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25 September 2013

Enfield Council opts for cleanliness without cruelty

Enfield Council’s (UK) decision to exclusively stock cleaning products free from animal testing started with a letter from a young girl. Concerned about the cruel treatment of animals, the young Enfielder wrote to the council enquiring about the products they use. The letter was brought up at a council meeting and the decision to ensure only cruelty free products were procured was made.

After surveying the market the first barrier was identified: animal-testing free cleaning products were not available wholesale. Following an extensive search, the council contacted Ecosearch Ltd, a local research and manufacturing company, who agreed to produce the products. The company worked closely with BUAV, an organisation campaigning to end the practice of animal testing and sister company to Cruelty Free International. For many products the assurance that they are “not tested on animals” does not tell the whole truth, as constituent parts are not covered by the guarantee. To be certified by Cruelty Free International’s Leaping Bunny logo each ingredient used must be free from animal testing, requiring an examination of the entire supply chain.

Once ready for distribution, Enfield Council ran a trial phase in conjunction with its contracted cleaning company. The feedback from staff was hugely positive, with most saying they prefer using the new cleaning materials. Councillor Andrew Stafford, Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources said “This new range of cleaning products that we have introduced into our civic buildings has not only never been tested on animals, but gives economical superior cleaning performance. The feedback has been excellent from staff who say the hand soap is good to use, and also cleaning staff who tell us because the cleaning fluid is not noxious they do not need to wear masks to use it.” Michelle Thew, Chief Executive of the BUAV, expressed delight at the example Enfield Council is setting for others, and said that she hoped “many others will follow Enfield’s admirable stance.”

Enfield Council is delivering a Sustainable Procurement Policy and Action Plan which forms part of the council's wider Enfield 2020 sustainability programme and action plan.

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