Unravelling the Signs
Posted on October 17 2017
Our obsession for all things natural is growing rapidly. We are becoming more aware of what we put on our skin as well inside our bodies, however, this is not often supported by fact. Many manufacturers are not labelling their products correctly and some are telling blatant untruths about their ingredients, supply chain and environmental impact.
The Soil Association conducted some research in which it found that 76% of consumers were confused and felt mislead by labels on products. This is quite disconcerting considering that the Organic health & beauty industry was worth more than £60 million in 2016 in the UK alone.
Unfortunately, with no concrete definition of what 'organic' means within the beauty industry, it was a problem that needed serious attention. Many producers were claiming to be so even though a very small percentage of their ingredients were organically grown. It doesn't just stop with the end product though. The whole supply chain-farming methods, production methods, source of ingredients and environment all need to be considered when the issue of 'legit' organic product arises. The question of natural products has also come under fire with more producers opting for 'green' products as opposed to products which are free from harmful chemicals as well as being environmentally friendly.
The most recent international certification for standards within health & wellbeing is COSMOS-Cosmetic Organic Standard. Composed of the five main bodies that oversee natural and organic standards within the industry in the UK and Europe. BDIH in Germany, Cosmebio and Ecocert in France and ICEA in Italy have joined forces to form COSMOS to allow for clarity and uniformity within the industries guidelines. There were many independent accreditations, such as ICEA, Ecocert & Soil Association however, these all had different standards as to what they considered 'natural' & 'organic'. COSMOS was officially launched in 2010, after much deliberation, and allows the consumer to have peace of mind not only in the product they are buying but also in the manufacturing procedures of the brand, the environment it is produced in and the level of sustainability the brand concerns itself with when sourcing ingredients and packaging.
In addition to this, the brains behind this certification recognise that not everything natural is necessarily organic and so have accounted for 'COSMOS-Natural' too. All criteria being the same, except for the omission of 'organic' from within the requirements.
This new standard is encouraging more accountability within the industry ensuring that manufacturers cannot make false statements or 'beef up' claims to being organic and/or natural when they do not even come close.
Very reassuring we say, as those of us who do strive to bring you exactly what it says on the label (ahem, no names mentioned...!) can now hold our heads up high...er than those who say they do, but don't!