COSMOS was created in 2010 by the five leading organizations (both associations and certifiers) in organic and natural cosmetics. They founded it as an independent international non-profit association to protect and promote organic and natural cosmetics, and to launch a global harmonized standard for the benefit of both manufacturers and consumers. 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.
On December 31st 2016, the organic and natural cosmetics world changed, the five founders/members of COSMOS – BDIH, Cosmebio, Ecocert Greenlife, ICEA and Soil Association ceased to certify new products according to their own (private) standards and conduct all new certifications to the COSMOS-standard. Thus, on January 1st 2017, the COSMOS-standard went live.
The COSMOS-standard applies to cosmetic products that are marketed as organic or natural. Its guiding principles are to:
- promote the use of products from organic agriculture, and respect biodiversity;
- use natural resources responsibly, and respect the environment;
- use processing and manufacturing that are clean and respectful of human health and the environment;
- integrate and develop the concept of “Green Chemistry”.
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.
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