The Cosmos standard was published last month after 6 years of consultation between some of Europe’s top certifying bodies.
Many industry analysts have criticised the length of time taken by the participating certifiers to publish the standard, and now its major rival in the European certification market has criticised its content.
Criticisms of inconsistency
According to NaTrue, the natural products interest group that published its own standard back in 2008, the criteria for natural products under the Cosmos standard is inconsistent.
“There is no minimum requirement for the use of natural ingredients and no maximum threshold for the use of chemically processed agro-ingredients in products labelled Cosmos-natural,” according to NaTrue.
However, Francis Blake, standards and technical director for the Soil Association, one of the participating ceritifers, refutes the inconsistency claim.
“More or less the whole product has to be of natural origin…the exceptions are a very limited list of ‘other’ ingredients in Annex V and Annex VI that are allowed,” he told CosmeticsDesign.
As most of the exceptions are preservatives and other additives that are self limiting by function (only very small amounts are needed and there would be no need to add more) it would be meaningless to limit them, Blake argued.
‘Lack of clarity’
NaTrue also claimed that there is a lack or clarity and transparency to the standard as there is no list of permitted ingredients.
According to Blake this was a purposeful decision on the part of Cosmos as a list of permitted ingredients was thought to be too simplistic.
“As important as the ingredient itself is, how it is produced is of equal or greater importance. Therefore the Cosmos standard concentrates on this issue, together with ecotoxicity and biodegradable limits,” he said.
“Yes it makes it more complex but then we are dealing with a very complex subject,” he added.
Another criticism from NaTrue regards the principles of green chemistry that Cosmos has included in its standard.
For NaTrue these are too vague to be of use to a participating company. For Blake it is a necessary step in the right direction with the idea that more specific details and requirements will be added at a later date when it becomes possible to do so.
Although it has been published, the Cosmos standard has to be accepted by the member organisations, Soil Association, Ecocert, Cosmebio, BDIH, Bioforum and ICEA, before companies can certify to it. The first Cosmos certified products are expected early next year.