Industry will continue its fight to be recognised as ‘essential’ to consumer lives in the coming year, as European Green Deal strategies come into force in 2021 – notably the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability which held essentiality as one of its guiding pillars.
However, the next year held plenty more regulatory change for the European cosmetic and personal care industry, said John Chave, director-general of Cosmetics Europe.
“Of course, it’s not just about the European Green Deal; there are other issues like digital services and microplastics,” Chave told CosmeticsDesign-Europe.
“…Whilst a lot of attention is on the European Green Deal, let’s not forget there’s more to the intense regulatory change that’s happening this year,” he said.
Upcoming microplastics restriction – still ‘room for discussion’
The final REACH restriction on microplastics was anticipated to come into force in 2022, as opinions and consultations on the matter were now scrutinised by the European Commission and Member States.
“Microplastics has now moved from what you might call the ECHA-phase into the EC-phase (…) The EC must now formulate a regulatory proposal which will go into the European statute book,” he said.
However, he said Cosmetics Europe believed there was “still some way to go on the microplastics dossier” because it had been so controversial, with an unusual number of comments filed.
“[Cosmetics Europe] will continue to engage with the EC and at national level on this issue. In fact, we’ve been doing even more work on the issue; just at the end of the ECHA process we submitted more data which will be sent to the EC, even if it’s not part of the ECHA reflection formally.”
Chave said Cosmetics Europe was maintaining calls for derogations on makeup, lip and nail products; longer transition times to reformulate highly complex formulations and ensure alternative, effective ingredients were widely available; and gain acknowledgment of the true value and importance of European cosmetics.
“We still think there is room for discussion. We still think our case for a derogation and extended transition times is a very solid case.”
Digital services – we must ensure consumer safety but also enable ‘experiences’
Chave said another important regulatory shift to watch would be around the Single Market for Digital Services proposal for the EU which came out in December, last year. This was particularly pertinent given the exponential rise of online engagement during COVID-19, he said.
“Digital services can get a little bit overshadowed because the European Green Deal is so wide-ranging and fundamental for our industry, but it’s an important part of the regulatory landscape which we’ll be dealing with in 2021.”
Cosmetics Europe wanted to ensure that whatever decisions were made in the EU as part of the Parliament and Council’s examination of digital, online trading and shopping services facilitated “appropriate consumer protection” but also enabled “appropriate consumer experiences” which were especially important to the beauty sector.
More for beauty to consider in 2021? Animal testing alternatives and Brexit
Beyond digital services and microplastics, European cosmetics and personal care businesses would also need to invest continued engagement on the topic of animal testing, Chave said – “an agenda issue for Cosmetics Europe for many, many years” but one that had gained renewed attention at European level because of recent ECHA decisions and how they had been interpreted.
Animal testing bans across the globe were also widening, he said, with Colombia most recently introducing one; in turn raising the importance of “finding, accepting and understanding alternative methods to animal testing”.
Chave said the European, UK and global cosmetics and personal care industry also had to get used to operating under new Brexit regulations in 2021.
“Our longstanding position, as with most of European industry and a substantial part of British industry, is we want to minimise any barriers to trade and maintain the highest degree of regulatory convergence possible,” he said.
“…We don’t believe it’s in ours or consumer interest for barriers to persist or be made anew.”
*You can read Part I of our State of the Industry interview with John Chave here, to find out more about why the European Green Deal is such an important regulatory issue for cosmetics and personal care this year.