Partnerships: An Essential Ingredient for Success

Lezlee Westine
President & CEO, Personal Care Products Council

Each new year presents an opportunity to examine our priorities and focus on what matters most. As our nation continues to address the many challenges from 2020, PCPC stands ready in 2021 with renewed energy and sense of purpose.

As our country begins to heal from the tragic events of January 6 and focuses on unity in light of a new administration and new Congress, PCPC and our member companies remain steadfast in our commitment to bipartisan collaborations that enable and enhance our member companies’ ability to provide safe and innovative products to countless American families.

Partnerships are key to achieving meaningful solutions to some of our biggest challenges. From my professional experience in government and the private sector, I know we can accomplish the seemingly impossible by working together. I have seen incredible things achieved when people work towards a common goal.

The spirit of collaboration inspired PCPC to work with policymakers, regulators and NGOs to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. We engaged the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Congress to issue temporary guidance allowing non-traditional manufacturers to address the critical shortage of hand sanitizers. Our members quickly converted manufacturing lines and increased production to provide these essential products. Companies donated more than 20 million units of hand sanitizer to hospitals, community clinics, medical and emergency professionals, first responders, industry employees and made them available to retail customers.

The nation also grappled with issues of systemic racism and calls for equality and social justice this past year. As an industry, we intend to be a positive agent of change and a force for good aiming to engage in partnerships that are both authentic and meaningful. We don’t have all the answers and know there is much work still to be done to address diversity. Working in coalition with many diverse organizations in 2020, PCPC supported anti-discrimination legislation, including the CROWN (Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair) Act, which passed the House in September. The CROWN Act became law in seven states in 2020 and is currently pending in 20+ states this year, preventing discrimination based on characteristics – such as hair texture and cultural styles, particularly those common in the Black community – and specifically recognizing that Black people are disparately impacted and excluded from some workplaces based on physical appearance. Similar legislation has been passed in seven states. Looking ahead, PCPC is committed to taking continued action to examine and address issues of diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I), both within our organization and in the industry at large, and in partnership with others committed to the same goal.

PCPC’s work with Cruelty Free International proved to be another successful partnership, resulting in compromise agreement on state animal testing legislation, now pending in several states. At the federal level, we worked closely with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to introduce the Humane Cosmetics Act, which would ban cosmetic animal testing in the U.S. We will continue to work with HSUS and our congressional partners to pass this legislation in the 117th Congress.  

The power of partnerships was also demonstrated in our work with the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery Association (ASDSA), American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), and more than 60 other health, education and parent groups to support legislation that specifically allows sunscreens to be used in schools. To date, 26 states and Washington, D.C., have passed the “SUNucate” model.

Partnerships are key to our industry’s continued success, and we remain committed to deepening and broadening them in the year ahead. As President Biden noted: “To live together and work together. That’s how I see America. That’s how I see the presidency, and that’s how I see the future.” This year, PCPC re-dedicates itself to boldly push forward – confronting the challenges ahead while ensuring our member companies can continue to enhance the well-being of countless American families with the cosmetics and personal care products they trust and enjoy every day.