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The NATRUE label, established by the International Natural and Organic Cosmetics Association, is one of the most recognized seals in the global natural cosmetics market. Currently, more than 6,400 products and 2,700 raw materials bear this certification. Within our SGS testing network, SGS INSTITUT FRESENIUS Austria serves as an accredited certification body for awarding this label. In this article, we aim to inform you about the requirements associated with obtaining the license and the changes in the certification process that will take effect from 2024.

Sustainable consumption choices

The global market for natural cosmetics is estimated to generate approximately €12 billion in revenue for the year 2023. By 2028, it is projected to reach a market volume of €17.4 billion. These figures reflect a growing portion of the population adopting a more sustainable lifestyle and making corresponding sustainable consumption choices.

Seals like the NATRUE label assist consumers in identifying natural and organic cosmetics. In principle, raw materials, formulations, and finished products can be certified with the NATRUE label.

SGS INSTITUT FRESENIUS Austria is an accredited, independent certification body (NAC) with official authorization for NATRUE criteria certification. The nature and scope of the certification process depend on various criteria. Finished products always undergo documentation review and an audit (Finished Product Certification). In the case of raw materials, the extent of certification or approval is determined by their categorization into one of three categories (see Table 1).

Raw Material Approval Raw Material Certification
Natural or natural-close raw materials (not organic) Raw materials from organic farming (not certified according to a standard recognised by IFOAM) Raw materials certified according to a standard recognised by IFOAM with further processing

After a documentation check, the raw material is considered approved

After a documentation check and an audit (every two years), the raw material is considered certified

After a documentation check and an audit (one-time), the raw material is considered certified

Table 1: Scope of certification for raw materials. Important: Raw materials certified according to a standard recognised by IFOAM without further processing are accepted directly.

Natural, Nature-Identical, Nature-Close

Raw materials can only receive certification or approval if they are natural, nature-close, or nature-identical raw materials. NATRUE provides the following definitions: Natural raw materials are unmodified substances from nature obtained through physical processes (e.g., extraction) or by non-genetically modified microorganisms (e.g., through fermentation).

Nature-close raw materials are substances from nature that are modified using permissible chemical processes. They must originate solely from 100% natural ingredients and not from synthetic substances.

Nature-identical raw materials are substances occurring in nature that can be reproduced in the laboratory when the technical effort to obtain them from nature is too great. Only selected pigments, minerals, and preservatives are allowed in this category, and only if they are absolutely necessary to ensure consumer safety and ingredient purity.

For finished products, NATRUE offers two certification levels: Natural and Organic Cosmetics. In both categories, products must contain a minimum amount of natural substances and a maximum amount of nature-close substances. Additionally, specific requirements are imposed on packaging, carrier materials, manufacturing processes, as well as environmental and ethical criteria.

Increased Requirements from July 2024

For first-time certifications of finished products, the requirements for obtaining the NATRUE seal are being raised. Starting from July 1, 2024, only products that meet all NATRUE requirements and whose every ingredient is also approved or certified will be allowed to bear the seal. This requirement will be extended to recertifications from July 1, 2025, further elevating the standard.

Manufacturers seeking certification according to NATRUE criteria must enter into two separate contractual agreements: one for licensing with the label holder, the International Natural and Organic Cosmetics Association (NATRUE Label Agreement), and one for testing with the certification body (Certification Agreement).

As an accredited certification body, SGS INSTITUT FRESENIUS Austria has already conducted approvals and certifications of raw materials and finished products for over 40 international manufacturers of natural and organic cosmetics.

"As an accredited certification body, we provide initial information and details about the awarding process to interested licensees," says Ilka Pusch, Group Leader NATRUE at SGS INSTITUT FRESENIUS Austria, adding that "often, especially at the beginning of the awarding process, intensive customer consultation regarding the criteria to be met is necessary."

Further information can be found on the websites of SGS INSTITUT FRESENIUS and NATRUE. In addition, Ms. Ilka Pusch and the NATRUE certification team at SGS INSTITUT FRESENIUS Austria can be reached at the email address listed below.


Ilka Pusch


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Further information and download

For more information on the topic, see the following links or the brochure on the topic.

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