A Worry Society? CTPA Annual Business Forum

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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.

A seminar on cosmetovigilance demonstrated the success of the industry’s own voluntary scheme of monitoring and reporting adverse effects, considered essential to avoid legislation on the subject.

Afternoon speakers included Emma Meredith, MD, of CTPA, and Florian Schellauf of Colipa, focusing on upcoming issues for key ingredients, while Gerhard Nohynek, MD, of L’Oréal assessed the risk of nanotechnology in cosmetic products. Mike Brown, MD, of Boots reviewed the European Commission’s recommendation on labeling and testing for sunscreens and other current issues for the sun care sector. Bob Hefford, MD, explored the differences in meeting regulatory challenges between small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and multinationals.

External stakeholders were present on day two, which addressed risk, consumer perceptions, media and regulators. CTPA chairman John Ballington drew attention to the importance of consumer confidence by posing the question that business, society and the authorities have to tackle—who do we trust?

The round table forum, led by Tracey Brown of Sense About Science, debated the lack of scientific understanding in the population at large and its misrepresentation in the press that leads to a “worry society.” The industry needs to grab hold of the issues and promote the benefits versus the risks and capitalize on the slow backlash against the nanny state and regulation.

Bertil Heerink of Colipa led a discussion on the politics of global business, giving the Colipa perspective on the impact of the Cosmetics Directive and REACH. Panel contributors covered communicating with the consumer, walking the line with a retailer and an approach to chemical management.

Advertising claims for cosmetic products and the self-regulatory system managed by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) was the subject of the final session. The CTPA and its advertising claims group engaged in a dialogue with ASA representatives to develop a joint understanding of what is required to support a claim, focusing initially on skin care. Scientists gave a series of presentations at a seminar in September to demonstrate the science behind cumulative moisturization, a principle that had not been accepted by the ASA and its experts. The ASA now accepts this principle, using the forum to give its assessment of progress to date and clarify some issues in the panel debate.

Back to the February 2007 Issue

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