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Natural and organic cosmetics: The race for ethical labels to continues

The number of ethical labels is mushrooming in the cosmetic industry, with natural and organic labels gaining most traction, and the trend will continue, said Organic Monitor.

Over 20 different types of labels are now present on cosmetic and personal care products, representing some ethical, sustainability and / or safety aspects. Some, such as Fairtrade and gluten-free, have crossed over from the food industry. Whilst others like EWG Verified and the Whole Foods Market Premium Body Care have been especially designed for such products,” explains the market research firm.

Natural and organic standards

Natural and organic are the most established ethical labelling schemes, especially in Western Europe where about 3% of personal care products are certified according to popular standards. A spike in adoption rates is envisaged when the ISO standard for natural and organic cosmetics is introduced in the coming months. “Although there are concerns that ISO 16128 maybe a weak standard, it will be hailed as the first international standard for natural and organic cosmetics,” adds Organic Monitor.

There is also a growing move towards national standards / labels for natural and organic cosmetics. South Korea plans to have a national standard for such products. The Brazilian government has already regulated the ‘organic cosmetic’ term, paving the way for an eventual national standard. Australia introduced its national standard for organic cosmetics in 2013.

Natural and organic labels will become more established when the ISO standard is launched, and as more countries introduce national standards / labelling schemes,” analyses Organic Monitor.

Other ethical concerns

However, other ethical labels are also gaining currency. The Fairtrade mark is becoming highly visible on personal care products in the UK, USA, France and other countries.

The Halal label is arguably the most prospective in Asia which houses over 1 billion Muslim consumers. Its high potential is leading large ingredient firms, such as BASF and Clariant, to develop Halal-certified raw materials.

Whether natural, organic, Fairtrade or Halal, ethical labels are becoming a permanent fixture of the cosmetics industry. The question is whether the number of labelling schemes and standards will continue to grow and proliferate, or whether some degree of harmonisation is possible,” questions Organic Monitor.

The future direction of ethical labels will be featured in the Latin American and Asia-Pacific editions of the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit. A dedicated workshop at the Asia-Pacific edition will give details of leading Halal labelling schemes, as well as an update on natural and organic labels (including ISO 16128 and national standards).

Sustainable Cosmetics Summits Agenda:

  • Latin American edition: 14-16 September, São Paulo, Brazil
  • European edition: 24-26 October, Paris
  • Asia-Pacific edition: 14-15 November, Hong Kong

    www.sustainablecosmeticssummit.com

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