With the start of every New Year we can ask ourselves what will change for natural and organic cosmetics. What will impact our sector in the next year? The primary question for many is: as 1st January 2017 dawns will there be a European harmonised standard for Natural and Organic Cosmetics?
The simple answer is: No.
The absence of European harmonised standard for Natural and Organic Cosmetics has been previously communicated in an official statement by the EU Commission that can be found here.
This means the current regulatory framework remains identical on 1st January 2017:
· In the absence of an official regulatory definition of Natural and Organic Cosmetic products there exist private, voluntary standards like that of NATRUE, which sets criteria for the NATRUE Label.
· Natural and Organic Cosmetic products are still an officially undefined sector of the tightly regulated European industry.
"On 1st January 2017 there will not be a mandatory European harmonised standard setting criteria for all Natural and Organic Cosmetics, and there will be no obligatory Label in Europe for Natural and Organic Cosmetics on this date either", said Dr Mark Smith, Director General NATRUE, who added that "NATRUE will continue to advocate that any future regulatory definition of Natural and Organic Cosmetics must be appropriate, relevant and strict, and pending an official regulatory definition the strict NATRUE Label criteria will continue."
Even in the absence of European harmonised standard for Natural and Organic Cosmetics, NATRUE looks forward positively to 2017, and its continued mission to protect and promote natural and organic cosmetics for the benefit of consumers worldwide.
Taking place at MalmöMässan in Sweden on 16-17th November, the show’s seminar line-up will revolve around numerous hot topics including emerging natural beauty trends, authenticity of natural and organic cosmetics, sustainability, allergies, raw materials, and specialist skincare products among others. NATRUE will contribute with the participation of Director General Dr. Mark Smith who will be holding a seminar on Thursday 17th November.
How to define authentic natural and organic cosmetic products? - 17th November 13:00-13:45 at the Natural Beauty Theatre
Dr. Smith will explore the current regulatory framework of the natural and organic cosmetics sector, providing a clear overview on the characterization of 'authentic' natural and organic cosmetics in the industry that for the most part carry a seal. "Consumers still struggle when it comes to understanding the differences between labels, what requirements are behind them, and whether or not they offer the same degree of strictness and transparency. Therefore, it is increasingly important to positively engage with consumers to help their understanding of what's behind each seal, so that they can avoid those labels which are, for example, just a self-declaration or those with a weak criteria", explains Dr. Smith in anticipation of his talk.
In addition, Dr. Smith will focus on a comparison between the NATRUE Standard and the provisions of the ISO Guidelines, the first part of which has recently been released. According to NATRUE's Director General, these Guidelines "represent a weakening of the current, stronger definitions for what a natural cosmetic should be, and so have the potential risk to undermine future consumer trust in the sector."
A GfK study commissioned in 2014 by NATRUE involving 900 consumers from six countries reveals that over 60% are reassured by the presence of a label. Those who claim to know one or more labels mostly* report that their presence is one of the decisive criteria at the time of purchase (*49% relating to several labels).
This is a well-deserved confidence, but... among these informed consumers, who knows the specifications and checks that give their favorite cream that extra confidence? Indeed, in order for everyone to do their cosmetics purchases with closed eyes, verifications in several stages (both upstream and downstream) have been implemented, from the fields to the packaging.
The first step of the certification is achieved through a documentation check. This is a time during which the manufacturer works with an independent certification body that accompanies him through the process, in close collaboration with NATRUE and its Scientific Committee Criteria and Label. First, the certification body will check the documentation related to the product range, including the formulations and INCI designations as well as the proof of origin of the raw materials for their compliance with the NATRUE Standard.
Secondly, the certification body will undertake a production audit. "The person in charge of the audit visited the facility, examined everything in detail, including the data sheets of the raw materials (for example, statements of our suppliers regarding non-GMO presence...) but also the reported amounts, the state of raw material stocks, the shares... Indeed, it is important to check that we sell what we declare producing!" explains Marie Bardou from Beauty Garden, a young French NATRUE organic certified brand.
"I admit that the process is not exactly a cakewalk for us!", adds Domenico Scordari, founder of the company Natura e Benessere with a smile: "an inspector of the certification body spends several days to check our ingredient lists, our compositions; everything is examined and controlled. But this certification and these checks are a guarantee of credibility and reliability for the brands we work with."
The NATRUE organic cosmetics certification (the most demanding level of the three certification categories of the Standard, guaranteeing a proportion of at least 95% of natural ingredients derived from controlled organic cultivation and/or controlled wild collection) brings objective "proof" of this level of requirement.
For brands that formulate using ingredients processed by other companies, the NATRUE certification is the way to integrate proof of respect for nature in their products, ensuring that all ingredients and their use have been checked at every production stage.
Added value of NATRUE
Domenico continues: "the presence of many national labels for organic cosmetics is confusing for consumers but also for the producers: in fact, as a third party manufacturer we must succeed in designing products that meet standards which vary by country. The advantage of NATRUE: it is an international standard known around the world. Therefore, my clients are certain to offer a product whose specifications are understood by consumers who are more and more informed worldwide. Besides, it is probably no coincidence that all my clients are growing businesses!"
Marie Bardou adds: "as, to date, no "European standard" for natural and organic cosmetics exists, we have chosen a certification that tells our story as accurately as possible, and above all that distinguishes us from other brands whose approach is not quite as sharp, using objective, verifiable criteria that are verified by a third party."
The NATRUE certification tells a story, based on integrity and on the reliability of ingredients and methods used. A story which increasingly becomes a shared value for industries and consumers.
NATRUE renews web communication and integrates the Italian language. To keep visitors always informed about natural, organic and certified cosmetics, the International Association based in Brussels and born to promote and protect authentic natural and organic cosmetics, has decided to renew its website and integrate an Italian version amongst the other languages, in the face of the ever growing amount of brands and certified products on the Italian market, i.e. approximately 30% of the total.
www.natrue.org is characterized by a modern and attractive layout, designed to make navigation easy, immediate and intuitive, also optimized for Smartphone and Tablet. The integration of social networks and the ability to subscribe to the newsletter was also a must.
From the main menu, you can wander around the site and join the sections dedicated to consumers, manufacturers, and the media. In particular, consumers can find news and useful insights to recognize true natural and organic cosmetics and information on the added value of the NATRUE certification. You can also consult the list of certified products with pictures, descriptions, usage advice, find companies that produce them and the references sold in Italy.
"A user-friendly and multilingual website, thus accessible to an increasing number of consumers, enhances NATRUE's goal of creating culture on certified natural and organic cosmetics. Who approaches the world of bio beauty must, in fact, be provided with continuity and immediacy of information as well as correct indications to meet the challenges posed by greenwashing or the tendency to pass off as natural and organic products that actually are not", explained Francesca Morgante, NATRUE Label & Communication Manager.
Over 60% of European consumers are reassured by the presence of certification marks, especially in the natural and organic cosmetics sector. This point of fact is something that NATRUE knows very well after appointing GFK to research the consumers' behaviour which led to the study entitled "Exploring the Territory of Natural and Organic Cosmetics".
The survey results, involving more than 900 women aged between 25 and 65 from six European countries including Germany, France, Italy, Poland, Sweden and the UK will be among the issues presented by NATRUE at Sana 2016.
"Consumers are increasingly aware and informed, however the phenomenon of greenwashing, the tendency to present as natural something which is far from it, is still a risk for our sector. Our participation to Sana, along with seven of our partner companies, goes in this direction: we want to work together to promote authentic natural and organic cosmetics by explaining the strict criteria of NATRUE and certification processes, which ingredients are allowed and in what proportion. To offer even greater assurance to the consumers, our standard requires that for each brand not only a few products are to be certified, but at least 75% of the line" says Francesca Morgante, NATRUE Label & Communication Manager.
At its Pavilion (Hall 36 stand D66 / E65), NATRUE will present seven partner companies including some of the founding members of the Association such as Laverana, WALA - Dr. Hauschka and Weleda.
Not to be missed: new natural formulations of Cosnature, Fair Squared with its Vegan and Halal lines, Weckerle Cosmetics that produces according to the NATRUE standard for private labels, and Naturativ, afamous Polish brand that mixes tradition and innovation.
Klara Ahlers, NATRUE's President and Managing Director Sales & Marketing of Laverana GmbH & Co. KG recalls: "The natural and organic cosmetics market is fast growing in Italy and is no longer a niche segment. We are pleased to come back to Sana where lavera was launched nearly 30 years ago".
"Natures's Treasures Transformed for You" is the founding principle of WALA - Dr. Hauschka, which highlights the importance of the rhythm and the alternation of hot and cold polarity, stasis and movement, light and dark to create its own natural ingredients, obtained from biodynamic or organic sources. Dr. Hauschka cosmetics offer a complete line of treatments dedicated to the face, the body and make-up. The Dr. Hauschka makeup station will be a welcome addition at SANA with makeup sessions available for visitors at the stand.
Weleda will reveal the brand new NATRUE certified scented water. "We are proud to have adopted the NATRUE standard for our products," says Stefano Riva, Managing Director of Weleda Italy, "because its criteria are so high and strict that they represent a stimulus to increasingly improve the natural quality of our products".
Finally, NATRUE will make a further contribution to the trade fair thanks to Francesca Morgante's participation, on Saturday 10th September at 11am, in the talk show organized by CCPB and Siste, "Organic cosmetics: a question of label?", held in the Sala Melodia near the Service Centre block B.
Our 40-year journey began with this Directive whose purpose was to harmonise the law covering cosmetic products, which has since improved and benefited the industry and consumers alike. For manufactures it provided a definition for what a cosmetic product is and what a product can or cannot contain; different Member State national laws were done away with, and free movement within the then European Economic Community (EEC) was eased - without lowering the bar for consumer protection and safety.
Over the decades the Directive has seen several changes through its seven amendments, and has since been transformed into a Regulation (Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009) that came into force in July 2013.
Looking forward it is a simple fact that challenges will always lie ahead.
For instance, to-date there is no official regulatory definition of finished Natural and Organic Cosmetics. Our beloved products are still an officially undefined sector of the tightly regulated European industry, and this is the reason for NATRUE’s advocacy role - that any future regulatory definition of Natural and Organic Cosmetics must be appropriate, relevant and strict.
NATRUE looks forward to the next 40 years of strong EU legislation to the benefit of consumers; ensuring both the quality and authenticity they expect.
Dr Mark Smith joined NATRUE in June 2014 as Scientific and Regulatory Manager. He will continue his role in these fields of expertise in addition to his responsibilities related to his new role as Director General.
We thank Dr Mark Smith for this strong commitment and wish him every success in his new role. We are confident that by taking this step, the NATRUE organization will reinforce its mission to protect and promote natural and organic cosmetics worldwide.
“The Annual Report 2015 is an in-depth way to discover everything NATRUE has done to date; with a focus on the last twelve months. In 2017 we will celebrate NATRUE’s 10th anniversary. giving us altogether the chance to mark the successes of the past, and to look forward to the challenges and achievements of the future – as well as other great, and unexpected, things” Klara Ahlers proudly exclaims.
The Report is structured in 3 specific areas which represent the main activities of NATRUE: Advocacy, Label and Research.
Presenting for the very first time all NATRUE members listed by country and includes key statistics on the unstoppable worldwide spread of the NATRUE Label.
For those interested in knowing more about how NATRUE works, the sections regarding the organisational structure, the BOD, and its working groups as well as the NATRUE team provide further insights.
The Annual Report is freely downloadable here. Enjoy!
Brussels/Berlin, 20th June 2016. 49 active members from over 15 countries worldwide, over 4,700 certified products, more than 200 brands - those were the figures presented by NATRUE, the international non-profit association for natural and organic cosmetics, at its annual Membership Assembly on 1st June 2016 in Berlin.
Over 50 representatives from member companies plus journalists, bloggers and national and international association representatives received information on current developments as well as major trends in the sector, including an international study, in the context of consumers' behaviour, commissioned by NATRUE. In subsequent workshops and debate rounds, participants could discuss future opportunities and the challenges ahead for the natural and organic cosmetics sector.
NATRUE keeps growing At this year's Membership Assembly, NATRUE President Klara Ahlers welcomed 14 new members, bringing the total number of member companies up to 63. All are committed to promoting and protecting natural skincare and raising awareness for natural cosmetics worldwide.
Presentation of international study on consumers' behaviour The study "Exploring the Territory of Natural and Organic Cosmetics" presented by Senior Research Expert at the market research institute GfK Vicky De Mesmaecker provided profound insights into the behaviour of European consumers. 900 women from 6 countries (Germany, France, Italy, Poland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom) between 25 and 65 regularly using natural and organic cosmetics were interviewed. Key findings included:
1. 61% of consumers trust in seals when purchasing natural and organic cosmetics.
2. Nearly three quarter of the interviewees (71%) consider natural and organic ingredients important when purchasing natural and organic cosmetics. They have particularly high expectations regarding naturalness and safety for products like face and body creams, as well as products for babies and children.
3. 60% want to avoid products containing ingredients deriving from genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
NATRUE's role within the regulatory framework and contribution to market development To-date, no official definition for natural and organic cosmetics exists in the regulatory framework. Therefore, multiple private standards exist whose seals aim to effectively reassure consumers of the naturalness of their purchased product. The problem is: each of the numerous seals has different criteria, making it difficult for consumers to choose. Dr. Mark Smith, Scientific and Regulatory Manager at NATRUE, raised this issue in his presentation "NATRUE's Role in the regulatory Framework".
Particular emphasis was placed on the controversial ISO guidelines 16128, which not only do not contain any criteria for the classification of products as 'natural' or 'organic' cosmetics but also authorise the use of genetically modified organisms and synthetic ingredients. Further updates and results relating to topics in which NATRUE is also actively involved, including essential oils, allergens and denaturants, were also presented. In addition, Dr. Smith explained the fundamental principles for self-regulation and gave an insight into further challenges. According to Dr. Smith, future hot topics will primarily revolve around sustainable packaging, preservatives and the use of palm oil.
In her presentation on the market development of the natural and organic cosmetics sector, NATRUE Label and Communication Manager Francesca Morgante showed the importance of an international standard definition, as well a clear distinction from mainstream cosmetics or labels with less strict criteria. NATRUE is the only label guaranteeing that at least 75% of the individual products of a certain range (either identified by the brand or sub-brand) fulfil the conditions of the NATRUE standard. "This unique 75% rule requires a high level of commitment on the part of producers", states Mrs. Morgante, "but at the same time supports the company in positioning itself with a trusted standard on the market". Moreover, NATRUE assists in communicating the brand, including at international fairs such as VIVANESS 2016. At this event, NATRUE was presented for the first time as supporting partner exhibiting with a joint stand in cooperation with twelve NATRUE certified brands.
Following these talks, NATRUE President Klara Ahlers presented the first NATRUE Annual Report 2015, intended to facilitate the communication of NATRUE both internally and externally. The afternoon consisted of four workshops providing the participants the opportunity for a deeper dive into various issues relating to market trends, advertising claims and legal provisions, social media marketing and scientific research projects.
Coffee grounds as a scrub In the context of his workshop, Amarjit Sahota, President of the consulting company Organic Monitor, presented the latest figures relating to the market development of natural and organic cosmetics on a global scale, and gave insights into its future developments. Mr. Sahota identified the wish for ethical consumption and for avoidance of synthetic ingredients as driving factors in the growing natural cosmetics market. More sustainable product packaging, and new formulations using alleged waste material such as coffee grounds as a body scrub might in the future, ensure an even higher sustainability of cosmetic products. Moreover, according to the market researcher, it will be mainly the consumers' responsibility to ensure long-term sustainable product cycles.
Does the product live up to its promises? Dr. Theresa M. Callaghan, CCI, an expert in cosmetic claims with background in global R&D management, addressed the following question: "Are your natural/organic beauty products 'honest' when it comes to claims?". Dr. Callaghan explained the legal basis for marketing claims and the benefits of linking to a scientifically based approach for successful, clear marketing statements for natural and organic cosmetic products. Using examples, the workshop illustrated the impact of misleading marketing claims and showed strategies for using meaningful, substantiated claims. This includes performing consumer and laboratory studies and obtaining expert opinions.
Scientific evaluation of skin allergies The key to the safe use of fragrances is a science-based risk assessment and appropriate risk management to understand sensitivities and allergies. The IFRA (International Fragrance Association) is a global trade association that promotes the safe use of fragrances. Dr. Matthias Vey, Scientific Director of IFRA, announced a comprehensive update on current and developing risk assessment methods through the IDEA (International Dialogue for the Evaluation of Allergens). Dr. Vey also emphasized the need for adequate regulation.
Golden Rules for Social Media Lisa Brandstötter, founder of Boom Creative Lab, a social media agency based in Salzburg, presented basic methods to optimally promote natural and organic cosmetics online. As mobile devices play an increasingly important role amongst social media users, it is important to think mobile first, said the expert. People are daily exposed to a flood of information - the attention span decreases. Short and meaningful texts and a clear picture design prevent this phenomenon and ensure an optimal engagement of social media users. In addition, Brandstötter explained the benefits of so-called influencer marketing whereby companies agree to cooperate with people who enjoy a strong presence and a high reputation in social networks. Benefits: users trust their opinion, leading to a new target audience.
This year, there many more good reasons to participate.
First of all, in the morning starting at 10.30, GfK will present the insights of a cross-country study research commissioned by NATRUE which will reveal consumer expectations and level of awareness about Natural and Organic Cosmetics from six European countries (Germany, France, UK, Italy, Sweden and Poland).
As a conclusion to the morning session all the participants will receive a copy of the first edition of the NATRUE Annual Report: key facts and figures about NATRUE, the spread of the Label, the engagement of the members and NATRUE accomplishments over the whole of 2015.
For those who remain for the entire day – the afternoon interactive sessions will prove to be interesting and informative. On this occasion, NATRUE has invited keynote speakers who will provide the audience with relevant, new and stimulating content:
MARKET Trends - Amarijt Sahota - Organic Monitor How will the Market for NOC’s develop within the next 10 years?
Claims and Regulations - Theresa Callaghan - CCI
Natural Cosmetics and EU Claims Legislation - Compliance, Issues and Future Perspectives
Social Media Marketing – Visibility - Lisa Brandstötter Boom Creative Lab
What are the best marketing strategies on Facebook and Instagram for Private Natural & Organic Labels to increase attention span, engage with the right audience and understand consumer needs?
Scientific Research Projects - Mattias Vey - IFRA
Which Scientific Developments should or could be adopted by producers of NOC’s to maintain or increase innovation in the sector of Natural and Organic Cosmetics?
“Our aim is to offer each participant valuable content to take home – therefore we have sessions on the market trends, on regulations, as well as on scientific or communication topics” explains Carol Ward, Office Manager at NATRUE, in charge of the program of the day.
Participation to the whole day is free of charge. Membership to NATRUE is not a precondition for participation. A close session for the members only is foreseen in the morning and not open to the public.