From the natural fibres in our clothing ranges, to the active botanicals in our range of skincare, we have always championed organic initiatives. This month we’re pushing our commitment further. Our collaboration with the Soil Association not only supports their mission for an ‘Organic September’, it raises awareness of how we, as individuals, can help to spur change – helping us to make better choices for both ourselves and the world that we live in.
The reasons behind choosing organic are simple. It supports our natural ecosystems and wildlife; it enriches our soils and breathes life into our planet – not forgetting the remedial effect it can have on our skin, hair and bodies. But communicating this to a wider audience takes a collective effort – which is why a bigger conversation is crucial. By amplifying the dialogue around sourcing, eating and using organic, we can inspire others to do the same – and ultimately make a difference.
Our world is shifting, and offering new opportunities to behave differently - whether we’re swerving shop-bought produce for our local farmers’ market, or swapping our normal skincare for “green” alternatives. But with this change comes a need to think differently too. Take, for example, our everyday beauty products. Today’s modern shampoos feel lovely; they froth easily and leave things feeling “squeaky clean”. But that luxurious lather is actually a very unnatural process; while the newfound silkiness of our hair is the result of a silicone-rich formula. Replacing your usual shampoo with an organic equivalent may remove the sensorial experience – but it doesn’t mean you’re compromising on cleanliness.
‘As people go through this journey of trying to live a more sustainable and authentic lifestyle, there is a process of re-educating oneself,’ agrees Georgia Barnes of the Soil Association. ‘We have to read the labels of the products that we use with care, and look for naturally-occurring ingredients - rather than simply listening to what we’ve been taught to believe to be true.’
‘The easiest way to be certain about what you're buying is to look for the Soil Association logo - we certify to the International COSMOS standards for cosmetics, and our Health & Beauty Standard for your non-cosmetic wellbeing products’, advises Georgia. ‘What’s more, we review the entire manufacturing process: from ingredient and formulation approvals, to the types of packaging and cleaning processes used’.
According to the Soil Association Organic Beauty & Wellbeing Market Report 2019, there are over 26,000 certified organic and naturals ingredients on the COSMOS database, with over 10,000 certified COSMOS products across 794 brands. That’s a 100% year-on-year increase. Today, sales of certified organic and natural beauty products account for £86.5m in the UK, while Soil Association data shows a 14% increase year-on-year growth – but not all beauty companies are cleaning up their act.
Be wary of brands that use their own logos, stating claims such as “naturally derived” or terminology such as “naturally inspired”, which Georgia warns can be misleading. ‘Instead, choose brands that are certified, and which live and breathe the ethos of organic – then you can trust that it’s good for you and the environment’.
Millennials and Gen Z were quick to embrace organic: this group represents 39% of the general population, and is part of a growing number of switched-on consumers who regularly check the list of ingredients before they buy products. And the numbers are multiplying - today, 65% of consumers expect brands to share where they source their ingredients.
Of course, there is still plenty of space for innovation in the world of organic cosmetics – particularly when it comes to makeup and sunscreen. But with this surge in awareness, and our constant challenging of modern brands and businesses, we can ensure that the products we use are affecting a positive change. ‘That’s why we are continually working to elevate the standards that we’re using and combining our efforts with other like-minded bodies through the COSMOS partnership,’ says Georgia. ‘We want to make sure that consumers can actually trust what they’re buying’.