Monday, April 22, 2013

Earth Day Tribute - The Green Scene

It is impressive to see how many spas are modifying the way they do business to become more earth friendly. Many are making a conscious effort to be in harmony with nature. A truly “Green Spa” uses organically certified products and practices ecological management by being energy conscious and making sure they use low energy lighting, recyclable products, phosphate free cleaning products and consciencious waste management.

Environmentally conscious marketing campaigns are quickly becoming one of the most important movements in recent memory. Earth friendly companies are writing corporate policies based on living in harmony with nature. The organic cosmetic market is on board and growing at a rate of 20% - 30% per year. Unfortunately, with no legislation governing the claims of green companies there is great deal of controversy. The following definition of terms may help to clear up some of the confusion.

"Organic" refers to carbon compounds. Organic labels do not guarantee anything unless they are Certified Organic. There are a few associations working to establish criteria for claims being made, such as BDIH in Germany, AIAB in Italy, and EcoCert in France. EcoCert is the most recognized as it is over sixteen years old and used in over eighty countries, including the European Union. The EcoCert label guarantees that 95% of a product's ingredients are of natural origin, with a minimum of 10% coming from certified organic farming. Companies must also show respect for the environment with good manufacturing certifications, no animal testing, minimum certified preservatives, adherence to the Eco-Charter (recycling) and promote research enhancing plant use in cosmetics.

“Natural” does not imply any guarantees and basically means the ingredients used are from nature’s broad spectrum, including plants, whether grown in organic soil or not.

“Ecological” is also not a certification, but usually means the environment is respected in the management of actives, but does not necessarily mean organic. Ecological products generally require that a minimum of 5% of the ingredients come from organic farming. Certified Organic products are usually ecological too, but not visa versa. There are some ecological brands that promote fair trade and defend the environment, but the ecological branding does not apply to their product ingredients. It is all in the advertising and the implications.

It all sounds rather complicated, doesn't it? Simply put, . . . if using organic products is important to you, look for the certification labels. Mother’s Day is around the corner offering each and every one of us a perfect opportunity to do our best to pay our respects to Mother Earth.