Welcome to our exclusive Q&A Interview series in the run-up to Eco Life Scandinavia and the Nordic Organic Food Fair which return on 17-18 November 2021. we’ll be speaking to some of the biggest names in the natural health, beauty, sustainable living and the organic food and drink world. You’ll find out how they adapt to the current climate, their thoughts on the challenges and opportunities ahead. Plus, what they are doing to support their teams and local communities.
We caught up with Viktoria Potko, NATRUE’s Label and Events Officer.
Viktoria is responsible for the management of the NATRUE Label and the coordination of NATRUE’s participation at cosmetic trade shows and events. Before joining NATRUE in July 2020, she worked for well-established natural and organic cosmetics companies in Estonia and Russia.
How did you get into the natural sector?
Before joining NATRUE in July 2020 as Label and Events Officer, I worked for several years for well-established natural and organic cosmetics companies in Estonia and Russia. With my personal interest in natural and organic beauty care, working for the NATRUE Association and promoting the NOC sector is an excellent opportunity to learn about the latest trends and devote a particular attention to sustainability and safety of ingredients which I find extremely important nowadays.
Can you tell us a little bit about your company?
NATRUE, the International Natural and Organic Cosmetics Association, advocates for the promotion and protection of natural and organic cosmetics to the benefit of consumers worldwide. For more than 13 years, we have been the voice of the natural and organic cosmetic sector in Europe. The NATRUE Label sets a high benchmark to guarantee consumers maximum levels of natural and organic content in NATRUE certified cosmetics.
Through its rigorous set of criteria, which includes requirements not only linked to the formulation of products but also to the protection of the environment, sustainability and packaging, the NATRUE Label actively contributes to combatting greenwashing and misleading claims in the cosmetics sector and helps consumers to identify cosmetics that fully meet their expectations of “natural” and “organic”. All NATRUE certified products can be checked in our online database at www.natrue.org.
What do you think are the biggest opportunities facing the natural/vegan/free from/sustainable sector/s?
High demand for natural cosmetic ingredients all over the world, the changes in consumer behaviour and re-evaluation of consumer’s purchase priorities with ethical considerations driving more conscious purchases and creating opportunities for NOC sector. The importance of environmental issues is growing, making sustainability, ethical sourcing and their related labelling schemes more efficient and reliable for consumers.
And what do you think are the biggest challenges?
“Naturalness” is a multifactorial concept highly influenced by consumer personal preference. This concept has become more complex in the last years due to market fragmentation and the appearance of multiple labels and seals highlighting diverse product’s aspects. Consumers willing to buy natural/organic cosmetics risk being misled by marketing “tricks” from nature-inspired brands, therefore the tools promoting transparency when it comes to product information can help consumers differentiate verifiable claims from greenwashing.
What do you think can be done to educate consumers about the importance of living healthier and more sustainable?
Natural and organic cosmetics are greatly influencing and changing the cosmetics panorama. While “beauty” is still the main term that comes to mind when we think about cosmetic products, an increasing number of consumers expect to find “sustainable”, “environmentally friendly” and “ethical” qualities in the cosmetics they purchase. Natural and organic cosmetics represent these in an authentic way as they are part of their core values and commitment not only to human wellbeing, but also to the protection of the environment and biodiversity.
Product transparency and information are essential to support consumer purchase decisions and to keep them engaged with the values represented by natural and organic products. A better understanding of the attributes that consumers look for in natural and organic cosmetics can help brands identify the elements that support an informed decision-making process and product transparency, which would contribute to combatting greenwashing more effectively.
Do you have any plans or news that you can tell us about?
NATRUE participates in and contributes to relevant regulatory decision-making bodies at European and international level. Through its key contribution to working groups, consultations and research projects, NATRUE provides expertise to advocate for the natural and organic cosmetic sector, addressing both challenges and opportunities. Through our partnerships and collaborations with key stakeholders in the cosmetics sector at international level, we keep working to ensure the protection and promotion of the natural and organic cosmetics sector.
Apart from our advocacy work, we keep working on the further development of the NATRUE Label criteria to include relevant criteria for consumer in line with the principles of green chemistry.