Although the recent launch of the Cosmos certification scheme is aimed at harmonizing standards in Europe, it has been eight years in the making and during that time many more standards have been launched, adding to the complexity.
Organic Monitor points out that currently the take-up on natural and organic cosmetics is the highest in the world in Europe, but as it stands, certification in Western Europe has been largely divided up according to different schemes established in individual countries.
Soil Association, ICEA, BDH, Cosmebio...
Schemes such as the Soil Association standard have been largely confined to products retailing in the country of origin, the UK, with Organic Monitor pointing out that there has been little take up in other countries.
Likewise the ICEA has been largely confined to Italy, Cosmebio in France and BDH in Germany.
One certification has made an attempt at providing a more unified front. According to the market researchers the Natrue standard has made in-roads with regards the important issue of labelling – providing a uniform scheme covering 1,400 products.
However, once again, take up for the standard has been largely restricted to German-speaking country.
Ecocert more international
The standard with the most international coverage is Ecocert, which started off in France and has managed to spread beyond several key markets in Europe to Latin America and the Asia Pacific region.
This still leaves the issue of a pan-European certification in the balance, although the Cosmos standard does have the potential to bridge that gap.
However, with the first Cosmos certified products due to go on sale in Europe later this year, Organic Monitor points out that a major shortfall is the fact that there remains no common logo for consumers of natural and cosmetic cosmetics in Europe.
Ultimately this means the Cosmos standard will struggle to effectively unify or replace the numerous existing symbols and logos offered by other certifiers.