Did you know? Since January 2017, a new organic label has been created to regulate organic cosmetics: the “ECOCERT – COSMOS® Organic” label. Find out the significance of this new label.
For many years in Europe, eco-responsible consumers have had the choice among several organic labels each with their own set of rules and specific requirements which differ from one country to another.
In January 2017, the new organic label “COSMOS®” was created with the aim of harmonizing these different certification guidelines for organic and natural cosmetics, between countries.
Five European associations and certification bodies – ECOCERT (France), Cosmebio® (France), BDIH® (Germany), AIAB/ICEA (Italy) and Soil Association® (UK) – who were working together on the promotion of organic and natural products, initiated the project.
This new organic label thus defines a common set of minimum requirements and offers identical guarantees to consumers worldwide. In Europe, this represents the most demanding label for organic and natural cosmetics.
THE ECOCERT REFERENCIAL
ECOCERT was the first certification body to develop standards for “natural and organic cosmetics”. Founded in France in 1991, ECOCERT has specialized in the certification of organic products and has established itself as a world reference in organic certification, particularly for consumers and professionals.
The ECOCERT standard was designed to inspect the ingredients, the manufacturing process and the packaging of cosmetic products, to ensure the compliance of raw materials, formulas, as well as the packaging used. Only environmentally friendly and “green chemistry” products are suitable for approval and accredited by ECOCERT. The organization strives to promote the use of renewable resource ingredients and environmentally sound production and manufacturing processes.
THE COSMOS® REFERENCIAL
The COSMOS® referencial reiterates all the principles of the ECOCERT reference system. This new standard imposes specific regulations that cover all aspects of the supply, manufacturing, production, marketing and control of cosmetic products.
The certification process includes an annual audit of registered companies, suppliers and manufacturers to ensure that all COSMOS® requirements are met.
The guiding principles of the COSMOS® referencial are:
- to promote the use of products from organic farming and to respect biodiversity;
- to promote using natural resources responsibly while respecting the environment;
- to promote the use of clean manufacturing processes that respect human health and the environment;
- to promote the integration and development of the concept of “Green Chemistry”;
- to ensure transparency for all consumers.
Only biodegradable ingredients are accepted in the formulations. The COSMOS® standard classifies the types of ingredients used into five categories and defines the requirements for each.
- Agro-ingredients physically transformed – at least 95% of the total ingredients must be organic according to the list set out in the standard. Only a simple physical transformation is permitted;
- Agro-ingredients chemically processed – must be obtained from raw agricultural materials and comply with clean manufacturing processes in accordance with the principles of “Green Chemistry”.
- Water – must respect strict hygiene standards;
- Minerals and ingredients of mineral origin – must be clean and comply with specific environmental regulations regarding their use and treatment;
- Other Ingredients – a very limited list of preservatives and certain permitted ingredients, as long as there are no effective natural alternatives available, are permitted in order to ensure consumer safety or product efficacy.
The packaging must be ecological, recyclable and reduced to a minimum. An environmental waste management plan for the production site must be established.
The COSMOS® ORGANIC certification requires that 95% of the product’s agro-ingredients be certified organic. The finished product must contain at least 20% of organic ingredients that have been physically and/or chemically transformed, irrespective of water and minerals. The remaining 80% of the finished product may be of natural origin and is not used in the calculation of the percentage of organic ingredients. For rinsing products with a higher water content, the finished product must contain at least 10% organic ingredients.
The COSMOS® ORGANIC label represents the most demanding standard in Europe.
In cosmetics, there is another level of certification: COSMOS® Natural, for which the requirements are lower than COSMOS® Organic requirements.