European Commission Publishes EU Ecolabel Criteria for Rinse-off Cosmetics

Sustainable palm oil for soaps and shampoos

On 9 December 2014, the European Commission published its Decision establishing the ecological criteria for the award of the EU Ecolabel for rinse-off cosmetics.

For the first time, a product category of the EU Ecolabel now has a requirement for sustainably produced agricultural biomass. Palm oil being an important component of the majority of cosmetics, this is a very relevant criterion. The criteria catalogue states that “palm oil and palm kernel oil and their derivatives used in the product must be sourced from plantations that meet criteria for sustainable management that have been developed by multi-stakeholder organisations that have a broad- based membership including NGOs, industry and government.“

For certification, applicants shall provide third-party certification such as RSPO or any equivalent scheme based on multi-stakeholder management criteria. For chemical derivatives of palm oil and palm kernel oil, it is acceptable to demonstrate sustainability through book and claim systems such as GreenPalm or equivalent.

Other criteria relevant for the bio-based sector are the prohibition of micro-plastics in the cosmetics and the exclusion of certain plastics for the packaging.

The official Commission Decision can be found here:

In the Open-Bio project, nova-Institute is working with in order to assess possibilities of expanding the EU Ecolabel to cover more bio-based products. For more information on the project, please visit or contact Lara Dammer (


Lara Dammer


nova-Institut GmbH, 2014-12-16.


European Commission
nova-Institut GmbH
Roundtable On Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)


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