Omorovicza products in China, we felt we had to accept the decision of the Chinese government. We were wrong.
We also believed that the Chinese government was re-considering its position. Here, too, we were mistaken. Despite intense industry pressure, the law relating to animal testing in China will not be repealed. Hence our decision to exit the domestic Chinese market.
Omorovicza Cosmetics is an independent family-owned business, and our values are at the heart of everything we do. Over the past 10 years, Margaret and Stephen, the owners, have built a beautiful brand with the unwavering support of loyal employees, customers, clients and partners around the world.
All these stakeholders believe very strongly that our integrity suffers from our implicit endorsement of the stance of the Chinese government on this matter.
They are right.
What does this mean in practice?
From this point onward, we will not apply for the registration of further Omorovicza formulas and we will not ship products to mainland China. We will not sell any more products to domestic clients, nor seek re-registration for products whose certificates are expiring, but we will allow our clients time to sell through their inventory in the next few months.
To be clear, we will continue to sell products to Chinese markets online, provided such sales take place in Hong Kong and products are not subject to registration – hence no animal testing is required.
We appreciate that it will still take a few months until the exit process is completed, but the decision has been made and communicated to all parties involved.
-January 6, 2017
Admitting you were wrong takes guts. Admitting your company did wrong and immediately acting to remedy the situation takes brave leadership. And I applaud that.
Great job Omorovicza! You are taking an important ethical stand and I hope other luxury lines take note.