Although standards are being affected worldwide by the enforcement of more stringent certification, particularly in Europe, in the US the introduction of a number of private standards by certification agencies, industry groups and retailers is expected to change the category's landscape. Market research provider Organic Monitor points out that NSF international is expected to make a significant impact on the natural market in the US when it unveils its own standards this spring. Concurrently the Organic and Sustainability Industry Standards (OASIS) for beauty care products will be introduced by a trade group that represents some of the biggest US players in the business, including Aveda and Hain Celestial. Canada is also making its move to increase regulation and standards, with the introduction of a private standard by the Toronto-based Certech Registration - an agency offering certification services to a variety of industries in the country. More certification could lead to further confusion Organic Monitor believes that the wide range of certification bodies offering its services to the category will be further confused by the fact that retailers are also getting involved in the process. One example of this is Whole Foods Market, which has just announced its Premium Body Care Standard, claiming to differentiate between its products from other natural products manufactured to less rigid standards. The reason behind the private standards, Organic Monitor believes, is to legitimize pure natural and organic products that contain low levels of natural ingredients and higher levels of synthetic ingredients. However, despite the fact that the industry is reacting to the need to address confusion over natural and organic cosmetic products, the market researcher believes that the resulting rash of certification programs could also be divisive. Certifcation could take the category in one of two directions Ultimately this is likely to see the industry moving in one of two directions. It could lead to further confusion for consumers, or succeed in differentiating genuine natural and organic cosmetics products from what the market researcher terms 'pseudo-products'. But another obstacle is also likely to present itself - the fragmentation of global trade as standards develop in different directions and according to different agendas, much the same as the current situation within the organic food industry. However, on a more optimistic note, Organic Monitor points out that at this crucial and defining moment in the category's development, certification standards could equally go the way of those for the textile industry, which in 2004 formed the unifying Global Organic Textile Standard. Organic Monitor will be giving seminars and workshops on the implications of these natural and organic cosmetics standards in the coming months. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.