NAD Reviews "Ethically And Sustainably Sourced" Claims

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As part of its routine monitoring program, NAD challenged the follwoing claims made by Amyris Clean Beauty, Inc. in its Biossance advertising...
United States Media, Telecoms, IT, Entertainment
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As part of its routine monitoring program, NAD challenged the follwoing claims made by Amyris Clean Beauty, Inc. in its Biossance advertising:

  • "Clean ingredients and clean formulas – we ban over 2000 ingredients that are known to be toxic to you and the environment. All of our ingredients are also ethically and sustainably sourced."
  • "Our 100% sugarcane derived squalane is ethically and sustainably sourced, keeping 2 million sharks every year safe from liver harvesting."

In support of the claims, the advertiser provided data that included third party certifications and reports, its 2021 ESG report, and statements from regulatory bodies, laws, trade associations, and non-profit organizations about substances "deemed toxic to human health and/or the environment."

Here's what NAD found.

"Clean ingredients and clean formulas – we ban over 2000 ingredients that are known to be toxic to you and the environment"

NAD determined that "it was not clear whether the over 2000 ingredients the Advertiser does not use in its products are associated with cosmetics products." Pulling from the FTC's "free of" principles in the Green Guides (which say that "a truthful claim that a product, package, or service is free of, or does not contain or use, a substance may nevertheless be deceptive if the substance has not been associated with the product category"), NAD recommended that the claim be modified to reflect the ingredients banned that are typically used in cosmetics products.

"Keeping 2 million sharks every year safe from liver harvesting"

NAD determined that the third party report the advertiser submitted in support of its shark safety claim (which provided estimates regarding the number of sharks killed in 2012 to harvest shark liver oil) could not support the advertiser's claim "absent more certainty as to the number of sharks killed and the amount of shark liver oil used by the cosmetics industry." As such, NAD recommended the claim be discontinued or modified to avoid referring to a numerical figure, but noted that "nothing in the decision prevents the Advertiser from making a more general claim that sharks are not harvested for squalane found in Biossance products."

"Our 100% sugarcane derived squalane is ethically and sustainably sourced"

NAD evaluated a certification the advertiser submitted from non-profit member-based organization Bonsucro (which requires "adherence to various criteria and indicators relating to sustainable farming and million and is a global sustainability platform setting standards for sugarcane") and found that the certification submitted was "based on an assessment of each step in the sugarcane's chain of custody in the production process (acquisition of certified products, receiving, storage, handling, operational processes, and final product)" and provided a reasonable basis for the claim.

"All of our ingredients are also ethically and sustainably sourced"

The advertiser relied on its Supplier Code of Conduct in support of the claim. NAD found that while in some cases supplier codes of conduct can support aspirational claims, here, it did not provide a reasonable basis for the "broad, unqualified claim that all of the ingredients in the product are ethically and sustainably sourced" and recommended the advertiser discontinue or modify the claim to better fit the evidence in the record.

NAD also reviewed certain efficacy claims related to the squalane in the advertiser's product, finding them supported by a reasonable basis.

Report #7132

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NAD Reviews "Ethically And Sustainably Sourced" Claims

United States Media, Telecoms, IT, Entertainment

Contributor

Frankfurt Kurnit provides high quality legal services to clients in many industries and disciplines worldwide. With leading practices in entertainment, advertising, IP, technology, litigation, corporate, estate planning, charitable organizations, professional responsibility and other areas — Frankfurt Kurnit helps clients face challenging legal issues and meet their goals with efficient solutions.
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