Organic Consumers Association

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The EU Wants ISO for Natural Cosmetics - There's a Problem Here!

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Coming Cleaning Campaign page and our Myth of Natural page.

The natural cosmetics industry and consumer groups have for years been calling for a legal definition of natural cosmetics. The aim is make it easier for consumers to choose genuine natural cosmetics and to prevent greenwashing. There have been discussions at EU level for some time about creating an ISO standard, and now it could apply to natural cosmetics from as early as 2015.  In the opinion of the manufacturers of natural cosmetics and their representatives, there is a danger that this standard, driven by the cosmetics industry, will leave the way wide open for greenwashing. On 4 and 5 November, Natrue and GfK presented a study and attempted to convince members of parliament of the holistic approach contained in the currently applicable standards.

The EU Commission believes that in creating an ISO Standard for natural cosmetics it has found a solution to unifying the regulations in this sector. But, in the group of experts advising on an ISO standard, the strong lobby representing the cosmetics corporations is the dominating voice, and we can assume that this lobby has launched the international ISO solution to make it easier for themselves to conquer the growth segment natural cosmetics.

Although the ISO standard is still at the draft stage, it's high time the natural cosmetics sector did some explaining. In the spirit of constructive cooperation, MPs and the Commission should be given all the information to convince them that the existing system of official regulations gives consumers the freedom of choice they want. The international association Natrue, domiciled in Brussels, has been addressing the ISO issue for a long time and on 4 and 5 November it will have the opportunity to urge the members of the European Parliament and the Commission DG Sanco not to adopt the plan to introduce the ISO standard for natural cosmetics in the intended form. During the two-day event in the EU Parliament in Brussels, the results will be presented of the study that was commissioned by Natrue and carried out by the market research company GfK. The title of the study is Natural & Organic Cosmetics: Meeting Consumer Expectations.           

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