COSMOS Organik

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What the COSMOS-standard covers

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 – at least 95% must be organic and there is also a list that must be organic. Only simple physical processes allowed (similar to foods);
  • Chemically processed agro-ingredients – made from agricultural raw materials and clean manufacturing processes that comply with the principles of “Green Chemistry”, There is a list of these ingredients that must be made  from organic raw materials;
  • Water – a vital and basic raw material, its quality is essential;
  • Mineral ingredients – must be clean and comply with various environmental rules in their use and in further processing;
  • Other ingredients – this is a very restricted category. Some ingredients are necessary for preserving the product (must be simple and must do so with minimal impact), a very few are allowed only temporarily to facilitate the transition from the current situation to the objectives and direction of this standard.

 

Companies must also ensure their packaging is minimised and is environmentally friendly and they must have an environmental and waste management plan for their factories.

Finally, all the products produced to these standards have to be certified by an independently authorised certification body.  This makes sure that the certification body is competent and professional.  They will check everything necessary about the product to verify it complies with the standard and is labelled accurately and clearly, so you can have confidence in what you are buying.

What you should look out for on labels

You will find two types of COSMOS labels:

 

  • ‘COSMOS ORGANIC’ on products containing minimum percentages of organic ingredients;
  • ‘COSMOS NATURAL’ on those that comply with the Standard in all other respects but do not have the minimum organic percentages.

 

‘COSMOS ORGANIC’ or ‘COSMOS NATURAL’ will always appear right below the logo/mark of the responsible certifier or association, so you will be able to recognise your already known and trusted local or national organisation that participates in the COSMOS-standard.

In addition, you will find on the label the percentage of organic ingredients in the product.  This is the per cent organic of the whole product, but as some products contain a lot of water and mineral ingredients that can never be organic, you may also see the per cent of organic less these two ingredient categories.

Finally, there are requirements for how the certified company describes itself and its products to make sure any associated literature and claims are accurate and not misleading.

 

COSMOS-Standard V3.1 Labelling Guide V3.1 COSMOS AUDITING DURING CASES OF FORCE MAJEURE_COVID-19
 
Benefits to using the COSMOS-standard
 
The COSMOS-standard is on track to be the most widely used organic and natural cosmetics standard globally – allied to its founder member organisations are some 85% of certified companies.  Therefore you will be signing up to the ‘industry standard’ – the same harmonised standard that applies around the world.  You can therefore have consistent labelling on all your products for all your markets.  And these can build on your existing badging (association or certifier logo) together with the COSMOS ORGANIC or COSMOS NATURAL signature.  Your customers also get clear information on the labels, with transparent declaration of organic percentages.
 
How to apply to certify your products
 
First, you need to be sure that the products you are formulating meet the COSMOS-standard and use only ingredients that the Standard allows – you will find a wide range of approved raw materials and certified ingredients in our databases.  Next, you will need to apply to an authorised certification body – they will send you an application form to complete for the products you want certified.  Once they’ve checked this, they will conduct an audit visit of your operation to ensure that everything complies with the Standard.  When any resulting issues have been resolved and all necessary paperwork has been completed, you will receive a Certificate and will be able to start marketing your products as COSMOS ORGANIC or COSMOS NATURAL, depending on their organic percentage.  The certification body will make a further audit visit every year after that, and may make unannounced visits as well.
 
The process of achieving certification can take several months, depending on the complexity of your products and manufacturing processes, so please make sure you leave enough time before your planned launch of the products.
 
How to apply for approval of your raw materials
 
Raw materials that have no organic content but are acceptable for use in the COSMOS-standard do not have to be ‘certified’, but they do need to be ‘approved’.  This process involves a desk-based screening of information you supply, rather than an audit visit.  Not all certification bodies are authorised for this as they don’t all have the necessary expertise.
 
First, you need to be sure that the materials you are manufacturing meet the COSMOS-standard and use only the chemical processes and reagents that the Standard allows.  Next, you will need to apply to an authorised certification body – they will send you a raw materials questionnaire to complete for these products.  They will check this and verify that everything complies with the Standard.  When any resulting issues have been resolved and all necessary paperwork has been completed, you will receive notification that the raw materials have been approved and you will be able to start marketing them.  They will also appear in our raw materials database.
 
It is also possible for authorised certification bodies to approve your raw materials for use only in specific products.  In that case, their approved status is not public, they are not listed in the raw materials database and they cannot be used in other products (unless specific approval is applied for those too).
 
How you can get involved
 
There are several ways you can get involved.
 
  • First, the COSMOS-standard is an international standard that is designed to serve the best interests of the industry and its customers, and the environment. By certifying your products you are both supporting this important initiative and helping it to succeed.
  • Second, the COSMOS-standard AISBL is a membership organisation and we also welcome companies, who can join as associate members. Alternatively, you could join your local association and benefit from their activities and their participation (or if they are not a member, encourage them to join to represent you).
  • Third, in order to continue and progress, we like to hear your views – what is important to you, what you think the Standard should cover that it doesn’t at the moment, or how it should develop further.
  • Lastly, we rely on you to report problems. You are ‘in the market’ and inevitably keep a close eye on your competitors.  You can help us uphold the integrity of the system and maintain a level playing field by informing us if you find any instances of mis-labelling, fraud or other problems.
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