The COSMOS international standard has been around for a while, but at the start of this year, several national accreditation bodies agreed that any product these partners certify now have to meet the COSMOS standard, allow for regional consistency. Here, we take a look at the certification and the implications for the industry across Europe.
What is COSMOS?
The new region-wide push behind the COSMOS standard is collaborative effort from five key European organic certification bodies: the Soil Association, BDIH, Cosmebio, Ecocert and ICEA.
The aim is to remove the requirement for multiple certification costs and site inspections for companies working across the region, and offer a more coherent accreditation for consumers.
According to the organisations, it’s set to be maintained by ongoing assessment and a physical site inspection every year to ensure continued compliance with required standards.
Types of certification: natural and organic
With the trends for natural and organic products often overlapping, it’s important to make distinctions between the two claims clear to consumers.
In this light, COSMOS offers two types of certification (For more information, the COSMOS standard in full is available here.)
- COSMOS Organic
This certification is split over varying degrees. For a product to be called organic e.g 'Organic facial oil' 95% of all ingredients must be organic. For “made with organic” products, 20% of all ingredients must be organic for leave-on products. For “made with organic” products, 10% of all ingredients must be organic for rinse-off product.
- COSMOS Natural
Natural products mainly contain ingredients from natural origin. They may contain some organic ingredients, but not enough to meet the standards to be labelled ‘organic’.
For all certified products ingredients must meet strict criteria and respect the principles of green chemistry, and product packaging and cleaning materials used in production facilities must also meet the standards. The entire supply chain is verified providing a guarantee of the quality and integrity of products.
Schemes for suppliers
Along with the certifications themselves, COSMOS also offers three schemes aimed at companies that supply materials to be used in COSMOS certified organic and/or natural cosmetic products.