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Date: November 2002

Good Shopping Guide

The Good Shopping Guide. Ethical Marketing Group

'Since manufacturers are not obliged to list their ingredients, there is no easy way of finding out quite what your favourite perfume does contain'

The newly published Good Shopping Guide is the world’s first comprehensive ethical reference guide to clearly list the behaviour of the companies behind everyday consumer brands.

You can read the surefish review of the Good Shopping Guide elsewhere on the site.

You can also find out what the Good shopping Guide says about toys.

And here’s what it says about computers, TV and Videos.

And here’s the lowdown on Beer, Lager and Cider.

To buy your copy of the book from Christian Aid simply call: 020 7523 2229

Here’s what the Good Shopping Guide says about…

Perfumes and aftershaves
Perfumes make up one of the ultimate consumer luxuries. Driven by huge advertising campaigns and promotional activities, the fragrance industry is locked onto the ‘aspirational’ and escapist part of human nature.

Secret ingredients
Apart from the dream and a briefly lingering scent, what we are really being sold in our bottle of perfume is nothing more than a container of unnamed and unspecified chemicals, or if we’re lucky, a phial full of essential oils.

Perfumes recipes have so far been protected from compulsory labelling as a result of highly-effective multinational company lobbying. Perfume was recently excluded from EU laws aimed at full ingredient listing because most perfumes had ‘too many ingredients’ to list. The cosmetics and toiletries industry has around 6,000-8,000 ingredients to play with, although it is hardly likely that any single perfume uses more than 20 or so of these. Only about half of the thousands of ingredients available are the fragrances themselves.

Allergies & animal cruelty
Since a third of all allergies are caused by fragrance, the elixir in the bottle might give you headaches, rashes or make you sneeze.

In addition to fragrance, perfumes sometimes contain cruelly-derived ingredients and fixatives like musk (‘a dried secretion from the preputial follicles of the musk deer’), civet (taken from the scent glands of the Ethiopian civet cat), ambergris (taken from sperm whales) and castor (from follicles near genitals of beavers).

The perfume may also have been made from flowers picked in the Third World (where many of the cheaper essential oils are sourced), often using child labour.

Unfortunately, since the manufacturers are not obliged to list their ingredients, there is no easy way of finding out quite what your favourite perfume does contain.

Targeting the kids
Recently child protection authorities and watchdog groups have criticised the perfume industry for the marketing of scents for children.
Since 1995, Versace, Agnes B, Nina Ricci, Givenchy and Guerlain have all introduces children’s perfumes for children aged between 4 and 15.

Some watchdog groups have expressed the fear that the premature sexualisation of children in certain advertisements runs the risk of legitimising and encouraging sexual interest in children.

Good Shopping Guide ratings

Top rating:
• Amethyst Mist
• Aurelia
• Chanel No 5
• White Musk

• Activist
• Aurelius
• Ginger FM
• Sirius

Middle rating:
• Beautiful
• Joop
• Youth Dew

• Aramis
• Jazz

Bottom rating:
• Anais Anais
• Charlie
• CK One (Unisex)
• Dune

• Farenheit
• Lynx
• Old Spice
• Safari for Men

To see how the Good Shopping Guide reached these conclusions, you’ll have to buy the book, which is available from Christian Aid by calling 020 7523 2229