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The ‘green’ sector will only grow if we have consistency in the language used


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The ‘green’ sector will only grow if we have consistency in the language used
At a time when the cosmetics industry has been accused of ‘greenwashing’ and terms are bandied around and used so freely, the Soil Association says that the only way the sector is going to grow is if we have consistency in the language we use.

The topic of ‘green’ and certification is one that is often discussed in the natural and organic cosmetics market, so CosmeticsDesign-Europe.com spoke exclusively with Emma Reinhold, Trade Relations Manager at the Soil Association to discuss this.

With recent research showing that the number of ethical labels in cosmetics is increasing, it has led people to question if this may create confusion, and Emma says that this is where natural and organic companies have to make sure the language they use, doesn’t add to this.

“The only way the ‘green’ sector is going to continue to grow and thrive is if we have some consistency in the language we use,” ​she tells us.

“Consumers are already confused by the language used in non-organic beauty and therefore apprehensive when it comes to buying so the more green messages that are out there will only confuse them further.”

Reinhold explains that COSMOS has come a long way in developing a harmonised way of talking about organic but there is more opportunity to develop this further; with the Soil Association launching its Campaign for Clarity, which is a new initiative calling on the industry to clean up its act around greenwashing  and be clearer when it comes labelling organic.

“Formulators have to be really smart when developing organic beauty products."

So much more than just marketing

Criticisms levelled at certification have been that they are merely a marketing exercise for some companies; however Reinhold says that certification should rather be complementary to any individual brand story, and it can then take this further in the knowledge that its supply chain and manufacturing process complies to the highest organic standards.

“I don’t think this​ [certification as a marketing ploy] is true as obtaining certification is no walk in the park,” ​she adds.

“If you are a brand that wanted to just use certification as a marketing exercise, I think you’d soon change your mind. It’s so much more than this.”

In order to get certification and create a truly organic beauty product, a company must follow the standards, which means that the number of ingredients and manufacturing processes open to them suddenly shrinks

“Formulators have to be really smart when developing organic beauty products. That’s why many don’t opt for it,”​ Emma continues.

“This is not a negative though as the quality of these certified organic products is often superior to their non-organic counterparts and it goes to show that it is possible to make effective, high performance organic beauty products, it’s just the industry has got too used to non-organic processes.”

Certification nitty-gritty

Reinhold says the importance of certification with an accredited organisation is that it ensures beauty products are truly organic and gives the supply chain the reassurance and confidence that the ingredients and products meet specific requirements and standards.

Unlike organic food, there are no legal standards for organic beauty products, which means the sector has been left wide open to interpretation, and this means that some products that companies choose to label as organic contain as little as 1% organic ingredients, while the other 99% might not comply with the ingredients permitted by the standards.

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