Prospects of a global organics standard ‘appear low’

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags United states

With the proliferation of yet more natural and organic cosmetic standards, analysts say the prospects for a global unified standard are not getting any closer.

Although overall uptake of certification for the category is increasing, a new report from market researcher Organic Monitor finds that adoption is largely taking place on a national basis.

Although certification programmes such as those established by the Soil Association and NaTrue do have regional and in some instances global recognition, the market researcher claims that even on a regional basis certification uptake is limited.

The findings are underlined in a new Technical Insights report, which finds that as well as the international fragmentation of certification, the programmes themselves and what they represent, vary significantly.

Europe and North America evolving differently

Regionally there is a big difference in take-up, attitudes and awareness of certification, one that is particularly underlined when comparing the North American and European markets.

In Europe certification take-up has been much more popular, with Organic Monitor estimating that nearly two thirds of all natural and organic products have been officially certified.

There certification programmes such as Ecocert and BDIH have proved the most popular, thanks to high rates of uptake in the two major markets of Germany and France.

Indeed, Organic Monitor says that Ecocert’s popularity has been driven by the fact that it runs two certification programmes concurrently; one for natural products and one for organic products.

In North America the picture is quite different, with only 5 per cent of natural and organic products estimated to have taken up certification to date.

NPA leads the way in North America

To date the leading programme in this region has proved to be the Natural Products Association (NPA), while the NSF ANSI 305 ‘made with organic’ standard is expected to gain momentum once certification begins.

However, Organic Monitor says that as in Europe there is a significant hole in the North American certification landscape as there is no categorical organic certification standard, which is pushing manufacturers to adopt the USDA NOP standard.

In other regions, namely Asia Pacific and Latin America, the certification of natural and organic personal care products is still very much in its infancy.

Asia Pacific and Latin America focuses on Europe

Natural and organic cosmetics players in these regions have tended to focus on exporting their products to the bigger markets, mainly in Europe.

Naturally this has resulted in a greater uptake of European standards, giving these manufacturers a better chance of recognition with consumers there.

Organic Monitor’s Technical Insights also looks into how regional and international initiatives such as Cosmos and NaTrue have aimed at filling the void, however the evidence suggests that competition between the two programmes may lead to confusion and further fragmentation.

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