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Humpback whale (megaptera novaeangliae) Humpback whale. Tonga.

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A Southern Resident killer whale leaps into the air. The Southern Residents are an endangered population of fish-eating killer whales. Credit: NOAA

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Pilgrim and her calf in December 2022 © Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, taken under NOAA permit #20556-01

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WDCS Signs Agreement To Stop Whale Use In Cosmetics

WDCS CEO, Chris Butler-Stroud signs the agreement with Eduardo Quesada, President of the IJEC.The International Jojoba Export Council (IJEC) has signed an historic agreement this week with WDCS at Europe’s premier trade show for cosmetic ingredients (In-Cosmetics®) in order to promote the benefits of using jojoba as a green and renewable alternative to oil taken from whales killed in cruel hunts, and also to highlight the fact that, despite international bans, the use of whale-derived ingredients in cosmetic products still occurs.

Jojoba is known as a substitute to whale-sourced oil (spermaceti) and, being virtually identical in structure, jojoba offers a green and renewable alternative. However, the two are produced by very different means as Steve Brown, IJEC Secretary explains.

“Spermaceti and whale oil are products of commercial whaling, and require whales to be killed in cruel hunts. However, jojoba is produced by farming in arid regions of the world and is among the most environmentally friendly components to be found in cosmetics. It provides a viable low-water alternative crop for desert-dwelling peoples all over the world, and plants are perennial allowing them to live and produce for 200 years.”

“We have uncovered several cosmetic products which claim to contain spermaceti and anticipate there are many more which contain it without it being disclosed,” says WDCS chief executive, Chris Butler Stroud.

“Many in the cosmetics development industry simply aren’t aware of this and so we are very pleased to be working with IJEC to highlight this issue to the cosmetics and personal care sectors.

“Agreements like this one are good for whales. The fact remains that commercial whaling is banned, there remains no humane way to kill a whale at sea and no scientific certainty about the ability of whale populations to withstand hunting in the face of growing environmental threats including climate change.”

Both organizations have committed to work together to further reduce import duties which may exist or develop in the global trade of jojoba-based products. This is especially important given that jojoba is successfully cultivated in only a handful of countries and unnecessary barriers could deprive markets or otherwise place jojoba out of reach as an economically viable alternative to spermaceti.

Under the terms of the agreement, IJEC members will use WDCS logo on oil containers and other promotional materials.