Soil Association and Ecocert changes to COSMOS Certification

From the 1st January 2017 Ecocert and Soil Association are joining forces with other European organic certifications to create one certification standard for cosmetic and personal care products.

At Stephenson Group, we are committed to sustainability, and one of the ways in which we strive for a sustainable future in the Personal Care industry is by certifying our products. When our base products are certified, it usually means that the oils we use in the soap making process have been certified organic, or our bases can be used to create a certified end product.

In order to uphold this certification, there are strict rules and regulations we adhere to. Due to recent changes to organic certification in cosmetics, we have created this post to ensure that you are fully aware of the changes and how they may affect your business.

To start, we’re giving an overview of who the certifying bodies are; followed by an explanation of the changes due to happen in January 2017.

Soil Association

The Soil Association is a registered charity created in 1946 to campaign for healthy and sustainable food, farming and land use. Overseeing sectors such as farming, food and drink, textiles, personal care and more, the Soil Association offers organic certification on a huge range of consumer and business products, now certifying over 70% of organic food in the UK.

Image Credit: Soil Association


Founded in 1991 in France, Ecocert is one of the largest organic certification organisations in the world, focussing its efforts on food products, as well as cosmetics, detergents, textiles and more. Ecocert inspects around 30% of organic foods globally.

Image Credit: EcoCert

Organic Certification and the Cosmetic Industry

According to Mintel (2016), there has been an estimated 20% increase in UK sales of organic health and beauty products from 2015. Recent insight from Grand View Research suggests that the global organic personal care market is set to reach nearly $16 billion by 2020. The phenomenal consumer trend and behaviour is dictating new launches and packaging claims relating to organic ingredients. However, manufacturers are also taking advantage of the blurred regulations around certification.

Issues with Organic Certification in the Cosmetic Industry

In the cosmetics sector, organic packaging claims can be deceptive. The certifying bodies overseeing organic standards are privately owned or charitable organisations. As the cosmetics industry is largely self-regulated, there is a call for more transparent operations from the supply chain to the packaging of the finished product.

Specifically in the USA, the Food and Drug Administration acknowledges that they do not regulate the term ‘organic’ within the cosmetic industry. This means that there is no penalty from manufacturers making false claims on their packaging – and with the rising consumer interest in organic cosmetics, this is not unusual.

Image Credit: Choice

In an effort to strengthen regulations surrounding packaging claims and ‘greenwashing’, COSMOS is a standardised certification that can be applied globally. Not only will this help manufacturers ensure they are marketing their products ethically, but it also ensures that your company is operating with increased transparency for consumers.

What exactly is COSMOS?

COSMOS certification can be applied to both products and ingredients. Depending on the overall percentage of organic ingredients or organic raw materials used in production, the end product is then certified to the organic standard.

Once you have been certified as a manufacturer, you can then make packaging claims, backed up by the official COSMOS logos on certified products only.

Stephenson Group and Organic Certification

We have worked closely with organic certifying bodies such as Ecocert, UDSA NOP, Soil Association, and now COSMOS to ensure that we are labelling our base products correctly. We list the percentages of organic ingredients in all the products within our certified range.

Although we are not making any changes to the manufacturing of our products immediately, we might need to adjust suppliers in the long term. This is because, depending on the ingredient and supplier, certification of the ingredients we use might be compromised. We will endeavour to seek out COSMOS certified ingredients in order to keep our range certified as well. With immediate effect we have already changed the certification logos across some products on our site to reflect this change.

If you have any questions or are unsure about anything you have read, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our Customer Experience team or your usual Sales Manager who would be happy to assist

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