OASIS creates first US organic beauty standard

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Leading brands have backed the first US organic standard developed
specifically for the beauty industry to ensure the credibility of
product claims.

Organic and Sustainable Industry Standards (OASIS) launched the standard weeks after Canada-based Certech Registration developed its own organic and natural standards for the North American market.

Growing need for certification Sales of organic personal care products in the US increased by 15 percent annually to almost $9bn in 2007 according to the Nutrition Business Journal, but only now has the country begun to develop its own certification systems.

Previously American cosmetics manufacturers relied on either the European certification bodies, such as Ecocert or the USDA standards, which were developed for food products.

"The USDA's food standards were never designed for this industry, and its strict guidelines limit even certain types of green chemistry and pose significant challenges to those looking to create certified organic products," said Tim Kapsner, an Aveda research scientist and founding member of OASIS.

OASIS has developed standards for 'organic' and 'made with organic' products requiring 85 percent organic content and 70 percent organic content respectively.

The standards are less stringent than the USDA's but stricter than Ecocert's which requires a minimum of only 10 percent organic content.

Evolving requirements and sustainability For OASIS' organic standard it is anticipated that the required organic content will increase to 90 percent in 2010 and to 95 percent two years later to reflect developments in green chemistry.

As well as certifying organic personal care products OASIS is planning to develop standards within the field of sustainability such as a certification system for green packaging.

One of the goals of the certification body is to support sustainable manufacturing and move the industry towards a responsible future.

Widespread support The OASIS standards have received widespread support from the industry with leading brands among its 30 founding members including top organic firms Hain Celestial and Aveda.

"The beauty of OASIS is that as an industry consensus standard its members range from large, global brands such as Estee Lauder Companies and L'Oreal to third party and private label manufacturers to smaller, specialist brands such as Perfect Organics and Juice Beauty," said OASIS chairman Gay Timmons.

Certification body NSF International has also been developing both a fully organic standard and a 'made with' standard for personal care manufacturers.

The NSF organic standard will be identical to the USDA's when it is launched this spring while the 'made with' standard will differ in a way that will enable manufacturers moving in an organic direction to become certified.

Possible confusion Commenting on the wave of organic and natural standards hitting the US at the moment, the market research firm Organic Monitor said the industry could move in one of two directions The number of different standards available could lead to further confusion for consumers or succeed in helping consumers identify genuine natural and organic cosmetics products.

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