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Green Aspects of the Beauty Industry Strengthened in 2008

Posted: December 30, 2008

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Critics claim a number of grey areas remain including the question of whether water can be certified organic. In addition, there are doubts as to when the finalized standards will be published and launched onto the market. Furthermore, competing certification bodies remain, and it is uncertain as to how they will react when Cosmos is officially launched.

Aside from organic, 2008 was the year a number of peripheral trends took center stage, including ethical, fair trade and carbon footprinting. There have even been suggestions that the concept of food miles will be making its way into the cosmetics arena in 2009.

Reports early in the year from Organic Monitor placed France as the leader of the fair trade movement with the highest number of personal care products launching with the well-known Fair Trade logo. The market research company also predicts the consumers’ appetite for fair trade products will continue to grow, however the limited number of suitable ingredients may lead to the growth of products containing a number of fair trade ingredients rather than 100% certified products.

Further down the green road is the Union for Ethical Biotrade, which attempts to promote sustainable and ethical trade in biodiversity-based products, built on the principles in the Convention for Biological Diversity (CBD). The union has pledged to raise awareness of the CBD and promote membership to the Union within the cosmetics industry, as it was highlighted as a sector where awareness was particularly low. Its whole company approach, rather than single product or ingredient, makes the Union a more difficult prospect for companies who wish to cash in on the kudos associated with the ethical tag.

Trekking further into the realms of niche trends, April’s InCosmetics show in Amsterdam saw the presentation of the FairWild standard to the industry, which attempts to promote fair and sustainable trade in wild harvested products. For the moment, the standard operates mainly in the Balkan states where raw material supply has been threatened by years of war.