Benefits to using the COSMOS-standard
The COSMOS-standard is on track to be the most widely used organic and natural cosmetics standard globally – allied to its founder member organisations are some 85% of certified companies. Therefore you will be signing up to the ‘industry standard’ – the same harmonised standard that applies around the world. You can therefore have consistent labelling on all your products for all your markets. And these can build on your existing badging (association or certifier logo) together with the COSMOS ORGANIC or COSMOS NATURAL signature. Your customers also get clear information on the labels, with transparent declaration of organic percentages.
How to apply to certify your products
First, you need to be sure that the products you are formulating meet the COSMOS-standard and use only ingredients that the Standard allows – you will find a wide range of approved raw materials and certified ingredients in our databases (please note that the database of approved raw materials is password protected – your association or chosen certifier will be able to give you access). Next, you will need to apply to an authorised certification body – they will send you an application form to complete for the products you want certified. Once they’ve checked this, they will conduct an audit visit of your operation to ensure that everything complies with the Standard. When any resulting issues have been resolved and all necessary paperwork has been completed, you will receive a Certificate and will be able to start marketing your products as COSMOS ORGANIC or COSMOS NATURAL, depending on their organic percentage. The certification body will make a further audit visit every year after that, and may make unannounced visits as well.
The process of achieving certification can take several months, depending on the complexity of your products and manufacturing processes, so please make sure you leave enough time before your planned launch of the products.
If you have physically or chemically processed agro-ingredients with organic content, you can get these certified in the same way. The only difference is that, a) the organic percentage limits for organic products don’t apply, and b) they can then be marketed as COSMOS CERTIFIED.
How to apply for approval of your raw materials
Raw materials that have no organic content but are acceptable for use in the COSMOS-standard do not have to be ‘certified’, but they do need to be ‘approved’. This process involves a desk-based screening of information you supply, rather than an audit visit. Not all certification bodies are authorised for this as they don’t all have the necessary expertise.
First, you need to be sure that the materials you are manufacturing meet the COSMOS-standard and use only the chemical processes and reagents that the Standard allows. Next, you will need to apply to an authorised certification body – they will send you a raw materials questionnaire to complete for these products. They will check this and verify that everything complies with the Standard. When any resulting issues have been resolved and all necessary paperwork has been completed, you will receive notification that the raw materials have been approved and you will be able to start marketing them as COSMOS APPROVED. They will also appear in our raw materials database.
It is also possible for authorised certification bodies to approve your raw materials for use only in specific products. In that case, their approved status is not public, they are not listed in the raw materials database and they cannot be used in other products (unless specific approval is applied for those too).
How you can get involved
There are several ways you can get involved.
- First, the COSMOS-standard is an international standard that is designed to serve the best interests of the industry and its customers, and the environment. By certifying your products you are both supporting this important initiative and helping it to succeed.
- Second, the COSMOS-standard AISBL is a membership organisation and we also welcome companies, who can join as associate members. Alternatively, you could join your local association and benefit from their activities and their participation (or if they are not a member, encourage them to join to represent you).
- Third, in order to continue and progress, we like to hear your views – what is important to you, what you think the Standard should cover that it doesn’t at the moment, or how it should develop further.
- Lastly, we rely on you to report problems. You are ‘in the market’ and inevitably keep a close eye on your competitors. You can help us uphold the integrity of the system and maintain a level playing field by informing us if you find any instances of mis-labelling, fraud or other problems.
How to report a complaint if you have one
If you do find a problem or are suspicious about a product in any way, please report it through the firstname.lastname@example.org email or use the contact us link. In order for us to make a full investigation and take any necessary action, it is vital you provide the following details:
- Your name and contact details (these will be kept confidential but we may need to contact you for more information)
- The full name of the product(s) or company you are complaining about
- Details of the company involved and their certification
- Where and when you came across the problem
- The details of your complaint – what is the problem you have found.
Please be as specific as you can, as we cannot investigate complaints that are unspecific or too general.