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Global Natural Cosmetics Market: The Battle of the Standards Gains Pace

Posted: June 15, 2009

Organic Monitor reported that the final version of the Cosmos standard has been announced. The launch comes after six years of negotiations between European natural and organic cosmetic certification agencies: Soil Association (UK), BDiH (Germany), Ecocert (France), Cosmebio (France), ICEA (Italy) and Ecogarantie (Belgium). Combined, these agencies provide certification to approximately 1,000 cosmetic companies and 10,000 products

Certification of the new Cosmos standard is expected to begin in September 2009. There has, according to Organic Monitor, been much anticipation of the new standard, initially perceived as the basis of a possible international standard, though Organic Monitor believes Cosmos is losing impetus because of its lengthy gestation period. A number of new initiatives, introduced in the last 18 months, are gaining momentum and could outpace Cosmos.

NaTrue is the main rival. The industry group launched its standard in May 2008, with the first certified products coming into the market at the end of the year. The popularity of the NaTrue standard is due, in part, because it is backed by some of the leading natural cosmetics brands in Europe.

A number of developments are also occurring in the U.S. In 2007, there were no standards for natural and organic cosmetics. Three separate initiatives are now moving forward with the backing of large cosmetic manufacturers.The front runner is Natural Products Association (NPA), which launched its natural standard in May 2008. More than 200 products are now certified according to the NPA standard. Burt’s Bees is one of the main supporters of the standard, providing $1 million to raise awareness of the standard and NPA logo.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) standard is expected to gain popularity. The NSF 305 standard is for cosmetic products that contain a minimum of 70% organic ingredients. Developed by organic cosmetic companies, it has recently received official recognition by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The main rival to the NSF 305 standard is OASIS, supported by companies such as Aveda and Hain Celestial.Similar developments are occurring in Latin America and the Asia-Pacific, where a number of private standards have been introduced.