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Tom’s of Maine and The Body Shop: Sell-outs?

Filed under: Shopping
Are ethics being brushed aside?

Are ethics being brushed aside?

Colgate-Palmolive Co. just announced that it is set to buy a majority stake (84%, to be exact) of Tom’s of Maine for $100 million. Tom and Kate Chapell, who founded the natural toothpaste and personal care product company in 1970, will keep 16% share and continue to run the company.

Tom’s of Maine products do not contain artificial sweeteners, preservatives, colors, flavors or animal ingredients, and are tested without the use of animals. In 2005, the company won the Taking Action for Animals Corporate Ethic Award for Animal Advocacy. In contrast, Colgate-Palmolive produces all sorts of unnatural oral care items and only after extensive talks with PETA did the company declare “a moratorium on all animal tests of its personal care products designed for adults and the ingredients used in these products.” Although Colgate excluded its oral care products from the moratorium, the company has now submitted a non-animal fluoride test to the FDA for consideration. Tom and Kate called Colgate “an excellent fit with our own cultural values.”

In related news, L’Oreal (another company resistant to end animal testing) purchased The Body Shop for $1.14 million on March 17th. Co-founder Anita Roddick, who will retain her current role as a consultant, said the company’s values would not change. “I don’t see it as selling out,” she said. “L’Oreal has displayed visionary leadership in wanting to be an authentic advocate and supporter of our values.”

Thankfully, not all natural cosmetics and personal care companies are joining forces with global corporate monsters. We’ve listed a few of them in our directory.

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