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A New Accreditation Scheme for the Natural and Organic Cosmetics Sector

Véronique Fuxis
Communication Officer, Cofrac

In 2021, the number of certified products under the COSMOS standard (COSMetic Organic and Natural Standard) increased by 32% and more than 2100 companies (Schmidt’s, Florame, Lucas Meyer Cosmetics Canada Inc. and Fleurance Nature, among others) have been working with this COSMOS repository. 1711 are located in Europe.

What is the COSMOS standard?

The COSMOS standard applies to cosmetics and raw materials destined to be used in products. It aims to provide four main guarantees:

  • Promote the use of products derived from organic farming and respect biodiversity
  • Use natural resources responsibly and respect the environment
  • Use processes of transformation and clean manufacturing respectful of human health and the environment
  • Integrate and develop the concept of “green chemistry”

COSMOS certification includes four categories:

  • COSMOS ORGANIC” for organic cosmetics
  • COSMOS NATURAL” for natural cosmetics that don’t meet minimum requirements for organic content
  • COSMOS CERTIFIED”, for physically processed and chemically processed agro-ingredients with organic content
  • COSMOS APPROVED”, for non-organic raw materials that are approved for use in cosmetics products

Non-accredited COSMOS certification has been offered since 2010. It is available in 71 countries and covers more than 29,000 products.

Since its first publication, the standard has evolved to consider European Union regulations (good hygiene practice in cosmetics, chemical substances, the management of claims for cosmetics products). It is also largely based on the model for organic farming.

The scheme provides for controls to make the certification robust. These controls are performed through traceability checks, factory inspection and mass balance conformity assessments allowing comparison of what goes in and out of the manufacturing plant (purchases of raw materials versus product sales), and an analysis of invoices, all this requiring specific audit experience and technical skills. When there is doubt, a sample of the final product can be carried out for analysis.

The development of new accreditation   

After the first communication in 2016, the European co-operation for Accreditation (EA) initiated a recognition approach. Comite Francais d’Accreditation (Cofrac) was designated as the home accreditation body, i.e., the national accreditation body which takes the lead for evaluating an international conformity assessment scheme operated in more than one EA member country, to analyse the COSMOS scheme.

In 2021, this scheme was recognized by EA as fit for accreditation.

As of 01 April 2022, Cofrac has opened a new accreditation scheme according to ISO/IEC 17065 Conformity assessment — Requirements for bodies certifying products, processes and services for the certification of natural and organic cosmetics according to the COSMOS scheme. Several certification bodies have already applied for this accreditation.

It’s a valuable scheme in a high-growth cosmetics sector!

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