Speaking to this year’s conference theme of ‘Essentials for daily life’, Armand gave an overview of the importance cosmetics and personal care products have to consumers, and the value they place on the industry.
Products have a daily impact on consumers’ “wellbeing, self-esteem, and quality of life”, he said, noting that 80% of consumers identify cosmetics & personal care products as important in building self esteem.
Armand suggested we need to see a rejection of the notion of cosmetics as unimportant, as in expressions like ‘a cosmetics change’: cosmetics, he says, clearly hold a huge important to most people’s daily lives.
The Cosmetics Europe Annual Conference (CEAC) takes place 13 - 14 June, and gathers industry professionals to discuss the latest in regulation, innovation, opportunities and challenges facing the industry.
Armand noted that Europe remains the largest cosmetics product market in the world and is still growing, supporting over 2 million jobs in the European value chain.
It’s not thanks only to major players like L’Oréal, with over 4,500 SMEs active in Europe.
“Trade is vital to continue sustainable growth of our sector,” said Armand, noting that this will be facilitated by convergence of regulatory requirements across different regions.
Describing it as “deeply concerning”, Armand pointed to conflicting trends that have emerged in recent times that threaten to undermine rising international cooperation, however.
One key example of this is a growing move towards protectionism, he suggested, conceding that the EU has to confirm measures in response to unjustified tariffs from the US.
“We are very disappointed that cosmetics industry was targeted,” he said of recent activity in this area.
“The potential of the global marketplace cannot be fully realised, especially for SMEs. As an industry, we will fight against barriers to trade, and promote regulation that creates a global market.”
Responsibility for environment
Turing to our responsibilities as an industry, Armand described the environment as of “utmost importance”.
He noted that the plastic marine issue has attracted strong interest, despite the cosmetics industry being a minor contributor to aquatic litter.
But, he noted, “our industry has been a strong leader in responding to this”: we’ve seen a 97.6% reduction in plastic microbeads 2012 - 2017, and are seeing systematic progress to the overall goal of zero microbeads in cosmetics products by 2020.
“Such impressive progress would not have been achieved without substantial efforts from the industry,” said Armand. “Research investment and reformulation, a lengthy costly process.”
As his closing sentiment, Armand asserted that he is looking forward to lively discussions, debates and outcomes that will help guide our future path as an industry throughout the ongoing CEAC event.