The beginning of the presse release received today by CosmeticsOBS has all of a birth announcement: “The founders of COSMOS-Standard AISBL, the International non-profit Association whose object is to offer an internationally recognized standard for organic and natural cosmetics, are pleased to announce the opening of application processes for the Cosmos-standard. This will concern certification to the new standard and membership of Cosmos-standard AISBL”.
Clearly, this is it: the first certifications meeting this new standard can start, manufacturers that already meet the new criteria requirement will be able to undertake the action to affix the label to their products.
What is COSMOS-Standard?
This is the result of long negotiations among key stakeholders in the natural and organic cosmetic industry in Europe. Begun in 2002, headed the German BDIH, French Association Cosmébio, Ecocert, Italian ICEA and the British Soil Association, it has finally come to give birth to a new standard dated January 31, 2011.
What is going to change for the manufacturers?
For now, not much. If they are already part of a national association (such as Cosmébio in France) and their products are conform to the new standard, they may seek to benefit through their national bodies… which are still predominant in the new device.
Five certification bodies are already approved for this purpose: BDIH, Ecocert Greenlife, ICEA, Qualité France and Soil Association Certification Ltd. A certification process is scheduled for “soon” for new certification bodies wishing to certify as COSMOS-Standard.
What is going to changes on the labels of our products?
Not much either, actually. The national logos will remain, only supplemented by a mention “COSMOS Organic” or “COSMOS Natural” depending on level of certification.
What is going to change in our products?
The COSMOS-Standard has always been intended to raise the bar in relation to existing national standards.
It begins on a general precautionary principle, stating that “When there is scientific evidence that an ingredient, technology or process could pose a health or environmental risk, then the precautionary principle will be applied and it will not be allowed.” Nanomaterials are thus prohibited, along with GMOs, irradiation processes…
To calculate the percentages of organic ingredients in the product, the COSMOS-Standard defines five categories (Water, Minerals and ingredients of mineral origin, Physically processed agro-ingredients, Chemically processed agro-ingredients, Other ingredients), each of which are subject to specific requirements.
A cosmetic may be certified “Organic” if it consists of at least 95% of physically processed agro-ingredients, 20% of the finished product to be derived from organic agriculture (except for certain products such as shampoos or shower gels or those composed of at least 80% of ingredients of mineral origin for which the bar remains at 10%).
No requirement in terms of minimum percentages of organic ingredients is required to be certified “Natural”.
So here we go for a unique and universal organic label?
We hoped so. But not to mention with some conflicts of interest that led to the creation and distribution of the label NaTrue… and with a few working groups which have set up here and there in order to create recognized rules or standards at international level.
So, it’s certainly not quite finished to talk about the standardization of organic labels…