P&G Seeks Alternatives To Animal Tests

Dec. 21, 2004

At $43.4 billion a year in revenues, Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble Co. (P&G) is one of the world's largest producers of consumer packaged goods. What it does, others emulate. So it's no surprise that the maker of soaps, cosmetics, materials and other products has lent its top product-safety officer to the European Commission this year to help the regulatory group set legislation and industry standards related to alternatives to animal testing. In the past 20 years, P&G has eliminated animal testing for 80% of its products, investing more than $170 million in alternative methods, says Lee Bansil, associate director of corporate external relations. "It stems from the fact that we as a company want to get out of animal testing. We want to eliminate it." Certainly, consumer concerns over waste and suffering spurs this drive, says Daniel Marsman, corporate veterinarian for product safety and animal alternatives, but P&G also benefits because the alternative methods -- though more costly -- achieve better results. "In the early days the animal-care components were first and foremost in our minds," Marsman says. "But along the way, we've learned a lot more about biology." The company uses a combination of historical data, in vitro testing and computer modeling in place of animal testing. P&G considers its advances in this area to be non-proprietary. Thus its willingness to spread the word in Europe, where animal testing is as much, if not more, of a concern than in the United States.

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