clean certification for cosmetics

Cosmetics clean certification

How can clean cosmetic brands substantiate environmental claims

What we call “clean beauty” has been a major trend for these past few years, and the beauty industry is slowly trying to decrease its environmental impact by developing natural or vegan cosmetics, manufacturing recyclable or biodegradable packaging and limiting its carbon footprint for instance. While cosmetic brands are surely making efforts, one issue remains: environmental claims are often too vague and without any substantial proof. Brands must tackle greenwashing to avoid legal threats and promote impactful environmental initiatives. Cosmetic certifications are ways to officially back your claims like “organic”, “reef-friendly” or “natural”, and to provide a real proof to the authorities in case of random inspections. Here is how to make truthful and legal “clean cosmetics” marketing communication and to substantiate it with our cosmetics clean certification.

1) Avoid green washing by backing your clean cosmetics’ claims

First of all, the expressions “environmental cosmetics” and “green cosmetics” refer to the practice of suggesting or otherwise creating the impression (in a commercial communication, marketing or advertising) that a cosmetic has a positive or no impact on the environment or is less damaging to the environment than competing products. This may be due to composition, manufacturing process, how it can be disposed of, reduction in energy or pollution. For any of these means, “clean cosmetics” and their claims must be truthful and verified or they will be considered as green washing. Claims and marketing communication can refer to statements, like “vegan”, “natural” or “carbon neutral”, logos or colors inducing that the brand is acting for the environment.

The party is over !

A regulatory framework is currently being developed to avoid environmental marketing communications (including animal welfare) that cannot be proven/demonstrated in the European Union.

What is will imply for “clean cosmetics” in a very near future:

1. Generic / non-substantiated green claims will be prohibited.

2.Green claims that are not based on a third-party certification scheme or established by Public Authorities will be prohibited.

3.Making an environmental claim about the entire product when it actually concerns only a certain aspect of the product will be prohibited.

The publication is expected in 2024-2025, with a transition period expected to be 30 months. As a result, “Clean cosmetics” must display clear claims, not exaggerated and true, in opposition to deceptive and vague communication which is falling into unfair commercial practices. BIORIUS reminds you that cosmetic claims (especially in the European Union and the United Kingdom) must be truthful, fair, compliant, with evidential support, honest and promoting informed decision making. If your environmental claim does not follow all these elements, your brand is not respecting the law and is facing legal actions from the authorities.

cosmetics certification - clean beauty

The solution: to provide sufficient information to judge the claim’s accuracy, make it clear, avoid general statements to not deceive the consumer and provide as much evidence as possible, easy to find by the public and ready to be shown to the authorities.

  • Clean cosmetics’ claims to avoid because vague and no specific proof to show: “conscious”, “eco-friendly”, “sustainable”, “gentle to the environment”, “green”, “pollutant free” …

2) “Clean cosmetics” and carbon neutrality: a special case

Within environmental claims, those emphasizing on carbon emissions and green-house gas must also come with proofs. Because “carbon neutral” and similar statements have been widely wrongfully used for the past years, the UN and governments have decided to take action. France is one of the first (2023), as it is now forbidden to claim “carbon neutral” without a clear proof. The French government is hoping that this recent decision will stop green washing, misleading  and unfair practices, and encourage companies to take real actions for environmental protection.

For clean cosmetics, proofs can take the form of a greenhouse gas/carbon emission’s balance on the whole product’s life cycle, which must be updated every year. Beauty brands should explain how greenhouse gas are avoided, reduced or compensated to have the right to claim their cosmetics “carbon neutral”. Moreover, there should be a website link explaining the climate plan of the company. If you were wondering, “zero carbon”, “no carbon footprint”, “climate neutral” or “fully compensated” are also involved.

3) Our solution for “clean cosmetics”: the clean certification

As explained in this article, cosmetics environmental claims are legal as long as they respect several principles, including providing a clear proof for consumers and authorities. Cosmetic certifications are widespread because trustworthy certification providers like BIORIUS have developed certifications respecting strict and official standards, which will reassure the consumers and act as real substantiation for the authorities. While we offer vegan, natural, GMO/Gluten/Soy-free, organic and reef-friendly certifications, we propose a last certification helping brands to substantiate several environmental claims at once, including carbon related claims: the clean beauty certification.

clean certification for cosmetics

It respects the last regulatory changes and official standards easily available on our website, comes with its own logo for marketing communication, can be shown to the authorities and substantiate several claims at the same time, such as:

  • Vegan
  • Reef-friendly –> By excluding a list of several ingredients.
  • Carbon footprint compensation or reduction –> The cosmetic brand should dedicate at least 0.2% of its revenue each year to reducing or compensating its carbon emissions. BIORIUS checks the brand’s engagement, such as improvements in building insulation, investing in CO2 emissions capture or financial support to nonprofit organizations engaged in reforestation, recycling or decontamination projects for example.
  • Environment friendly –> By excluding a list of several ingredients.
  • Recyclable packaging
  • And other standards which you can find here.

As a result, our clean certification for cosmetics is a strong tool to back claims and easily prove your environmental statements.

clean certification for cosmetics

On our level, BIORIUS is dedicating a part of its revenue to a tree nursery in Madagascar, in partnership with the organisation Graine de Vie. Furthermore, for every 200€ of services ordered with us, we plant 1 tree in your name.

This initiative is part of our greater mission to promote environmental actions within the beauty industry, by providing our cosmetic clean certification, ensuring the safety of cosmetics’ formula and helping beauty brands to comply with European Union and United Kingdom’s EPR recycling obligations and environmental labelling.

Author

  • Frédéric Lebreux

    Dr. Frédéric Lebreux is Biorius's Chief Executive Officer and has worked in the cosmetic industry for more than 13 years. He is regularly invited as a speaker or Professor to cosmetic events.