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October 5, 2007 —

Deciding whether or not to buy Aveda products poses some difficult questions to the ethical shopper.  On one hand, Aveda is considered an innovative and responsible company that is committed to environmental sustainability.  On the other hand, Aveda is owned by Estee Lauder, which many activists claim has used sweatshop labor, has been involved with toxic dumping, and often, anti-trust violations.  One of the major objections that activists have against Estee Lauder is the company’s refusal to sign the Compact for Safe Cosmetics.  This campaign has been directed at the largest companies in the cosmetics industry, including Estee Lauder and Procter & Gamble. Yet, Aveda remains a model company in the cosmetic industry.

Aveda does not use animal testing and attempts to use organic ingredients, at least when possible.  Aveda is also considered one of the more environmentally friendly companies.  It uses recycled paper, and endorses catalogs and magazines to do the same, and uses all natural products.  Aveda provides an annual Environmental Award to publications who provide leadership among magazines.  The company publicly endorses green ingredients, green energy, and has, according to the web site, raised over $8 million for environmental causes since 1999 through its Mother Earth campaign.  Nonetheless, there are some people who believe that under Estee Lauder, Aveda has moved away from its founding principles.  Aveda has also come under fire, and faced a lawsuit, for using the word “indigenous” on certain products without sharing the profits with indigenous groups.

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