Why are Certifications Bodies essential in greenwashing prevention?

A live panel discussion was held on June 25th 2020 during the Clean Beauty Connect event that was initially planned to take place in Los Angeles. COSMOS was represented by Pauline Raffaitin from Ecocert. Other speakers included Mark Smith for Natrue, Monica Becker for Cradle to Cradle and the certified companies (Lori Krebs, Ancora Holdings / Rob Keen, Weleda).

They debated “Why Certification Bodies Are Essential In Greenwashing Prevention And Will Continue To Generate ROI For Clean Beauty Brands”.

The discussion covered wide ranging aspects such as:

  • defining and differentiating the various terms in the sector, how some of those create confusion for consumers and why this represents an issue in clean beauty

  • explaining how 3rd parties’ certification can help and what their wider role is

  • sharing certified companies’ perspectives on certification and how they choose a Certification Body

  • identifying what kind of challenges brands can face in meeting certification requirements

  • describing how retailers’ own requirements impact brands

  • discussing the impact of the lack of cosmetic regulations on the market and the role retailer play in ensuring consumer protection.

The consensus coming out of the discussion was that consumer perception varies greatly according to what terms are used to define sustainable beauty. Certification represents a tool that serves the whole value chain from field to consumer including raw material suppliers, cosmetic manufacturers and brands in a sustainable practice process. It provides a framework which is particularly crucial where regulations are weak.

All agreed that it is essential for the Clean, Green, Natural Beauty industry to offer guarantees to ensure consumer confidence -both in brands and distributors. Consumer confidence can easily be lost if the storytelling and more importantly the claims behind it are not consistent and reliable from start to end.

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