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Ending animal testing: behind the scenes at our research hub


Watch a new five-minute film to find out how our scientists are pioneering alternatives to animal testing and sharing their work on a global scale

Two scientists at one of Unilever’s R&D centres looking at a screen. Both are women

We’ve been developing and using alternatives to animal testing to assure the safety of Unilever products for more than 30 years. In fact, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) lists Unilever as one of just five companies that are working for regulatory change.

Now, a new film produced by BBC StoryWorks – the broadcaster’s commercial division – gives audiences around the world a glimpse inside our global Safety and Environmental Assurance Centre (SEAC), and it features our very own scientists discussing their shared commitment to this important work.

“I’m passionate that developments in science do not need to use testing on animals,” says Product Safety Scientist Georgia Reynolds, in the opening scene.

“It’s really exciting to know that what I come into work to do every day has a huge amount of impact in terms of the way the science is heading.”

“The advent of cell-culture methods and being able to develop models on computer screens has radically changed the tools that we can now use to assess product safety,” explains Head of SEAC Julia Fentem.

“The science we are doing is really innovative, and transparency in our non-animal safety science is critical to the wider use and acceptance of these non-animal approaches.”

Internationally respected research

Our research work is also showcased in the film, with external experts – including Dr Timothy E H Allen of the University of Cambridge Toxicology Unit – recognising Unilever’s contribution to furthering international confidence in non-animal testing methods.

“The research undertaken by Unilever is of the highest standards and internationally respected,” he says. “It is our hope that the methods and tools that Unilever develops can be used in other areas globally.”

The film premiered in June at the virtual Cosmetics Europe Trade Association’s industry event. It is one of 24 films created for the Essentials for Daily Life series, produced by BBC StoryWorks, which offer a behind-the-scenes view into how the often-overlooked cosmetics and personal care sector is enhancing people’s lives, supporting the planet and improving products.

This film was shot before the Covid-19 lockdown and social distancing guidelines were introduced.

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