As part of its organic month initiative in the UK throughout September, the Soil Association is this week running an organic beauty week in the country, and taking the opportunity to raise awareness of the new Cosmetics Organic Standard (COSMOS).
The new standard is the brainchild from a collaboration of the Soil Association with four other European partners, according, by which they hope to “harmonise organic standards globally”, according to the association’s website.
Response to green washing
The new COSMOS standard comes at a time when criticism of the lack of clear, strict regulation of green, naturals and organics claims in the beauty industry has been mounting.
Collectively, the use of these terms as branding tools with no scientific backing has come to be known as ‘greenwashing’: the practice of presenting something as natural, organic or green when it can only partly - or in some cases, not at all - meet these claims.
Recently, trade group NATRUE spoke out against the trend of greenwashing, noting; “Consumers are increasingly aware and informed, however the phenomenon of greenwashing, the tendency to present as natural something which is far from it, is still a risk for our sector.”
COSMOS response: two levels
The COSMOS certification, from the Soil Association, BGIH, Cosmebio, Ecocert and ICEA, aims to offer international assurance that a basic standard is being met when products make these claims.
“Whether you’re in Spain for Singapore, the standards remain the same,” notes the Soil Association on its website.
The standard is available in two levels; one for organic products, and one for natural ones.
Organic: “If your product is based on oils and extracts, then 95% of the ingredients must be organic to obtain COSMOS organic certification,” notes the Soil Association.
Natural: “COSMOS Natural products will be made up of naturally sourced products and may or may not contain organic ingredients.”
The organisation notes that the entire supply chain is considered and assessed in the awarding of the COSMOS certification, and all ingredients must meet “strict criteria involving green chemistry principles.”