Five European organizations have formed an alliance to develop international standards for organic and natural cosmetics.
The alliance, Cosmos—for COSMetic Organic Standard—is composed of BDIH in Germany, Cosmebio and Ecocert in France, ICEA in Italy and the Soil Association in Great Britain. The five are trade or consumer associations as well as private certification bodies for natural and organic cosmetics.
The founding members have agreed to coordinate their standards for natural and organic labeling by the end of 2014 and are working on details of the certification process, including fees, according to a press release.
“The association will also provide a platform for the exchange of scientific, social and economic experience in the area of organic and natural cosmetics as well as raw materials and processing methods,” said Pierre Charlier, secretary of the board of directors, in the release.
Cosmos will be open to new members and joins a handful of similar organizations also working to set standards for organic and natural personal care products.
NSF International established its American National Standard for Personal Care Products Containing Organic Ingredients (NSF/ANSI 305), a collaboration among a number of industry organizations.
The Natural Products Association and NaTrue, an international natural and organic cosmetics association based in Brussels, announced in March that they planned to work toward a mutual recognition agreement. The agreement would mean that products complying with either the NPA or NaTrue standards would be recognized by each body.
Daniel Fabricant, NPA’s vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs, said organizations such as Cosmos shouldn’t be viewed as competitors nor does he see much value in a single organization at this point.
“The standards are very similar,” Fabricant said. “They have a lot more in common than they do differences. At some point, they will all converge. It’s all about promoting natural products.”
Fabricant emphasized that manufacturers should not be confused by the different groups or use the differences as a reason to wait to apply for certification.
“Consumers are the ones who are confused,” he said. “They see so many products in the marketplace.”