Spa de France
" code of ethics,
label, ISO standards, AFNOR standard draft … nowadays, a spa owner may claim to comply with different frameworks that guarantee very different criteria. Is one more useful?
Obviously, yes, after the speakers who hold a press conference, on September 11, during the professional Beyond Beauty Exhibition.
“Standards are very complex and cannot be easily understood by the public at large,”
Martial Denetre, the Carnac Thalasso&Spa Resort Hotel General Manager, explained.
“Being is a global tool, very clear for a site.”
“Being is a quality label, designed to meet the needs of the today and tomorrow consumers who want an easy-to-understand offer, and who want to save the planet. It is the only label that comprises at the same time requirements about the respect to the planet, the cares and services quality, and about the products used and sold by the facility,” Valérie Lemaire, the Ecocert Greenlife General Manager, detailed.
Independent certification vs abusive Green claim
Being is designed for all kinds of well-being and cares facilities, such as day spas, hotels with spas, spas/thalassatherapy centers, and beauty parlours that provide spa cares.
Designed by Ecocert, a certification body, it is said to be the first ecological framework completely dedicated to spas.
According to Valérie Lemaire, this new framework is, firstly, an answer to the market needs, “More and more consumer citizens are looking for favourite places to relax, providing them with a well-being experience through the use of safe and environment-friendly products in an area that is itself environment-friendly. Following these requests, many facilities claim to be “environment-friendly”, “sustainable," even “organic," without any approach being established. In order to meet the needs of consumers and professionals of the Spa world, Ecocert has designed a global and demanding framework dedicated to the facilities committed to an environmental approach. It is the only one that guarantees high-quality services compliant with environmental criteria and with an environment-friendly management of the site, as well as with the use of organic or environment-friendly cosmetics and other sustainable products (food, textile, home perfumes, cleaning products, etc…)”
Being is also claimed as the only framework controlled by an independent body, in order to prevent non-legitimate “green claims."
The Being guarantees
Being is built on two cornerstones: overall guarantees of quality, and a full transparency. Thus, the framework requires commitments in three areas:
• An offer for organic and environment-friendly products
The requirements concern the cosmetics available for sale and the cosmetics used for the cares, free or paid-for snacks, cleaning products, textile and home perfumes: an organic or an ecological certification is required, as some references, traceability and pieces of information about the products.
• High-quality and controlled services, which comply with the environment, social, hygiene and safety criteria
Specific guarantees are required dealing with the personnel competency, the cares procedures, which, for instance, require using a certain percentage of organic or ecological cosmetic products, the traceability of the cares provided, comfort, and an evaluation of the global well-being of the users.
• A right management of resources, wastes and releases
Every facility shall have established an “environment management” that deals with water and energy resources, with cutting-down and treating wastes and releases, with spas and pools, laundry, equipment maintenance. All these criteria come as a complement to the requirements of the regulation that all facilities shall comply with, regarding the environment, hygiene, safety and social right.
Certified spas will be audited at least once a year by Ecocert, further to spot checks and anonymous audits. At the entrance of certified spas, the label will be displayed, with the guaranteed criteria listed.
A two-level certification
In order to allow facilities for the making of all the needed adjustments step by step, Ecocert has designed two levels of certification.
• The entry level
It includes 50 basic, mandatory criteria organized into the three areas of commitment: service quality, organic or ecological products, and site management.
For instance, regarding the cosmetics, this first level requires that at least 20% of the cares processes be based on organic or ecological products, and that at least 20% of the cosmetics used on-site or for sale be also organic or ecological.
More requirements dealing with ecological or organic certification apply to the other products used in the spa: textile, cleaning products, home perfumes, snacks.
• The “Excellence” level
The second certification level requires three more mandatory criteria to be met:
> The percentage goes up from 20% to 50% minimum for cares processes that shall use organic or ecological cosmetics only, and for the for-sale cosmetics that shall be organic or ecological certified.
> An improvement programme shall be put in place, with quantified targets, for water and energy consumption.
> Three complementary actions, chosen by the spa, and controlled by Ecocert. For instance, a low-consumption building, more than 75% of cosmetics shall be organic, grey water recycling …
Further, from 2013, Ecocert will implement a contest to name the “Organic and Ecological spa of the Year," which will have put in place the best environmental approach. The jury, comprising experts, professionals and users, will award the “Excellence Jury Award” of the year.
A 20% lowest percentage of organic processes to get the label may seem a bit low.
“Indeed, the framework is very stringent,”
Valérie Lemaire assured.
“Nowadays, one can count on one hand the spas, which are eligible for certification. This 20% figure may up, but, first, the label must be put in place.”
“The idea is to duplicate the Cosmebio label used for cosmetics,” Bernard Chevilliat, Melvita President, added. “The first aim is that it shall be a label that cannot be ignored, to ensure the credibility of the product.”
In fact, Being is in its early stage. Only two spas in France are currently following the certification process: the Éco-Spa Melvita, in rue de Rennes, Paris, and the Carnac Thalasso&Spa Resort Hôtel, in Carnac, Brittany. Two small steps toward a bright future for organic spas?