The COSMOS Organic Certificate and Signature is followed by cosmetics brands aiming to reach a market that values eco-friendly solutions. In order to use the organic signature a company must be approved by the certification body prior to the launch of the product. Here's a summary of what designers and marketers should keep in mind about compliance with the COSMOS Organic Signature requirements.
Importance of Standard Compliance
Displaying a COSMOS signature is important for global marketers of organic or natural cosmetics products. The standard is internationally recognized and helps promote the concept of respect for the environment and natural resources. Association with the signature helps clarify that the product is complying with guidelines established by industry experts on sustainability. The standard does not only look at ingredients, but also at the treatments, chemical reactions and other processes related agro-ingredients during the production process .
The standard covers twelve chapters and annexes that describe eco-friendly sourcing, manufacturing and marketing of cosmetic products. The documents are divided into three sections:
Organic Signature Requirements
If a brand is going to use the COSMOS Organic signature on packages, the signature can only be used with products under organic certification of the COSMOS standard. The signature must be displayed with the seal or logo of an association or other entity that is a member of the COSMOS standard AISBL. Here are some of the other requirements:
- text must be capitalized on two lines
- "Verdana Regular" font type
- The text must be the same size, width and colour on both lines
- signature must be same width as the company logo
- gap between logo and signature should be 1/10 width
- colour must be green, black, white or same as logo
- other colours can be used with special permission
Consumers must be able to easily see the signature on the front of the package. All the information on the label must be clear and describe the product accurately. Using the signature on packaging can only be done after the product has been approved by the certification body. Once a product is certified, if a vendor wants to make changes to the product or the labelling, they must first get approval from the certification body.
When using a certified cosmetic product ingredient, a firm may substitute the COSMOS Certified signature with either the COSMOS Organic or COSMOS Natural signature. While a brand is not required to use the COSMOS Approved signature, it must follow the above guidelines when it does use it.
How the Standard Affects Company Literature
COSMOS allows for companies to use the signatures on their websites, company stationary and other literature. The firm must clarify, however, whether or not all its products are COSMOS organic certified. A company, for example, can only make the claim "we are COSMOS organic certified" if the entire line of products are certified. They must otherwise be clear that only certain products are certified.
Whenever a company has the word "organic" in its name, it must not mislead the public that it follows organic production principles if it actually does not. Marketers are not allowed to use pseudo organic logos and seals with the COSMOS certification. One of the most important keys to compliance is to not mislead the consumer about the ingredients or function of the product. While it's acceptable for a company to mix both organic and natural certifications, they must make it clear to the consumer and not pose as all organic.
The Value of the COSMOS standard
It's important for brands using the COSMOS standard to have a clear understanding of the entire standard so that they are always in compliance. In some cases there may be conflicts with other standards or laws, which the labelling document addresses.
The signature is respected by organic consumers who understand that sustainability means getting the most out of materials without harming human health or the environment.
References and Further Reading
- General Articles Cosmetic Packaging (2016 - today), by Aex Cosper and Dawn M. Tuner
- The Cosmos Standard Website (2018)
- The Cosmos Standard Document (2013), cosmos-standard.org
- COSMOS-standard AISBL Control Manual - Authorisation Procedure for Certification Bodies (2014), cosmos-standard.org
- COSMOS-standard Labelling Guide (2017), cosmos-standard.org
- COSMOS-standard Technical Guide Version 2.11 (2017), cosmos-standard.org