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Natrue: Lobbying in Brussels the top priority

by Redaktion (comments: 0)


The list of activities and projects of the natural cosmetics industry association Natrue and its office in Brussels is long, a fact that became abundantly clear at the annual general meeting on 23 May 2014 in Frankfurt. Natrue’s President Klara Ahlers (Lavera) welcomed the roughly 50 members and guests to the public part of the assembly. The meeting of the board had taken place the day before.

(Picture: Natrue President Klara Ahlers conducted the meeting of members and welcomed Nikolina Uzunova representing a new member from Bulgaria)Some representatives of new member firms had come to Frankfurt to introduce themselves in person, including Nikolina Uzunova from the Bulgarian National Association Essential Oils, Perfumery & Cosmetics, Patrizia Poggiali from the Italian manufacturer of natural cosmetics Gala Cosmetici, Josef Belt from Belmar Bio-Kosmetik in Landshut and Seamus Mac Cathmhaoil (picture) from the Irish natural cosmetics firm IrishOrganics. 20 new members joined Natrue last year and, even though the emphasis is still on the German-speaking countries (69 %), Natrue Label manager Francesca Morgante pointed out that the association was becoming much more international. The label is now represented in 13 countries. Firms from, for example, Sweden, Great Britain, Austria, Italy, Croatia, Malta, Turkey, Switzerland, the USA and Germany had their products certified by Natrue in 2013 and during the first few months of 2014.

The managing director of Natrue, Julie Tyrell, stressed the importance of internationalization with regard to their work in Brussels – it gives it more weight. She reported on the work of the board and the office. By means of a revision of the  criteria for membership and a more flexible allocation of full membership (A), Member B (conventional firms with organic lines) and Member C (production, trade) and Associate Member, 20 new members were recruited and lobbying is now on a broader basis. A new associate member is the drugstore chain Rossmann. Morgante (picture) reviewed the successful year 2013: the number of brands carrying the Natrue label has risen from 120 to 146, and 1,030 new products have been added (in total, more than 3,800 products and over 250 raw materials are certified). The first quarter of 2014 again exceeded all expectations: in the first few months, nearly 350 new products received the Natrue label - 40 % more than in the same period last year.
 
Lobbying in Brussels is the top priority for the Natrue office in the Belgian capital. Under the management of Julie Tyrell (picture on right), they operate in three work groups and deal with political issues affecting natural cosmetics (Political Agenda Work Group), developing guidelines and scientific questions (Research Scientific Work Group) and with communication (Communication Work Group). Political work in Brussels is currently focused on three themes that are of great importance for the whole natural cosmetics industry: the revision of Article 20 of the European Cosmetics Directive (EC 1223/2009) by the EU Commission; the second subject of debate is the new Fragrance Regulation, and the third theme is denatured ingredients in cosmetics and designing appropriate regulations. Natrue is playing a significant role in all these issues. 

On the international level Natrue and IBD equivalence will open markets. IBD the largest Brazilian certifier of organic (about 70 % market share) have joined forces with Natrue. Since the agreement was signed at the BioFach 2014 all natural and organic cosmetic products (raw materials, formulas and finished products) certified to the Natrue Label may automatically receive the “IBD natural ingredients seal” without undergoing additional certification or costs – only a seal fee for the use of the IBD label will be charged. (Picture: Julie Tyrell, Natrue and Alexandre Harkaly, IBD at the Bio Brazil, BioFach America Latina, in Sao Paulo)

Another important project of the association is researching the manufacture of biotensides in collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute IGB. Dr. Ana Lucia Vascuez, group leader for clinical technology, and Dr. Susanne Zibek, group leader for industrial biotechnology at the Fraunhofer Institute IGB, presented the results so far of the project ‘Organic for Surfactants’ (O4S): the biotensides are to be manufactured from organic production waste in keeping with Natrue criteria (more information here).

The guest lecture by Marco Schlüter, the director of the IFOAM EU Group, was relevant to the political work in Brussels, because the question of how organic agriculture will be regulated in future plays a not insignificant role for the natural and organic cosmetics sector, given the fact that organic agriculture is the source of many of its raw materials. Marco Schlüter explained the problems involved in another revision after only a relatively short time and the possible consequences for imports. Instead of a complete revision, the IFOAM EU Group is calling for a revision of the currently binding regulation on the basis of organic principles and a legal framework that supports the development of the whole sector.

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