The natural and organic cosmetics market in the US has been poorly served by certification bodies but over the last year a number of private standards have sprung up.
In May, the NPA launched its Natural Standard program and has now released the names of the first companies to meet its criteria and earn the right to display the natural seal.
Companies adopting the new standards
Aubrey Organics, Burt’s Bees and J.R. Watkins have all fulfilled the requirements and will soon be releasing their newly certified products onto cosmetics shelves.
To obtain the NPA natural seal the manufacturers had to follow guidelines set down by the certification body.
Most notably, at least 95 percent of the ingredients must be derived from natural sources. This is in line with the EcoCert standard and the criteria for the proposed harmonized European standard for natural cosmetics.
Proliferation of standards and controversy
In contrast to Europe, where certification bodies are edging ever closer to the launch of harmonized standards, in the US new private standards are appearing regularly creating some tension and disagreement.
Dr Bronner’s Magic Soap has gone as far as filing a lawsuit against the Organic and Sustainable Industry Standards (OASIS), which represents some of the largest organic cosmetics firms including Aveda and Hain Celestial.
The company claims OASIS falsely advertises products as organic when they contain conventional agricultural or petrochemical ingredients.
Such internal wrangling can only damage the natural and organic cosmetics industry in the eyes of consumers and cause further confusion as to what constitutes a genuinely natural or organic product.
Earlier in the year, market research company Organic Monitor welcomed the creation of new private standards in the US but warned that the proliferation of standards could become a source of confusion.