The Soil Association organic standards have the EU organic regulation as their foundation. In many cases the standards are more robust than those set by EU regulations – in fact, no system of farming has higher animal welfare standards than organic farms working to our standards.
What is COSMOS?
COSMOS AISBL was founded in 2010 by the Soil Association and some of the leading organic certification bodies in the industry, with the aim of creating a harmonised international standard for the certification of organic and natural personal care products and creating a less confused market for consumers.
Soil Association Certification or COSMOS?
Until 31 December 2016 you have the choice to apply for certification under either COSMOS or the current Soil Association health & beauty care standards. After this date, all new health & beauty applicants and all new products by existing licensees will be certified only to the COSMOS standards.
For existing Soil Association health & beauty care licensees, any products certified to the Soil Association standard before 31 December 2016 can retain their Soil Association certification, as long as the formulation of the product does not change.
Household cleaning products will also remain under the existing Soil Association health & beauty care standard as they are currently not covered under COSMOS.
COSMOS organic v COSMOS natural?
Under the COSMOS standards there are two levels of certification: COSMOS organic and COSMOS natural. Products certified to COSMOS organic must have a minimum of 20% organic ingredients or 10% organic ingredients in the case of rinse-off products, e.g. shampoo, body wash, etc. whilst also meeting all of the other COSMOS standards. This percentage is calculated using the total product (including water and mineral ingredients).
There is no requirement for products certified to the COSMOS natural standard to have organic ingredients in them. However, all of the other COSMOS standards apply; including no ingredients of GM origin or those derived from GM organisms to be permitted, and only approved raw ingredients can be used.
For more information on the COSMOS Standard please download a copy.
Soil Association organic standards 2012 version 16.5
COSMOS standards, updated October 2013
Guide to meeting the Soil Association packaging standards
Consultations - have your say
Our standards are set by independent committees made up of Soil Association Certification licensees, industry representatives and consumers. We'll consult you on any changes that will affect your business and the wider industry. In this way, Soil Association organic standards deal with real issues, while maintaining the integrity we've all worked hard to establish. Find out more by visiting the Soil Association consultation pages: