The Cosmos-standard has been developed at the European and international level by BDIH (Germany), COSMEBIO & ECOCERT (France), ICEA (Italy) and SOIL ASSOCIATION (UK) who are the founders of the COSMOS-standard AISBL (an international non-profit association registered in Belgium) in order to define common requirements and definitions for organic and/or natural cosmetics.
The five founding COSMOS members together represent the vast majority of the world’s certified organic and natural cosmetics companies, that’s over 2000 brands in more than 50 countries producing over 45,000 cosmetic products and ingredients.
The Cosmos-standard rules are governed by the principles of prevention and safety at all levels of the chain from production and certification of raw ingredients, formulas, packaging, labeling, manufacturing to the distribution of finished products.
These rules are:
- Promoting the use of products from organic agriculture, and respecting biodiversity
- Using natural resources responsibly, and respecting the environment
- Using processing and manufacturing that are clean and respectful of human health and the environment
- Integrating and developing the concept of "Green Chemistry". This last point, a new aspect of the COSMOS-standard is key to the success of this ambition considering the specificities and constraints of the formulation of cosmetic products (particularly versus food products).
The standard covers all aspects of the sourcing, manufacture, marketing and control of cosmetic products:
- Origin and processing of ingredients – describes five categories, their origin requirements and how they may or may not be treated:
- Water – must comply with hygienic standards;
- Minerals and ingredients of mineral origin – must be of natural origin and may be modified with simple chemical reactions;
- Physically processed agro-ingredients – may be plant, animal or microbial origin but no GMOs, no critically endangered species, only products of (not a part of) animals;
- Chemically processed agro-ingredients – same as above, and the chemical treatments must respect the principles of Green Chemistry with the resulting ingredients complying with strict limitations of toxicity and biodegradability;
- Other ingredients – a very limited list of preservatives and some other ingredients and petrochemical moieties are temporarily allowed and are reviewed on a regular basis, taking into account availability of acceptable alternatives.
The Cosmos-standard defines natural origin:
The following are of natural origin: water, minerals and ingredients of mineral origin, physically processed agro-ingredients, chemically processed agro-ingredients (and parts thereof) derived wholly from the above.
The following are not of natural origin: petrochemical moieties, preservatives and denaturing agents from petrochemical origin.
COSMOS-certified products are produced to the highest standards for organic and natural cosmetics, and are safe, effective, ethically sourced and good for the enviornment.
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