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Reflecting on beauty in 2020: CTPA chief talks COVID-19, Brexit and The European Green Deal

By Kacey Culliney contact

- Last updated on GMT

Beauty 4.0 Podcast by CosmeticsDesign-Europe speaks to CTPA on COVID-19, Brexit and more

Related tags: CTPA, COVID-19, Brexit, European Green Deal, beauty tech, beauty 4.0, Innovation

The beauty industry has faced a challenging year, shaped by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, regulatory changes under Brexit and incoming sustainability legislation at EU level. But industry has learned so much and remains innovative and driven in its approach to gain ground and grow in 2021, says CTPA chief Dr Emma Meredith.

In CosmeticsDesign-Europe’s inaugural Beauty 4.0 Podcast​ – the start of a digital series looking at how technology and innovation will shape beauty’s future – we catch up with Dr Emma Meredith, director-general of the UK’s Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association. 

Dr Emma Meredith, director-general, CTPA
Dr Emma Meredith, director-general, CTPA

In this 30-minute podcast, Meredith discusses the most pressing issues facing industry in 2020 and talks about how opportunities and challenges are shaping up for next year.

COVID-19 conversations

“There have been huge impacts – some have been positive,”​ said Meredith when asked about how COVID-19 had affected the beauty and personal care industry.

Early on, she said industry rallied together to manufacture hand sanitisers – working with supply partners many had never worked with prior and there had been an uptick in home self-care kits and perfume use amongst consumers right at the start of COVID-19 lockdowns. However, as many restrictions had since lifted, she added that there remained “big challenges”​ ahead for industry – both from an economic standpoint and consumer engagement aspect.

Talks on whether beauty and cosmetic products should be considered essential consume goods items had been a critical one, Meredith said, and so too had discussions on the value beauty services represented, not only in consumers’ lives but to the UK economy. The “massive and rapid move to digital”​ had also been a vital aspect of the COVID-19 response, Meredith said, and one that would likely continue moving forward.

Brexit and The European Green Deal

On the topic of Brexit, Meredith pointed out that it was hugely important industry – both in the UK and EU – continued its work on transitioning and planning for changes from January 1, 2021. “CTPA hasn’t taken its eye off this,”​ she said.

Beyond documentation issues, she said companies had to be looking more closely at their supply chains, considering transport, customs and “frictions at the border”.

“There are things that companies do need to be addressing and can be addressing in these last days of 2020,”​ she said.

Meredith did however note that COVID-19 had created resource issues and meant many businesses, particularly SMEs, had been left just “focusing on survival”.​ This might cause some issues with compliance, she said – an area the CTPA would continue to work hard on accompanying companies on.

The Green Deal was embedded into all future actions of the European Commission, Parliament and Council and the CTPA welcomed its overall aims, she said. “Building back sustainably will be critical.”

However, she noted one area of concern – the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability – because it proposed to ban chemicals on their hazard properties, rather than risk which underpinned the Cosmetics Regulation and how the entire industry operated.

“It’s important that strategy is rooted in scientific knowledge and assesses the key risks to be addressed,”​ she said.

Opportunities and challenges for 2021?

For more insight on the challenges and opportunities available for beauty in 2021, and in-depth detail on the above, listen in to our 30-minute podcast above or access our podcasts by subscribing via Apple Podcasts​ or finding us on Spotify​.

This podcast was recorded on December 3, 2020.

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