Why choose us?
Why the Soil Association?
As a part of our recently launched strategy – “The Road to 2020” - the Soil Association is committed to finding new and innovative ways to support organic agriculture. We believe that organic is the best possible method of production, and is well-placed to meet the needs of people for healthy food, fibre and personal care products, whilst protecting the needs of the planet.
Our own health & beauty standards were launched in 2002. These were developed to address the absence of legislation and formal controls in the production of organic personal care products. In response to this lack of international regulatory control, the founding members of what would become COSMOS came together to discuss the need for an international standard which would bring integrity to cosmetics and beauty products across the industry, and boost consumer confidence in the products they were buying.
As an organisation with over 65 years of experience in researching, promoting and shaping the landscape of organic agriculture, policy and principles, COSMOS is a natural way in which the Soil Association can continue to help bring these principles into practice.
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.
Soil Association Certification or COSMOS?
Until 31 December 2014 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 2014 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 vs. 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 are permitted, and only approved raw ingredients can be used.
For more information on the COSMOS Standard please download a copy.
Unlike many other commercial certification bodies operating in the health & beauty market, Soil Association Certification is wholly owned by our parent charity organisation, the Soil Association. Any profits generated by our scheme are gift-aided to the charity allowing them to continue their tireless work on behalf of the organic sector.