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Unilever to Cease Using Shark Products in Cosmetics

Posted: January 30, 2008

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With the decision to end using shark-based squalene, Unilever has joined other leading cosmetic companies in the switch to sustainable plant-based sources. Like Unilever, L’Oreal is currently completing the phase-out of production with shark-based squalene and its substitution with the plant-based ingredient. Beiersdorf, LVMH, Henkel, Boots, Clarins, Sisley and La Mer, an Estée Lauder brand, also have either made the decision to stop using shark-based squalene or had a policy to never use it in the first place, according to information the European headquarters of these companies provided to Oceana.

Shark populations are in trouble nearly everywhere in the world from human activities:
* Sharks are generally slow-growing and long-lived, breeding late in life, with long breaks between reproductive cycles rendering them extremely vulnerable to overexploitation.
* Globally shark species are in trouble. Of the 307 shark species assessed by the World Conservation Union (IUCN), 50 (16.3%) are classified as endangered, threatened or vulnerable.
* Sharks are important apex predators and their removal can cause damage throughout the marine food web and, thus, ocean ecosystems.
* Around one hundred million sharks are killed by commercial fisheries every year.