According to Kline’s "Global Natural Care Market Report", the double-digit growth rate of the natural care global market, reached a volume of USD 23.1 billion in 2010 (USD 20.1 billion in 2009). According to the market research firm, which presented the main quantitative features of the North American market during the Natural Beauty Summit, growth in the U.S. market alone is expected to reach USD 5.8 billion in sales by 2016.

Kline’s Consumer Industry Manager Nancy Mills attributes the dynamism of the natural personal care sector to ever growing consumer awareness of health, environmental, and sustainability concerns. “These drivers are near universal, but their influence varies significantly between markets,” she observes. "In Western Europe, consumers have a higher awareness and interest concerning product ingredients, business ethics, and sustainability practices, and many are astutely avoiding products which are natural only in positioning.

Regulatory insights

To this regard, third party certifications play a much more important role in Western Europe compared to the U.S. where both consumers and manufacturers appear quite confused by the profusion of integrated private standards.

Possible clarification could come from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), which is currently working to develop a standard for natural and organic cosmetics. Farah Ahmed, Vice President - Associate General Counsel at the U.S. Personal Care Products Council, closed the Natural Beauty Summit’s session devoted to regulations and standards, explaining that ISO is mainly working at defining what are natural and organic cosmetics and cosmetic ingredients and providing the corresponding technical criteria. However, Farah, who was appointed convenor of the ISO Cosmetic Marketing and Packaging Group in 2009, remained very cautious about the exact scope of the future standard.

Speaking at the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit, which was held at the end of the same week, Wendy McLain of PCC Natural Markets said that the lack of U.S. standards for natural and organic cosmetics puts the onus on retailers to educate consumers. Its company uses newsletters, in-store sampling and merchandising techniques to inform consumers about its natural cosmetics range.

Metric and Packaging Issues

In comparison to the Natural Beauty Summit, the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit was more focused on industry’s best practices, feedbacks and technical solutions, and devoted less time to the description of the market and consumer behaviour. The two key messages that emerged from the presentations were the need for better and more accurate measurement techniques for environmental impacts, as well as increase adoption rates of sustainable packaging.

Sustainable Cosmetics Summit, 2012

Sustainable Cosmetics Summit, 2012

Regarding the measurment of their environmental impact, although many companies are undertaking life-cycle analysis, varying methodologies, lack of standardized data and general difficulties in analyzing cosmetic formulations prevent accurate measurement.

Regarding packaging issues, which according to Intertek, comprises a third of landfill waste, speakers stressed the importance of eco-design in reducing their impact. Innovations in recycled packaging and the potential of bio-plastics and novel packaging materials were also highlighted.

Following the success of its North American edition, Organic Monitor, the organiser of the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit also announced its intention to host its first-ever Latin American edition on 25-27th September 2012 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

As for the next edition of the Natural Beauty Summit Europe, it will take place on 10 and 11 September 2012 in Paris.