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An Oasis in the Land of Confusion

By: Jeb Gleason-Allured, Editor
Posted: April 22, 2008, from the May 2008 issue of P&F magazine.

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  • May 2008 issue, pg. 36—3 pages
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Castallonos and Haynes noted that consumers receive sometimes disorienting information from a range of sources, including the media and NGOs that are rarely pro-fragrance or cosmetics.

In this environment, more than 70% of natural product consumers believe that it is important to do business with environmentally responsible companies, according to a recent study conducted by Mambo Sprouts Marketing. This same group also says it will pay up to 20% more for green products. In this context, personal care and beauty products boasting organic compliance have been growing by about 15% annually. Yet confusion over the definition and standards of “organic” abounds, particularly in the personal care and cosmetic category—a dangerous scenario for the industry.

OASIS (oasisseal.org), which stands for Organic and Sustainable Industry Standards, is a new industry-led organic labeling effort that addresses the standards gap that exists around the globe while providing wiggle room for formulators as green chemistry evolves. As of press time, OASIS is backed by 30 brand owners, fragrance houses and ingredient suppliers, including Estée Lauder, L’Oréal, Cognis and Oh, Oh Organic. New members will be added on an ongoing basis. “Since there aren’t any US organic regulations in [the personal care] industry,” Kapsner continues, “producers can say anything they want on an organic label. They can say ‘this is a certified organic product,’ and it doesn’t really have to contain any significant amount of organic content. That confuses customers as to what products are truly organic. There’s no way to judge what a company’s doing, versus what they’re saying right now.”

Other topics discussed: Challenges of Raw Material Sourcing; Green Chemistry and Fragrance; Looking Forward; Twelve Principles of Green Chemistry

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