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Ethical brand ratings and accreditation since 2001

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Is REN skincare good for the planet, for animals and for people?

REN is a skincare brand owned by Unilever, one of the biggest retail corporations in the world. REN was founded in 2000 and is marketed as a ‘clean’ beauty and skincare brand. Consumers should be wary of brands that use the term ‘clean’, as this is often used to greenwash and ethical-wash companies that have vague or unclear business ethics.

This is the reason The Good Shopping Guide exists; to cut through the greenwash, independently research the facts and dispel the fiction.

Due to the unethical business activities of REN’s parent company, Unilever, this brand unfortunately does not score well in The Good Shopping Guide’s Ethical Skincare Ratings Table.

We encourage REN and other skincare brands that do not gain high Good Shopping Guide scores to keep striving to improve the ethics of their business activities, and to push the skincare sector to lead the way when it comes to protecting the Environment, Animals and People.

Is REN Cruelty-Free?

Though some consumer information research sites deem REN to be Cruelty-Free, The Good Shopping Guide has not awarded REN with a good score for its Animal Welfare considerations. REN itself as a brand has not been found to test on animals, however, parent company, Unilever itself states that,

“Occasionally, across Unilever’s broader portfolio of brands, ingredients that we use still have to be tested by suppliers by law, to comply with regulatory requirements in some markets; and some government authorities test certain products on animals as part of their regulations.”

The Good Shopping Guide considers the activity of the parent corporation when researching the Animal Welfare Policies from individual brands, as we believe consumers should be made aware of this information. If parent corporations own majority or large shares of a brand, then it can be assumed that the parent corporation will be making a lot of money in sales from the brands it owns. For this reason, The Good Shopping Guide takes the activity of the parent corporation into account when considering a brand’s ethics.

We leave it up to consumer discretion whether or not you choose to buy from individual brands who do not test on animals, but their parent companies do. We believe it is important that consumers are as informed as possible about the products you buy.

Is REN Vegan?

REN’s products are not certified-Vegan by an independent body, and consumers should be aware that animal products and by-products do appear in some of REN’s products. Vegans who still wish to buy from REN can find a list of non-accredited Vegan products here. However, we still encourage REN to obtain independent Vegan certification. REN has committed to making more of its products Vegan in the future, which is a positive move for the brand.

Is Unilever a good company?

Whilst The Good Shopping Guide was encouraged to see Unilever’s in-depth Environmental Report, with many targets and progress updates, Unilever can hardly be called a good ethical company.

Unilever and Putin’s invasion of Ukraine

As the conflict in Ukraine rages on, a number of businesses are coming under increasing pressure to terminate their residual relationships with Russia, including two of the largest consumer products corporations in Britain. Businesses with operations in Russia include Unilever and Reckitt Benckiser, which according to analysts “have blood on their hands.”

Critics claim that continuing to support Russia economically amounts to indirectly supporting murder by failing to condemn the Putin regime’s violations of human rights in favour of protecting Russian profits.

Does Unilever use GM ingredients in its products?

Unilever does use GM ingredients in its products, as evidenced by this statement from Unilever.

“Our priority is to provide consumers with safe products that meet all regulatory requirements and fulfil our high standards for quality. And our commitment to safety and quality includes all of our food ingredients, whether produced from conventional crops or from GM crops authorised by regulatory bodies. We believe GM crops are as safe as their traditional counterparts and fully support regulatory control around GM technology and continued scientific research in the area.

Some environmentalists and environmental scientists believe that GM crops have a significant ecological impact. This report from Montana State University goes through why the use of GM crops can increase the use of herbicides and increase the likelihood of herbicide-resistant weeds.

Are REN skincare products Organic?

Unfortunately, no Unilever beauty brands have any certified-Organic products.

How could REN become an ethical brand?

REN is held back in becoming a more ethical company by its parent corporation, Unilever. However, we encourage REN and other Unilever brands to obtain both Vegan and Organic accreditation, in order to better conserve the vulnerable Environment and Animals.

Ethical performance in category


GSG score


GSG category benchmark


Ethical Rating


  • Environmental Report


  • Genetic Modification


  • Organic


  • Nuclear Power


  • Fossil Fuels



  • Animal Welfare


  • Vegetarian/Vegan Verified



  • Armaments


  • Irresponsible Marketing


  • Political Donations



  • Ethical Accreditation


  • Public Record Criticisms


  • Public Record Criticisms+


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