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May 12, 2008

Organic/Natural Standards to be Discussed at Upcoming Meeting

The big players in the Beauty Products World are gathering together in New York later this week at "The Natural Beauty Summit" to "create a forum to learn and discuss the key challenges the cosmetics industry faces in the areas of natural and organic products as well as sustainability" . . . or so says the program for the conference, to be held at the Hilton Hotel in New York City May 15-17. This is a followon to a similar summit in Paris last November, to be followed by a sequel, again in Paris, in October 2008.

Sponsored by Organic Monitor and Beyond Beauty Paris, the main focus of this conference will be Natural Cosmetics with a major session on Standard & Regulatory Issues followed by a panel discussion, and the next day a Natural Cosmetics Workshop focusing on "an assessment of the growing number of standards and certifications for natural and organic cosmetics . . . [with] a critical review of the major standards, comparing and contrasting the similarities and differences between them."

The list of standards and proposed standards that will be covered at the session is:

  • A Retail products standard proposed by Whole Foods
  • the USDA National Organic Program Standard applied to Cosmetics
  • the American NSF Standard
  • the OASIS Standard
  • A review of European natural and organic standards harmonization
  • ECOCERT and BDIH

The aromaconnection blog will be following these issues closely as they develop.  Notably missing from the above list is the NPA (Natural Products Association) standard we blogged about yesterday and last month. We are working on a table showing details of the standards and comparing their features.  In fact, we are probably duplicating what may show up in the proceedings of the NBS (if there are any), but we hope to get it into print sooner.

Organic Monitor, one of the co-sponsors of the NBS, predicts that 2008 will be the beginning of "an industry shake-up" as various standards are unveiled in Europe and North America. In this linked article, they reference several standards that are not included on the list above. They also express concern about fragmentation that could lead to a reduction of trade, but express also the "more optimistic view" that Cosmetics might follow the lead of the textile industry and develop a harmonized global standard.

In the meantime the infighting has already begun. OCA and Dr. Bronner's have challenged what they call "weak" ECOCERT and OASIS standards, according to this OCA Press Release widely reported in the media mid-March. And as we reported yesterday, the C.A.M. Report is somewhat skeptical of the whole idea.

We can probably look forward to an exciting year!

Posted by Rob on May 12, 2008 in Marketing, Organizations, Politics, Regulatory Issues, Standards, Weblogs | Permalink

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