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I was in London again in November for the Cosmetic, Toiletries and Perfume Association’s annual business forum at The Barbican Centre. This year’s conference was a sellout, with 150 delegates, speakers and guests participating in the two-day event. It was structured to take into account feedback from previous events, with day one devoted to seminars on regulatory issues affecting the industry, and day two involving external stakeholders and covering a wider range of issues that affect the business environment.
Lord David Sainsbury of Turville, Minister for Science and Innovation, had been due to give the keynote address, but had resigned from the government just before the meeting, so the keynote fell to Richard Carter, director of the chemicals unit of the Department of Trade and Industry. He introduced the launch of a new work program for the Chemicals Regulatory Forum (CRF). Delegates then were able to choose from three concurrent seminars.
A packaging issues seminar highlighted the contradictions of the current marketplace. Industry Council for Packaging and the Environment (INCPEN) continues to promote the worth of packaging to society in preventing product spoilage and is increasingly focusing on sustainable distribution. Meanwhile, politicians focus on unnecessary packaging, and Trading Standards is increasingly active in enforcing regulations that require minimization of packaging. At the same time, retailers are busily introducing Shelf/Retail Ready Packaging, which actually increases transit packaging—all additional costs borne by the manufacturer.
Discussions on the forthcoming REACH chemicals legislation highlighted the shift in manufacturer-supplier relationships away from the minimum cost purchasing model of recent years. There is an increasing emphasis on the more rounded purchasing approach that takes account of reliability of future supply as well as the technical and regulatory expertise of chemical manufacturers and distributors.