Industry Leaders Convene at Annual Meeting; Highlight the Importance of Modernized Government Policies, Sound Science and Global Collaboration

The Personal Care Products Council convened its 119th Annual Meeting in Palm Beach, Florida this week, bringing together nearly 500 industry leaders to discuss the essential roles of research and development, science and innovation, global collaboration and the importance of working with policymakers to ensure a pragmatic regulatory system with decisions that are based on sound science.  

In her address, Council President and CEO Lezlee Westine outlined the organization’s key accomplishments in 2012 including an intensive strategic planning process that resulted in three new priorities for 2013 – modernized government policies, sound science and global access.  She highlighted the industry’s continued support for legislation that would strengthen and enhance regulatory oversight of cosmetics by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), advocate toward harmonization of cosmetics regulation throughout the world, and engage consumers through the use of social media and other communications platforms to get the facts out about product and ingredient safety.

“Digital media provides new ways to educate key stakeholders about our industry’s work, the safety of our products and the important impact cosmetic and personal care companies make on the U.S. economy.  Our companies are using exciting new forms of communication to connect with the women and men who enjoy and trust their products wherever they are,” said Westine. “We must empower people with information so that – whether they live in the U.S. or abroad – they can make informed purchasing decisions for themselves and their families.”

In his address, Council Board Chairman Scott Beattie, Chairman, President and CEO of Elizabeth Arden, urged trade associations around the world to continue to work together to meet challenges and identify opportunities to keep the industry strong and focused.

“We face a number of important challenges together, including defending ingredients during environmental and safety reviews, communicating our industry’s values and commitment with one voice, and promoting closer alignment of regulations as a way of enhancing consumer safety and the competitiveness of our manufacturers,” Beattie said.  “As companies, it is our responsibility to provide our trade associations in the U.S. and abroad with clear and consistent direction on these important issues.

Other highlights from the meeting included: guest speakers, Stephen Dubner, co-author of the best-selling books Freakanomics and Superfreakonomics; Carlos Garcia, Global Marketing Solutions at Facebook; and Julie Rollauer, head of Industry for Homes and Personal Care at Google.  Presentations focused on new ways to engage consumers on social media and what all of this means in the way companies conduct their business.

At the Council’s second Global Collaboration Forum, Westine and Beattie welcomed international leaders from 11 international industry organizations who discussed their progress and challenges in promoting global and regional regulatory convergence, and suggestions for moving industry’s goals forward.  Attendees also heard from keynote speaker, Fredrik Lofthagen, Group CEO of Interel. Lofthagen is based in Brussels and is a leading international public affairs strategist.

The third and final day of the Annual Meeting featured the Council’s Policy Summit, where attendees heard from experts about the organization’s public policy priorities as well as the latest activity in Congress and effects on industry.

In addition, the Council elected the following officers:

For Chairman:      Scott Beattie, Elizabeth Arden

Vice Chairmen:    Thia Breen, The Estee Lauder Companies

                             Chris Elshaw, Revlon

                             Patrice Louvet, Procter & Gamble

                             Heidi Manheimer, Shiseido Americas Corporation

For Secretary:  George Calvert, Amway

For Treasurer:      David Holl, Mary Kay Inc.

Council Corrects the Record

On Feb. 7, the Council submitted the following letter to the New York Times in response to an op-ed by food writer Mark Bittman titled, “The Cosmetics Wars.”  The letter appears in its entirety.

Dear Editor:

Mark Bittman’s op-ed, “The Cosmetics Wars” (February 5) is full of factual errors.

Mr. Bittman’s assertion that cosmetic ingredients are not tested for safety is completely false.  So is his suggestion that animal testing is the only valid method to assess safety. Federal law mandates that every product be substantiated for safety before it is brought to market, and FDA has the authority to enforce this.

However, the globalization of the marketplace, new technologies and evolving science support the need for modernizing FDA’s statutory authority and oversight. Industry has long advocated for additional funding for FDA’s cosmetics program and supports legislation to enhance FDA’s authority to assess safety.

While cosmetics are an easy target, they remain one of the safest categories regulated by FDA.  Any suggestion of serious health problems related to their use is irresponsible and without any basis in fact, sound scientific research or medical reality.

Halyna Breslawec, PhD

Chief Scientist

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