Most people agree that the safety and quality of the food we eat are important, but less attention is paid to other products we are exposed to on a daily basis. Many of the items we use every day, such as personal care and cosmetic products, cleaning products and even our clothes, have been shown to contain hormone-disrupting and cancer-promoting substances, yet most people use them daily without being aware of the risks. The Organics Council ® is working towards higher standards of safety and sustainability, not only to ensure the term ‘organic’ really means ‘organic’ in food production but also to bring the principles of organic production into all areas of life.

In our mission to achieve these goals, we always adhere to our set of core principles:

  • Health before profit. We represent the interests of public and environmental health before the needs of industry. Existing regulations are written to protect industrial and economic interests in combination with public health, but at the Organics Council ®, the health of the public and the planet are the highest priority and precede the needs of industry.
  • Environmentally friendly. Our health and the health of the planet are deeply interconnected. The Organics Council ® wants to leave a safer world than we found it for our future generations, with less industry dependence on harmful chemicals and practices. We promote the use of only the safest and most sustainable substances and practices, assessing their impact throughout the entire lifecycle of production, usage and disposal/recycling. It is not acceptable to manufacture products that are safe for humans at the expense of our environment. Sustainability requires out-of-the-box thinking; for example, when it comes to the safest choice of pesticides, ‘natural’ options are taken for granted as being safe, even when scientific facts prove otherwise.
  • Bringing an end to food waste. Food waste is a major problem our world is facing today. The developed world is wasting as much as one-third of all food produced, equivalent to respectively €143 billion in the European Union in 2012[6] and $161 billion in the USA in 2010.[7] The Organics Council ® works to reduce the level of food waste and minimise this environment-depleting practice amongst businesses that adhere to the Council’s regulations.
  • Impartiality. The Organics Council ® guarantees independence and impartiality in all we do, with neutrality and freedom from conflicts of interest as part of our core principles. It is central to our mission to always be transparent in our decision-making processes, maintaining the highest standards of scientific excellence at all times. The Organics Council ® Assured Substance List tests are carried out based on fully protocolled and impartial procedures. We respond rapidly to changes in current scientific knowledge and proactively adapt our policies and guidance, pushing for changes to legislation in accordance with scientific evidence.
  • Proactiveness. We want to drive a global change in policy and regulation so that no substances shall be approved for use in the industry if there is scientific evidence of human and environmental safety risks. We have therefore created the Organics Council ® Approved Substance List test protocol using the most stringent criteria of safety and sustainability. The List is leading the way globally in comprehensive safety and sustainability substance assessment.
  • Public education. The general public cannot protect its own interests without the proper knowledge and resources needed to do so, which is why being able to educate is extremely important to the Organics Council ®. With better knowledge about the harmful substances we are exposed to on a daily basis, the public is able to help to shape safety regulations and driving businesses to align their habits to the best practices supported by the Organics Council ®.
7. United States Department of Agriculture, Office of the Chief Economist, FAQs.