Have you found yourself wondering what makes an organic product actually organic?
Everywhere you turn there is a new product claiming to be more sustainable and natural than the next, but is it all just greenwashing? At Sky Organics, we’ve been committed to making natural and certified organic ingredients accessible to all from the very beginning, and if we can’t certify it as organic, we’ll make it as natural as possible, so you never have to doubt what’s inside. However, we know that understanding what makes a product truly organic can be confusing, that’s why we’re breaking down some common product certifications, what they mean to us as a natural and organic brand, and why they matter.
USDA is the only standardized, government-regulated system in the US that exists to ensure the safety of food we put in our bodies and products we put on our bodies. Since the term “organic” is not regulated by the FDA, it gets abused by beauty brands that claim to be “all natural,” but only the products that have the USDA label can be trusted to be actually organic and safe. In order for a product to be eligible for certification, it must be made up of agricultural ingredients, and meet the USDA organic production, handling, processing, and labeling standards, which are pretty strict. So, when you see a USDA certification seal on a product, that means it contains a minimum of 95% organically produced ingredients.
The aim of the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is to set global requirements that ensure organic status of goods, such as our cotton products, from harvesting, through environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing, all the way up to labelling. A textile product carrying the GOTS label certifies that it contains a minimum of 95% certified organic fibers. This standard not only sets requirements on the production of these products, but also on the working and social conditions that go into making them in order to protect consumers from harmful ingredients, as well as the planet from a negative carbon footprint.
USDA Biobased products, while they fall under the umbrella of USDA certified, have their own certification and aim to increase the purchase and use of biobased products. The term “biobased” means that the product is composed in whole or in significant part of a biological product, so the ingredients are derived from raw materials such as plants and other renewable agricultural materials. USDA Biobased Certifications continue to contribute to reducing harmful environmental and health impacts by diminishing our reliance on petroleum and increasing the use of renewable sources.
When you see the National Sanitation Foundation, or NSF, symbol on your products, it means that those products meet specific sanitation and food safety requirements that regular products do not. This symbol separates products made from pure, organic materials from those who claim that they’re made from organic products. NSF was designed for products like soaps and lotions that contain non-food ingredients and require different manufacturing processes, like our Vitamin E Oil that, while not fully organic, contains organic ingredients. In order to be NSF certified, our products have undergone regular testing to meet the strict requirements set by this foundation, such as making sure that our ingredients are grown and processed without the use of synthetic chemicals or pesticides, so you can rest assured that the products you are applying on your skin are made from real ingredients and no harsh chemicals.
The purpose of Oregon Tilth is to educate gardeners, farmers, legislators and consumers alike about the need to develop and use sustainable growing practices that promote soil health, conserve natural resources and prevent environmental degradation while producing clean and healthful supplies for humanity. Oregon Tilth works to maintain the integrity of organic products through programs and services that make possible a sustainable production. They work with processors, handlers and marketers of organic products to provide a strict production standards, inspections and legally binding contracts to ensure a product’s organic integrity from farm to table.
EcoCert is an organic certification and inspection body established in France. When you see this label on your products, it means that its formula has a minimum of 95% plant-based ingredients, which means that the raw materials used to create a product must be obtained from renewable, eco-friendly sources and have been carefully processed. In order to receive the ECO Certification, suppliers, manufactures, distributors and developers must adhere to their strict guidelines and rules. Not only does the product itself have to follow the guidelines, but the packaging does, too.
The cruelty-free certification is extremely valuable to us, because it means that we do not use animals to test our products at any step of the process. Many companies that claim their products to not be tested on animals, don’t mention the fact that their ingredients are, but unlike them, our’s are certified by PETA. We made a pledge, from the inception of Sky Organics, to clear animal testing from all stages of our product’s development, even at the ingredient level.