According to market researchers Organic Monitor, the most important development in the year ahead will be the development of European natural and organic standards. The company's latest research suggests that certification agencies in Europe have been working on the harmonization of private standards for the past year now, and that the new standards are set to be unveiled in June 2008. This new standard aims to give natural and organic cosmetic products uniform logos for the first time, cutting out the plethora of certification programs and accompanying logos that consumers have found confusing. Move aims to bring certification up to food standards The move aims to bring the certification process for the category in line with that of organic food in the European Union, a program that was formally introduced in 1992. Organic Monitor points out that this is in contrast to the US, where there is likely to be further proliferation of standards in the year to come as certification agencies, industry groups and retailers all strive to distinguish organic and natural cosmetic products. However, despite the fact that the industry is reacting to the need to address confusion over natural and organic cosmetic products, the market researcher believes that the resulting rash of certification programs is also divisive. Ultimately this is likely to see the industry moving in one of two directions. Either further confusion for consumers, or else success in differentiating genuine natural and organic cosmetics products from what the market researcher terms 'pseudo-products'. More certification could lead to trade obstacles But another obstacle is also likely to present itself - the fragmentation of global trade as standards develop in different directions and according to different agendas, much the same as the current situation within the organic food industry. However, on a more optimistic note Organic Monitor points out that at this crucial and defining moment in the category's development, certification standards could equally go the way of those for the textile industry, which in 2004 formed the Global Organic Textile Standard. Organic Monitor will be giving seminars and workshops on the implications of these natural and organic cosmetics standards in the coming months. Email email@example.com for further information.