Mislabelling and false claims rife in Asian organic cosmetics
Research company Organic Monitor has warned that consumers in Asia are being mislead by cosmetic companies claiming their products are organic or natural. With no private standards as in Europe or the US, companies are trying to win market share of the fast-growing natural and organic markets by mislabelling and making false claims.
Coming ahead of its workshops on the “Business Openings in the Global Market for Natural & Organic Cosmetics” at the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit to be held in Hong Kong at the beginning of November, Organic Monitor warns that many cosmetic brands are making natural claims based on their natural ingredients.
“Some products are promoted as organic, even though they contain just trace organic ingredients. Others are placing symbols and logos of their certified ingredients on product packaging, giving an illusion that the finished product is certified. Some Asian companies are going further by illegitimately placing symbols and logos of natural and organic cosmetic standards on product packaging,” it said in a statement.
But it added that there are positive signs and that a number of retail groups are acting on behalf of the consumer. “They are becoming ‘gate-keepers’ for pure natural and organic brands,” reported the research company. “Many specialist retailers are demanding natural and organic brands substantiate their marketing claims by certification,” it added.
It pointed to Just Life, the leading organic food retailer in Malaysia, as having taken a decision to only consider new brands that have certified products. Other retailers are scrutinising the ingredient list of cosmetic products to verify their ‘chemical-free’ status.
Organic Monitor says, however, that it remains the case that few Asian consumers are able to distinguish between pure natural cosmetics and falsely labelled ones. Consumer education continues to be essential.