Last week’s Engagement 2016 – the Consumer Specialty Products Association (CSPA) Annual Meeting in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida lived up to its billing. Over 500 members and guests from more than 140 companies, government agencies, law firms and NGOs worked a lot, socialized a little and strengthened the relationships that are the bedrock of the association’s effectiveness. They said goodbye to President and CEO Chris Cathcart on Monday and were informed with the Board Chairman’s announcement of a new leader during the Board Meeting on Thursday.
On the Edge of Mt. Everest
The event kicked off on Monday, December 5 with the harrowing story of Alison Levine’s two treks to Mount Everest, the subject of her book “On the Edge: The Art of High Impact Leadership.” Attendees were captivated by vivid photos from the “almost successful” first ascent and by Levine’s description of the relentless determination that drove her back a second time to ultimately reach her goal. Levine is one of only a few dozen people to have climbed the highest peak on every continent and skied to both the North and South Poles. She applied lessons from her quests to effective leadership in the business world.
Cathcart Shares Strategic Plan
Chris Cathcart, President and CEO of CSPA gave his final State of the Association report, highlighting the accomplishments of 2016, most notably passage of the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act – a feat almost as daunting as the Everest ascent in that it took 8 years of negotiations to get it through Congress and signed into law. Cathcart shared with members results of the association’s year-long Strategic Planning Process, led by a Board team and conducted with McKinley Advisors.
“McKinley started by conducting a membership survey to help CSPA refine its value proposition and to inform the planning process,” Cathcart explained. The consultants gained agreement among the Board on revised Mission, Vision, Values, Goals and Objectives. They then completed an environmental scan of eight trade associations that deal with similar issues.
“McKinley highlighted three strong attributes that set CSPA apart from the others,” Cathcart said. “First, our advocacy efforts are successful because we consistently collaborate with a diverse group of stakeholders. Next, we have a strong and valued brand backed by a high membership retention rate. Third, we are financially sound and highly efficient. We have the lowest percentage of dues as a revenue source and we are the leanest of eight associations in terms of staff.”
CSPA’s attributes position it well for responding to challenges ahead that Cathcart believes will come from increased advocacy at the state level for more ingredient communication and chemical use restrictions. “We are staffed for this, but we will need to keep a close eye on resourcing,” he added.
Honoring Doug Fratz
During his remarks, Cathcart also acknowledged the death of CSPA Senior Science Fellow Doug Fratz and later honored him posthumously with the Charles E. Allderdice Jr. Memorial Award, given annually to an individual who has demonstrated exemplary commitment and service to the industry and to the association. At the Aerosol Division meeting on December 6, members celebrated Fratz’ life with a video tribute and a commemorative gift that was accepted by his wife Naomi Richfield Fratz.
Recognizing Cathcart’s Legacy
A highlight of the Annual Meeting General Session was CSPA Board Chairman Bill Auriemma’s send-off for Chris Cathcart after 17 years as President and CEO. He praised Cathcart’s “calm, measured leadership skill” that helped restore CSPA’s financial security during his first few years at the helm. “We saw the fruits of your leadership again in the creation of the Alliance for Consumer Education, the Product Care initiative and the Air Care Division,” said Auriemma.
“You spearheaded the growth of the Research and Regulatory Management Council as a revenue source. You created a new and effective CSPA brand that has been instrumental in attracting a diverse membership to the association,” Auriemma said. “For these accomplishments, we are all grateful. We appreciate your steady professionalism and the excellent and loyal staff you have kept on board.”
Auriemma introduced Mark Kramer, President and CEO of Laird Plastics, who served as chairman of the Board of the National Association of Wholesaler Distributors and of the National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD). Kramer, who was Board Chair at NACD when Cathcart was President, praised his former colleague’s energy, productivity and leadership abilities.
Aureimma presented Cathcart with a commemorative gift showcasing his personal and professional successes.
TSCA Implementation a Major Focus
Much of the state and federal government and regulatory affairs talk during Engagement 2016 centered on EPA’s implementation of Lautenberg Act. EPA’s Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP), Jim Jones, was on hand to give an update of TSCA implementation. He acknowledged that the office has “a lot of irons in the fire” but the agency believes it will be successful in the implementation and is moving forward to ensure it meets all deadlines. Jones noted that EPA released the first 10 chemicals for risk evaluation and said that EPA contacts will be listed on the agency’s website, urging CSPA members to reach out to the contacts with their questions.
Richard Denison from the Environmental Defense Fund discussed the work in putting together the Lautenberg Act. He said that it was “critical to get companies with direct issues engaged” and the result was “a law that is a very careful compromise.” Denison also urged patience as the new law is implemented.
Dimtri Karakitsos echoed the efforts of putting together a reformed bill. He said that as senior counsel on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee before his current job at Holland & Knight, they “took all meetings” when working on the bill and that “at the end of the day there was an overall comfort level with the package.” He also stated that there is a “very strong interest in making sure the law is implemented properly.”
Wendy Cleland-Hamnett, the Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator for OCSPP, went into more detail regarding TSCA implementation. She also urged member companies to schedule meetings with EPA staff to discuss the uses, exposure information, and other data on the first 10 chemicals that EPA is evaluating.
Also during the federal regulatory session, Mathy Stanislaus, EPA’s Assistant Administrator for the Office of Land and Emergency Management discussed advancing the circular economy through sustainable materials management. He went over his discussions during G-7 meetings, where they established the Alliance on Resource Efficiency to share best practices at workshops on how to use materials for as long as possible and then recover materials and products at the end of their life.
Divisions Tackle Regulatory, Sustainability Issues
CSPA’s product divisions held meetings in Ft. Lauderdale, with several featuring presentations from regulators providing insights into their 2017 agendas. The Antimicrobial and Pest Management Divisions welcomed EPA managers to their sessions, while the Aerosol Division listened to a litany of fascinating product innovations from executives in the aerosol business. Antimicrobial Division members heard from Dr. Amber Hogan Mitchell, President and Executive Director of the International Safety Center; Joseph Rubino, Director Global Surface Care, R&D Shared Services at RB and Matthew Hardwick, Ph.D., President and CEO of Resinnova Laboratories. Pest Management Division speakers included Rick Kingston, President, Regulatory and Scientific Affairs at Safety Call International PLLC; Michael Goodis, Acting Director, Registration Division, Office of Pesticide Programs at EPA; David Miller, Acting Brand Chief, Toxicology and Epidemiology Branch, Health Effects Division, Office of Pesticide Programs at EPA and Nader Elkassabany, Director, Regulatory Affairs, Pharmaceutical New Projects at Merial, Inc. The Aerosol Division Program featured presenters from Crown Holdings, Inc, Aerofil Technology, Precise Packaging, Ball Corporation, American Spraytech, WD-40, Honeywell and the Federation of Latin American Aerosol Associations.
Participants at the Cleaning Division and Polishes & Floor Maintenance Division joint program heard about the science and the politics of preservatives from colleagues at Dow, Procter & Gamble and Sherwin Williams. They learned about an exciting new Collaborative Innovation Competition from Dr. Joel Tickner, Associate Professor in the Department of Community Health and Sustainability at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. Tickner directs the Green Chemistry and Commerce Council (GC3) and he announced that 14 companies have partnered with InnoCentive to sponsor a competition for scientists to identify promising ideas and technologies for expanding the palette of safe and effective preservatives for personal care, household and institutional products. Tickner said the project, which will have a cash award, is expected to kick off in early 2017.
The Air Care Products Division program featured Michelle Lamb, co-founder of Marketing Directions, Inc. and publisher of the Trend Curve. She spoke about the life cycle of a trend and then went into detail about global trends for 2017 and 2018 in color and materials. Lamb highlighted the “Feminine Mystique,” “Havana Style” and “Neo-Traditional” trends in home furnishings and décor.
Patrick Foley, Co-founder and Chief Science Officer of P2 Science, Inc., discussed consumers’ desire for fragrances but that nobody wants this experience to be costly to their bottom line, their health, or the planet. He talked about how P2 Science uses nature and chemistry to address fragrance
Walmart and EDF Headline Retail Session
An overflow crowd at a Wednesday afternoon panel discussion heard the differing perspectives of EPA, GC3, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), and Walmart on the critical role of the supply chain in sustainability efforts. Michelle Harvey, Director Emeritus at EDF spent the past eight years making the business case for sustainability with Walmart in Bentonville, Arkansas. She said that 85 percent of global consumers say “made with no hard chemicals” is very important to them. “I agree with Walmart that customers should not have to choose between products they can afford and products that are better for them and for the environment,” she said. “Trust is the business case. Give them a reason to do that.”
Walmart’s Director of Global Public Policy Drew Sadler discussed his company’s sustainability mission. “Retailers are now seeing this as an obligation,” he asserted. “Leading suppliers will be rewarded. There is a seat at the table for all.” He noted that Walmart reported last July a 95 percent reduction in high priority chemicals and that will focus on increasing sustainable packaging moving forward.
A panel of leaders from two non-profits and one venture firm discussed how organizations are forming unique partnerships to advance sustainability goals. Andrew Ference, retired NHL hockey player, described his journey from professional athlete to leader in the green sports movement. He said he was inspired by environmental leader David Suzuki to “use my bully pulpit to promote environmentalism.” His efforts began with persuading seven other players to go “carbon neutral” to partnering with the NHL to develop an entire sustainability program with fulltime staff.
Rochelle Davis, President and CEO of the Healthy Schools Campaign described her organization’s partnerships with trade associations including ISSA and CSPA to develop model legislation related to cleaning products used in schools. “We created the opportunity for meaningful dialogue between school facility directors and industry,” she said. “It was a win-win for everyone.”
Volunteers Receive Recognition
At the Annual Meeting General Session, Board Chairman Auriemma also recognized volunteers from each division and presented the Chairman’s Outstanding Achievement Award.
The Chairman’s Award went to Robin Gentz, Director of Government Affairs for North America at the Clorox Company. Gentz, who has been with Clorox for 38 years is a leader in the consumer packaged goods industry and has served on numerous CSPA committees, task forces and working groups. Auriemma said “Robin has chaired or co-chaired the CSPA State Government Affairs Advisory Committee for 16 years and she engages directly and energetically in State Lobbying Days on behalf of industry. She personifies collaboration and engagement, consistently encouraging others to get involved in association activities and to work cooperatively for the industry.”
Winners of the Volunteer Recognition Awards were:
Aerosol Products Division: Edward Piszynski, Chicago Aerosol
Air Care Products Division: Joel Burdick, Ph.D., L Brands/MAST Global
Antimicrobial Product Division: William C. McCormick, III DABT, The Clorox Company
Cleaning Products Division: Nancy Falk, Ph.D., The Clorox Company
Industrial & Automotive Products Division: Elaine Schley, Spectrum Brands, Inc.
Pest Management Products Division: James Wallace, The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company and Dana Thomas, United Industries Corporation
Polishes & Floor Maintenance Products Division: Terry Hall, Hillyard Industries, Inc.