The ISO 16128 standard, European standard or Green Washing on a large scale?

The ISO 16128 standard, European standard or Green Washing on a large scale?

The world of beauty is paved with regulations that govern organic cosmetics. Label , certification , standards…

If you want to educate yourself on this technical question, there are many things to consider.

Certain regulations and standards are clearly beneficial.

They make it possible to fight against ecological abuse , and for the well-being of the planet and the skin.

But not all of them are advantageous.

This is for example the case of the ISO 16128 standard , which has been at the center of numerous debates since 2017.

But what is this standard?

Why is it controversial?

Green Spa tells you everything.

What is the ISO 16128 standard?

The ISO 16128 standard was created in 2017. It comes from the reflection of 28 countries , and is based on very good intentions.

The primary objective of this standard was to concretely define what we consider to be organic products and natural products.

It is neither a label , nor a law , nor a specification : it is a simple harmonization text, which had planned to smooth out organic requirements internationally.

If it had worked as it should have, it would have made it possible to harmonize the definition of “ organic ” on cosmetic products.

From one European country to another, consumers would therefore have known what they were dealing with when purchasing a particular cosmetic.

This standard therefore establishes 4 categories of ingredients , and gives the necessary calculations to know the naturalness indices of each ingredient .

The idea was to allow cosmetic manufacturers to display “20% ingredients of natural origin”, or other percentages.

An excellent idea, to harmonize the requirements in terms of natural and organic composition, throughout Europe.

But then, what happened to make the standard the center of many scandals?

Why the ISO 16128 standard
is it controversial?

Quite simply because even if the intention was good, the execution was not.

Indeed, this desire to harmonize biological requirements has in reality resulted in a sort of generalized Greenwashing.

The ISO 16128 standard could be displayed on the label of the products, which calculated their organic percentage according to the given calculations.

But !

The ISO 16128 standard simply defines what it wants to see in natural products, without looking at what it does not want to see there.

Which means that a manufacturer could absolutely put its percentage of organic products in its cosmetics.

In the company of preservatives, parabens , phthalates, petrochemical products…

And even with a composition of 80% harmful ingredients and 20% organic ingredients, the ISO 16128 standard authorized suppliers to display its logo.

Which inevitably misled consumers.

Instead of becoming a guarantee of quality, the ISO 16128 standard has gradually become a manifestation of Greenwashing on a European scale.

Not to mention that even in its definition of natural product, this standard only did half the job. It defined the natural product as having to contain 50% natural ingredients.

A “natural” product was therefore only half natural.

No real control, no blacklist of compounds to be banned, no regulations on manufacturing processes...

It is all these points which have made the ISO 16128 standard a real pariah in the world of natural cosmetics.

A statement to ban from the cosmetics you use in your institute!

But there are other mentions that are worth the detour:

  • Everything you need to know about the Organic label in the cosmetics world
  • The European Organic label: how does it work in the world of cosmetics?
  • What does the Organic Agriculture label imply on cosmetic products?
  • Take care of animals by choosing cosmetics bearing the Cruelty Free label
  • The Vegan label: the essentials for choosing the right cosmetics
  • Ecocert, the quality label for all professional cosmetics!
  • The Cosmos label, or how to make the right choices in cosmetics
  • The Natrue label in the cosmetic world: what does it imply?