Although a plethora of certification programmes have caused both fragmentation and confusion to reign within the category, the general consensus is that the category is experiencing initial teething problems that simply have to be worked through.
“It is important to choose just one certification programme and run with it, as this will eventually help towards the formation of a more cohesive movement,” said George Korres, CEO of Korres Natural Products, during a panel discussion.
The Microsoft of certification programmes
Korres referred to how Microsoft had helped to form a cohesive platform for personal computer users, suggesting that a similar destiny would eventually fall upon the natural and organic cosmetics category, with the most comprehensive and best organised certification programme likely to win.
“This is a turbulent period for the natural and organic cosmetics category with limited visibility. All we can do is simply work through this,” said Betty Santonnat, development director at Cosmebio, the French association for ecological and organic cosmetics.
Stephen Johnson, sustainable development manager for British retailer and personal care manufacturer Boots was more concerned about the implications the current state of uncertainty might have on consumers.
Confusion turning consumers away
“I have reason to believe that the current state of confusion may turn some consumers away. And once you’ve lost consumer confidence, it is very difficult to win them back,” Johnson said during his presentation on standards and eco-labelling from the retailers perspective.
Although Johnson is in favour of certification for the industry and the principles that it represents, he believes that there is still much work to be done.
“The world of one standard would make my life so much easier, but we are still a very long way from achieving that goal,” Johnson said during the panel discussion.
The Sustainable Cosmetics Summit was organised by Organic Monitor and held in Frankfurt, November 16 - 17. Another event is being planned in the US next March and further details will be available shortly.