Cosmos is an alliance of five private organic and natural cosmetic organizations. Members include: BDIH of Germany, Cosmébio and Ecocert of France, ICEA of Italy and the Soil Association of Britain. Some of the founding members certifications are already used on foreign soil, but one standard set of requirements is yet to exist.
Other certification organizations outside of Europe may follow suit and apply for the right to certify products using the Cosmos standards.
The internationally recognized certification is of particular interest for cosmetic exporters who are in need of a certification trusted by consumers globally.
Details of the certification process have yet to be agreed upon, but are projected to be completed later this year. This leaves some cosmetic manufacturers and brands alike cautious to celebrate the label before knowing the full details.
Cost is another issue that companies are concerned about. Many companies are hesitant to invest in the new certification without knowing how it will be received by the global consumer. The exact price has not yet been determined by the association and is still under negotiation. The fee will be divided into two parts: one for the use of the Cosmos association, and the other for whichever body carries out certification.
Cosmos is not the only certification association to come to light in recent months. NaTrue label, founded in 2007 by a group of German and Swiss cosmetic companies has created their own natural and organic label that is receiving high marks amongst industry reps and is currently available.
NaTrue members include some of the leading European brands, including Weleda and Dr. Hauschka, both natural deodorants. More than 150 products already carry its label, and it recently certified U.S. brand Burt’s Bees. Starting March 2010, raw material suppliers can also certify their raw materials under the NaTrue label.
The market is ripe for a global standard of natural and organic cosmetics. Consumer demand for organic cosmetics has grown at double-digit rates in recent years. Organic and natural cosmetics still have only a 2 percent share of the total cosmetics market in Western Europe, according to Organic Monitor. But that share grew 13 percent in 2009, and even faster in previous years.
A survey by the North American retailer Saffron Rouge, for instance, found that 77 percent of its customers trusted third-party certification, while 72 percent would not trust natural and organic claims from brand owners. This highlights the utter importance for companies and brands to fairly and accurately label their products with a trustworthy certification.