Drug chain giant CVS Pharmacy announced today it will take new steps toward letting customers know when an image used on social media or in marketing and in-store materials has been digitally altered.
The company is also making a commitment, starting in April, to not materially alter beauty imagery it creates for its stores, website and marketing materials for social media.
The company’s president, Helean Foulkes, said she recognized that CVS has a responsibility as a retail business whose “costumers predominantly are women.”
“The connection between the propagation of unrealistic body images and negative health effects, especially in girls and young women, has been established,” Foulkes, president of CVS Pharmacy and executive vice president of CVS Health, said in a statement. “As a purpose-led company, we strive to do our best to assure all of the messages we are sending to our customers reflect our purpose of helping people on their path to better health.”
The company is introducing a CVS Beauty Mark watermark – a circle with a heart-like shape at the center -- that will appear on all imagery in its stores that has not been “materially altered.”
CVS defines materially altered as “changing or enhancing a person’s shape, size, proportion, skin or eye color, wrinkles or any other individual characteristics.”
Customers will begin to see the CVS Beauty Mark on products in April.
By 2020, brand partners will be required to use imagery that is not materially altered or will have to include a disclaimer on the imagery that labels it "digitally modified."
CVS Pharmacy has over 9,700 locations. The company made headlines in 2014 when it announced it would stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products, becoming the first national pharmacy chain to do so.
The chain has also committed to removing certain "chemicals of concern" from all store brand beauty and personal care items.
CVS's latest move follows Getty Images, which announced last year it would no longer accept photos of models' body shapes that have been retouched.
The American stock photo agency said it modified its Creative Stills Submission Requirements after a French law that requires clients to disclose whether photos of models have been altered to make them larger or thinner.
Changes to hair color, nose shape and retouching of skin or blemishes are still acceptable and are "outside the scope of this new law," according to Getty's website.
CVS said it will work with "key brand partners and industry experts" on guidelines to ensure the coming changes are transparent and consistent.
The move drew praise from Girls Inc., a nonprofit organization that serves girls ages 6-18 at more than 1,400 sites across the U.S., according to its website. The organization has partnered with CVS on the transparency initiative.
"As the national nonprofit dedicated to inspiring all girls to be strong, smart, and bold, Girls Inc. is honored to be a partner in CVS Pharmacy’s movement to counter limiting stereotypes too often faced by girls and women," Girls Inc. President and CEO Judy Vredenburgh said in a statement released by CVS. "Allowing diversity and natural beauty to shine will have an immensely positive impact on girls."