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Unilever reveals fragrance ingredients online in UK, France

Products - Dove soap

Consumer products giant Unilever has disclosed the fragrance ingredients in its personal care and home care products sold in the UK and France.

The ingredient listing for brands including Cif, Vaseline, Persil, Lynx, Dove, Domestos, Radox, Simple and Sure has been published on the company's What’s In Our Products webpage in the two countries.

Information is provided about fragrance ingredients above 0.01% (100 parts per million).

The page also provides information about Unilever’s approach to developing safe products, explanations of ingredient types and support for people with allergies to find suitable products.

The company has pledged to roll out the effort to the rest of Europe by the end of 2018.

It is the latest step in Unilever's transparency initiative, which saw it reveal fragrance ingredient information for almost 100 products in the US online and on its SmartLabel app last year.

Unilever chief research and development officer, David Blanchard, said the company is delivering on its promise to "give people the information they need to choose the right products for them".

'Smart move'

Peter Pierrou of the NGO ChemSec called on other companies to follow Unilever's lead. "Disclosing ingredients should be the norm, not the other way around. Unfortunately too many companies hide behind the so-called 'CBI excuse' – confidential business information," he told Chemical Watch.

This, he said, "is very often used to hide unwanted ingredients in products, which leaves clients and customers in the dark about the inherent risks of their products."

Unilever has solved this issue by withholding a small percentage of the fragrance content and only disclosing the chemical name, not the weight or amount in order to protect the proprietary information.

"It's a smart move that will put them ahead of the competition, not only in terms of satisfying their customers who are asking for transparency, but also in terms of emerging legislation. This puts pressure on other companies to do the same," Mr Pierrou said.

Other companies to launch similar initiatives include cleaning products giant SC Johnson, which has disclosed its fragrance palette since 2012 and product-specific fragrance ingredients since 2015 on its transparency website. This covers 52 countries and is available in 34 languages.  

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