Burt's Bees lobbies for clearer guidelines on naturals

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Natural and organic personal care provider Burt's Bees says it is
aiming to tackle widespread confusion over natural cosmetic
products by introducing a new industry standard for the US market.

The company says it wants to establish 'a definition about what is and isn't natural' by working with both competitors and the industry as a whole in an effort to make things easier for the consumer and to clear up confusion.

The company aims to establish a definition that holds 'natural to the highest possible standards'.

Burt's Bees says that its actions have been supported by a recent consumer study, conducted by TSC, that shows just how confused consumers are regarding natural personal care products and the assumed standards for the sector.

The company is targeting the fact that in the United States there is currently no official regulation for natural or organic personal care products, leaving consumers vulnerable and the industry wide open to dubious claims.

The survey questioned in detail the general perception of natural personal care products across a wide range of US females that use natural personal care products on a regular basis.

The results of the survey threw up a number of interesting statistics, including the fact that 78 per cent of American women either thought that natural personal care products were regulated or were not sure if they were regulated.

Likewise, an overwhelming 97 per cent thought that natural personal care products should definitely be regulated.

"Since natural personal care is not currently regulated, Burt's Bees is setting the natural standard to help create a universally recognized and regulated guideline to define 'natural' personal care products," a company spokesperson said.

The survey also showed how two thirds of US women felt that a personal care products should contain at least 95 per cent natural ingredients for it to be called so.

Likewise, 83 per cent of those surveyed thought that there should be just one perceived meaning for a product that is labeled natural.

The company spokesperson added that it was for these reasons that Burt's Bees was spearheading the campaign to develop a seal that would identify and certify natural personal care products.

Ultimately the company says that it is aiming to impose change from within this fast-growing segment of the personal care industry, enabling consumers to make more informed and educated choices for the kind of personal care products they buy.

Burt's Bees' campaign to establish natural personal care certication follows a similar one instigated by organic soap maker Dr. Bronner's back in 2005, following the FDA's decision to drop the certification of organic personal care products.

The company filed a lawsuit challenging to FDA over its decision to drop organic certification, a decision that, thanks to combined industry lobbying, led to a successful reversal of the decision in August of that year.

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