By  on April 2, 2010

The effort for instituting a global natural beauty seal is heating up.

Brussels-based NaTrue, also known as the International Organic Cosmetics Association, looks to further join regional certifications to a more globally recognized and understood consumer standard: Its latest effort, on March 12, had the organization sign an agreement with Ann Arbor, Michigan-based NSF International, the organization that institutes the highest natural standard made specifically for the beauty industry in the U.S. The agreement will offer those who have the NSF standard and seal the opportunity to gain global recognition under the NaTrue seal and standard.

The not-for-profit began its crusade in May 2008, putting together a label and a standard to gain worldwide guidance and offer natural beauty care makers a uniform way of defining different levels of natural and organic formulas.

In less than two years, 23 brands have about 470 of their products NaTrue certified — in varying levels of natural and organic — and on shelves bearing the NaTrue label, including some of the industry’s largest, like Burt’s Bees.

Amala and Weleda are the two main brands using the NSF standard and seal at the moment. Weleda also has a product out that features NaTrue and NSF as part of the new harmonization. Weleda and Dr. Hauschka products in the U.S. and Europe will feature the NaTrue label starting this fall.

A product meeting NSF standards contains at least 70 percent organic ingredients. Then, the product is broken down by whether it is natural, natural with organic ingredients or organic.

Minimum and maximum levels for these ingredient groups are strictly regulated per product type. For example, Burt’s Bees items will come under the NaTrue Level 1 Certified Natural level. To earn a seal, 75 percent of the firm’s entire offerings must be worthy of a seal.

“Labeling and wording is different in every country. This will globalize the effort,” said Julie Tyrrell, secretary general of NaTrue, whose past experience includes manager of European Regulatory Affairs at the Estée Lauder Cos Inc.

She and others, including executives from Weleda and Dr. Hauschka, are founding board members of NaTrue.

Last year, NaTrue’s big coup was partnering with the Natural Products Association, a Washington D.C.-based organization that represents both natural food and personal care products. A final agreement with NPA is expected this fall. Other well-known standard makers, such as Eco-Cert and Soil Association, have yet to partner with NaTrue.

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