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

Posted: June 15, 2009

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Organic Monitor expects standards that provide regional coverage to be the most successful. The major attraction of the Cosmos standard is that it is a pan-European initiative. Cosmetic and ingredient companies only need to meet this single standard to gain recognition in the European market. However, a major drawback of Cosmos is that it will not replace any of the existing symbols and logos. It merely provides a baseline standard for natural and organic cosmetic products. For this reason, initial interest in Cosmos is expected to mainly come from companies who already have products certified by Cosmos member organizations.

NaTrue is winning support because of its uniform labeling scheme. The standard has three levels: organic, made with organic ingredients, and natural. Thus, certified products carry identical symbols, unlike Cosmos certified products.The NaTrue standard is also taking the lead for a possible global natural and organic cosmetics standard. It has already entered an equivalency agreement with NSF for its made with organic ingredients standard. A similar equivalency agreement with NPA for the natural standard is scheduled to be signed in July. These equivalency agreements are important, as they prevent repeat certification of products and can facilitate market access. Thus, a European company adopting the NaTrue standard will be able to access the North American market by getting its products certified by NSF and / or NPA.

In summary, the Cosmos standard has been much anticipated by companies looking to develop natural and organic cosmetics and ingredients for the European market. NaTrue has a much lower adoption rate than the Cosmos members in Europe, however its major advantage is a uniform labeling scheme. With its strategic tie-ups with American certification agencies, NaTrue is also providing access to the lucrative North American market.

Organic Monitor has launched a series of Natural Cosmetics Masterclasses to specifically address questions such as: What natural and organic cosmetic standards to adopt; What are the differences between the standards; and What are the major technical and formulation issues. The exact details of the finalized Cosmos standard, NaTrue standard, North American initiatives and other standards are covered in Organic Monitor’s Masterclass series. Each Masterclass will critically review and compare the major natural and organic cosmetic standards, looking specifically at the technical, formulation and ingredient issues.