ISO 16128 and national standards set to create global consistency

By Natasha Spencer

- Last updated on GMT

ISO 16128 and national standards set to create global consistency

Related tags: Personal care products, Cosmetics, Apac

As the natural and organic cosmetics market remains fragmented yet in a state of rapid growth, the ISO 16128, along with national standards, aim to provide consumers with transparency and confidence.

With the upcoming introduction of the international ISO standard, the cosmetics industry is anticipating an increase in the number of brands and products that adopt natural and organic labelling to attract consumers and encourage support.

ISO 16128 standard

The ISO 16128 will be the first global standard for natural and organic cosmetics, enabling natural and organic labels to become more established within the global cosmetics industry.

ISO 16128 provides definitions and criteria for natural and organic ingredients and products, specific to the cosmetics sector. The aim of the standard is to utilise and apply scientific judgment to produce a consistent and logical framework for natural and organic cosmetic ingredients and products.

Its launch indicates its long-term future significance on new product developments and market trends within the cosmetics sector.

It also seeks to promote the use of a wider selection of natural and organic ingredients to formulate a distinct collection of cosmetic products that drive innovation. 

National Standards

National standards and/or labelling schemes within individual countries are also expected to help strengthen consumer confidence. 

Other labels, such as the Fairtrade mark are growing in awareness and prominence on personal care products and are featuring highly in the UK, the US and French markets.

With over 1 billion Muslim consumers throughout the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, the Halal label is also gaining momentum. Leading ingredient brands such as BASF and Clariant are tipped to develop and bring to market Halal-certified raw materials to satisfy this prominent trend.

Despite the variation within the labelling industry, the frequency and appearance of labels are becoming commonplace within APAC and the rest of the world.

Questions remain over whether harmonisation within the market will emerge or whether it will continue to escalate at the current rate. 

In Europe, the Cosmetic, Toiletry & Perfumery Association (CTPA), which represents companies involved in making, supplying and selling cosmetic and personal care products, emphasises the differences that exist between countries at present: “Cosmetic natural and/or organic standards have been developed by different certification bodies. However, none of these standards or guidelines are specifically backed by law​”. 

As “ they are all different, although the difference may be minor​”, it is up to individual countries and the ISO 16128 standard to deliver clear, consistent guidelines on cosmetics and personal care products, while also using “a high proportion of organic ingredients, natural ingredients or ingredients chemically derived from natural ingredients​,” CTPA also reports on its website.

This may prove confusing for brands looking to enter into markets that have different standards and guidelines to their own.

The first certification body

Ecocert, introduced in 2003, was the first certification body to develop standards specifically for natural and organic cosmetics. At present, it supports and provides advice to over 1,000 companies through its certification processes.

The Ecocert standard ensures that consumers only receive an environmentally friendly product. It achieves this through using ingredients derived from renewable resources that have been manufactured by environmentally friendly processes.

In addition, it sets out a minimum threshold of natural ingredients from organic farming that must be used to obtain certification, as well as on-site audits performed by an Ecocert auditor.

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