We often praise the merits of eco labelled cosmetic products, which represent a quality guarantee. We also talk about the Ecogarantie requirements that made us one of the strictest ecolabels in Europe. But do you know what certifications involve? What are the processes? The advantages? Let’s go behind the scenes and discover certification processes for ecolabelled products.
How can a product be certified?
To make sure they respect several precise criteria, an audit organisation controls a given brand in order to get a certification. In organic cosmetics, these criteria are based on composition and environmental impact. They are listed in a reference document, called specifications.
So, what are the steps to follow in order to get the certification?
The mandatory process before getting the Ecogarantie certification
In our case, there are different steps to follow before being certified:
- First, the brand (or operator) must have his products audited. At Ecogarantie, we are not allowed to control a brand because we are a non-profit organisation. We call on three independent control organisations (Certisys, TUV Nord Integra and Quality Partner) to execute the audit, which guarantees a 100% neutral certification. The brand must contact the organisation to learn more about their control fees and set up a date for the audit.
- The products and the production site are then inspected by experts. If they uphold the specifications, the brand will get a certificate. The membership to our association is now possible and both parties have to sign a contract.
- Finally, the operator becomes a member of our association and a user of the Ecogarantie label. Then, we send the member our logo and a membership certificate.
How does the audit take place?
The first control is mandatory before getting the certification. The others take place once or twice a year, according to the company’s importance, to extend the contract. You have to know that unexpected audits might be carried out to make sure that products are in order throughout the year.
The different control steps
- Documentary evaluation of the files given by the operator (about its products, suppliers…)
- Visit of the production site (inspection of manufacturing, storage…)
- Flow and traceability control
- Balance in/out inspection (to avoid frauds with raw materials)
The checked elements
- The ingredients (the raw materials must be organic and the suppliers must be committed to this approach)
- The product’s composition
- The similarity between the quantity of bought and sold products
- The production and storage places
- The transformation process
- The labels and packaging
At the end, the auditor writes an audit report and creates minutes. He will inform the company of the improvements to be made, the elements to add and the failures about their products. Then he will present this report to the certification team who takes the final decision and creates the contracts.
There is no deadline to get the certificate, it could take between a week and a month from the moment you uphold the criteria. The easier the administrative procedure is for the control organisation, the quickest the brand will get its certificate.
What are the advantages of a certification?
The ecolabel certification is a quality guarantee that goes beyond the products without any certification. The consumer can be sure that the product has been inspected and that it upholds precise criteria.
- The first advantage, quite obvious, is to offer consumers ecological products. Depending on ecolabels and specifications, the ingredients are to be natural and pretty often from organic farming. Most chemical substances that could harm your health or the environment are prohibited.
- The second advantage is that ecolabels in the organic cosmetics sector aim to share values with their members and the consumers. From a societal and environmental point of view, it’s interesting to join an ecolabel you care about. Thanks to the visibility you give, it can allow it to fulfil its purpose.
A certification process is not an easy thing, and it requires a total commitment. You have seen that a certification and an ecolabel involve a thorough control process. But it’s through eco labelled products that you can avoid greenwashing, the main thing we fight against at Ecogarantie!