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The COSMOS standard was launched in 2010, to harmonize the various cosmetic certifications and labels, creating a coherent internationally recognized standard for natural and organic cosmetics.
The goal is to maintain a process of inspection and certification of organic and natural products in order to ensure a level playing field for companies, clarity and confidence for consumers as well as an effective progression towards sustainable development.
The process is very thorough and studies all parts of the process and the business, from production resources, manufacturing controls and product labeling. The COSMOS standard applies to cosmetic products marketed as organic or natural.
Its guidelines are:
- promote the use of products from organic farming, and respect biodiversity;
- use natural resources responsibly and respect the environment;
- use processing and manufacturing that are clean and respectful of human health and the environment;
- integrate and develop the concept of “Green Chemistry”.
The standard divides the type of ingredients used in cosmetic products into five categories and specifies the requirements for each. Here they are with some of the key standards:
- Physically processed agro-ingredients: can be of plant, animal or microbial origin, but no GMOs, no critically endangered species, only products (not part) of animals
- Chemically processed agro-ingredients: as above, and chemical processing must adhere to the principles of green chemistry with the resulting ingredients adhering to strict toxicity and biodegradability limitations.
- Water: must comply with hygiene standards
- Minerals and ingredients of mineral origin: must be of natural origin and can be modified by simple chemical reactions
- Other ingredients: a very limited list of preservatives and certain other petrochemical ingredients and fractions are temporarily permitted and are reviewed regularly, taking into account the availability of acceptable alternatives.
In order to obtain the COSMOS Natural certification, each product must meet the requirements of the above standards as well as those relating to manufacturing, packaging, environmental management, labeling and communication. On-site audits are conducted to ensure that the standard continues to be met.