Why Bother with Certification?
We have always believed in using only the safest ingredients in our products, ensuring we incorporate the best of nature. We want to give the safest and most effective products to our customers. At the same time, we also want to make sure we do not harm Mother Earth in the process of manufacturing the products or in the ingredients making their way to us. These are all key criteria when choosing our ingredients, how we manufacture our products and how we market our products.
In our R&D journey, we were surprised to find that there was minimal government enforcement on the ingredients you cannot use in a product. Sure, there were guidelines on what you can and cannot use, but prior to the sale, there was no testing of products to ensure it was safe or only contained the stated ingredients. There was also no certainty that all the ingredients had been identified on the label. Marketing claims are often unchecked too. Instead of taking advantage of this lack of governance, we were astounded that not more was being done to ensure customers get safe products and more education on what this means.
As we educated ourselves, we realised that it was important to make sure we were not self-certifying our own products to be the safest according to our own criteria. That would make us hypocritical. Instead, we went through the different standards and found one that worked to the same principles we were looking to uphold. This is where Ecocert came in.
Based in France, Ecocert has subsidiaries in 26 countries and conducts inspections in more than 80 countries. Ecocert audits us rigorously, starting with the formulation that we propose for our product, including the source of ingredients. Only then can our product be manufactured. Product labels and brochures are also checked. A physical audit takes place at least once a year. I say ‘at least’ because we have been audited twice a year before thanks to the big range of products we have. During the physical audit, Ecocert firstly checks that our manufacturing plant complies to their standards, which aside from hygiene, also includes the impact on the environment. They then go through our production sheets to work out how much products we have produced, hence how much ingredients we have used. They have the unenviable task of checking our purchase records to determine how much ingredients we have purchased, match that against current ingredient quantities to evaluate if we have used the amount of ingredients we indicated on our formulations. In some countries, we have been informed that they also purchase a few products outside on their own to test and determine if the ingredients used match the ones on the ingredient labels and approved formulations.
The transparency that Ecocert provides is something we welcome. Their standards are easily available. List of accredited companies is available too, so you can check if your manufacturer is really Ecocert-certified as they claim they are. (Yes, we have come across some who claim they are only to be refuted by Ecocert.)
Whilst the process was tedious and time consuming at the start, we always believed we were doing the right track. There was no point in us proclaiming our product to be the safest, natural or organic if we did not have the proof to back it up. Isn’t this akin to claiming to your employer that you scored all A’s in SPM and won many sporting competitions but unable to provide the SPM certificate or the medals or certificates from the competitions? We welcomed Ecocert’s rigorous audit, pressures and all, as the certification was an easy identifier to our customers that our products are safe and do not contain any of the nasty harmful ingredients. At least, we know that when you see a product with Ecocert’s logo, you know that it is certified organic, contains no harmful chemicals and produced with environmentally friendly practices.
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