Organic Monitor Unravels Natural & Organic Cosmetic Standards

New research finds the number of natural & organic cosmetic standards is proliferating; however prospects for a global unified standard appear low.

Organic Monitor’s new Technical Insights report critically assesses the leading international natural & organic cosmetic standards. A major finding is that although standards are gaining in popularity, adoption is mostly on a national basis. Very few standards have built a regional – let alone international - presence. Furthermore, the differences between the most popular standards in each region remain wide.

Standards are the most widely adopted in Europe where almost two-thirds of all natural & organic cosmetic products are certified. Organic Monitor ( estimates that the market value of certified products exceeded EUR 1 billion this year. Ecocert and BDIH are the leading standards, partly because of the high adoption rates in France and Germany respectively. Ecocert’s popularity is partially because it has a natural and organic standard, whereas most certification agencies have just an organic standard.

Although various standards have been introduced in North America over the last 18 months, very few products have become certified. Organic Monitor estimates that less than 5% of natural & organic cosmetics are certified in the region. Backed by leading natural cosmetic companies, the Natural Products Association (NPA) standard is the frontrunner. The NSF ANSI 305 ‘made with organic’ standard is expected to gain popularity once certification begins. The absence of an organic cosmetic standard however, is leading to a number of American companies to adopt the USDA NOP standard. Although designed for organic food products, it is popular with cosmetic companies that use food-grade ingredients.

Natural & organic cosmetic standards are also being introduced in other regions such as the Asia-Pacific and Latin America. The adoption rates however are exceptionally low. Many natural cosmetic companies in these regions focus on exports, making them favour European standards. The Ecocert standard has become the most popular in countries such as Japan, Malaysia and Brazil.

Organic Monitor also undertakes a critical review of new regional and international initiatives such as Cosmos and NaTrue. The practical implications of new Cosmos standard, scheduled to be implemented in January 2010, are discussed. The Cosmos standard has been developed over 7 years of negotiations between leading certification agencies in Europe; its launch is expected to mark a milestone for the European natural cosmetics industry. However, its goal of becoming an eventual European standard is facing competition from NaTrue. Over 150 products have become certified by NaTrue since the standard was launched a year ago.

Organic Monitor’s Technical Insights report is a practical guide for companies looking to adopt natural & organic cosmetic standards. A detailed analysis is given of the leading natural & organic cosmetic standards in each region. Comparisons are made between the leading natural standards and organic standards worldwide. The report highlights the major technical & formulation challenges of adopting standards, specifying the permitted / prohibited ingredients, raw material and formulation issues. Details are also given of formulators & contract manufacturers of certified products, as well as suppliers of certified raw materials.

Natural & organic cosmetic standards (including Cosmos, NaTrue, NPA and other international standards) will be featured in the upcoming Sustainable Cosmetics Summit. Taking place in Frankfurt (Nov 16-17th), the summit will also focus on some of the major technical issues companies face with natural & organic cosmetics.

Research Publication

#8041-11 Technical Insights: A Critical Assessment of Natural & Organic Cosmetic Standards

Publication Date: November 2009

More information on

Sustainable Cosmetics Summit

Some of the leading organisations involved in sustainability in the beauty industry will congregate at the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit, taking place in Frankfurt, November 16-17th 2009. Registration for the summit is now almost closed, with just a few seats available. There are plans to host the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit in USA, Europe and Asia in 2010.

More details are is available from

About Organic Monitor
Organic Monitor is a specialist research & consulting company that focuses on the global organic & related product industries. Since our formation in 2001, we have been providing a range of business services to operators in high-growth ethical & sustainable industries. Our services include market research publications, business & technical consulting, summits, seminars & workshops. Visit us at

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