Nearly 500 industry executives gathered under cloudy skies in Fort Lauderdale at the Harbor Beach Marriott last month for the Consumer Specialty Products Association (CSPA) annual meeting. Billed as Collaboration 2015, the event served as a hub for formulators, marketers, retailers and researchers for “collaborative opportunities” to liaise with federal, state and local legislative officials in a general session, division sessions and workshops.
Collaboration 2015 officially kicked off with “a true rocket man,” which is how CSPA president Chris Cathcart described keynote speaker Adam Steltzner. His presentation, “Rock Stars, Rocket Scientists and the Power of Curiosity,” told his story of an aspiring bass player, who after observing the stars of Orion decided to embark on a journey that would lead him to a PhD in engineering and by age 35, a job as one of NASA’s top engineers, before culminating in a mission to Mars! Since then, he’s been awarded honors ranging from the Smithsonian’s American Ingenuity Award in technology, to GQ magazine’s Spaceman of the Year. His new book, “The Right Kind of Crazy: A True Story of Teamwork, Leadership and High Stakes Innovation” will be released this month.
“You never really know where curiosity will take us,” Steltzner told the audience. He promoted the benefits of utilizing human curiosity and incorporating this passion for learning into working well with others—aka teamwork, the theme of 2015’s CSPA conference. For 10 years, Steltzner led a team of engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratories inventing, designing, testing and retesting the revolutionary “sky crane” landing system that successfully placed the Curiosity rover on the Martian surface in 2012.
“It was about embracing risk,” he said of making a mission to space. Five times heavier than its predecessors, Curiosity required an entirely new landing system for the perilous seven-minute phase when the one-ton rover—entering Martian atmosphere at 13,000 mph—must land on the surface. Now, the JPL team is planning a mission to Europa, one of the Galilean moons of Jupiter.
“The quality of the teamwork is reflected in the quality of the product,” said Steltzner. “When we explore, we ask ourselves what is our potential? Overall, the most paramount is to be curious. With human curiosity and the culture of collaboration, there is no limit to what we can do!”
Collaboration was top of mind for CSPA Chairman Paul Siracusa, too.
“This week, we will focus on the importance of working with the many partners involved in getting safe and effective products to market,” said Siracusa. “We’ll have competitors, customers, retailers, regulators and NGOs around the tables and I, for one, look forward to hearing what everyone has to say.”
In 2015, the association added 22 new member companies and Siracusa thanked the “hundreds of volunteers” who serve as board, division, committee and task force members.
“You are the hardworking leaders of this association who, in addition to your fulltime jobs, make time for CSPA. As I complete my second year as chairman of this organization, I realize the enormous contributions many of you make to the betterment of the consumer and institutional products industry,” he said.
Each year, CSPA honors one person from each of its seven divisions who made a significant contribution to the association. The 2015 Volunteer Recognition Awards went to:
- Aerosol Products Division—Gregory L. Johnson of Sherwin Williams Diversified Brands;
- Air Care Products Division—Greg Adamson, Ph.D., Givaudan Fragrances Corporation;
- Antimicrobial Product Division—Jamie Quon, The Clorox Company;
- Cleaning Products Division—Eric J. Hansen, Bissell Homecare Inc.;
- Industrial & Automotive Products Division—James Heidel, Turtle Wax Inc.;
- Pest Management Products Division—Steve Spaulding, Central Life Sciences; and
- Polishes & Floor Maintenance Products Division—Carmine Savaglio, SC Johnson.
The 33rd Charles E. Allderdice Jr. Memorial Award went to Larry Nouvel, who as CSPA board chair in 2000 envisioned a “new association for the new millennium.”
The Chairman’s Outstanding Achievement Award was won by Steve Goldberg, vice president and deputy general counsel of BASF Corporation, for his work as co-chair of the Pesticide Registration Improvement Act (PRIA) coalition.
CSPA president Cathcart took time to one-on-one with Happi about the year in review and Collaboration 2015.
“The core of this meeting is how the industry works with stakeholders and how to build on consumer trust,” he said. “We have a breadth of membership, so diverse interests come into play.”
Cathcart referenced the 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer, an annual online global survey of 27,000 consumers, as a vital element to what CSPA expects to achieve within the industry. It found that there is a tangible business impact associated with trust and lack thereof, and pointed to Volkswagen’s recent news headlines for an emissions scandal. Nearly two-thirds of online respondents refuse to buy products and services from a company that they do not trust. Conversely, they say that if they trust you, consumers will buy from you and they will recommend your product.
“We have to build and continue a solid reputation as an ‘honest broker’ or ‘trusted partner’ in issue advocacy because we are willing to listen and try to identify common ground to get things done,” said Cathcart.
Overall for CSPA, fundamental issues such as the disclosure of ingredients, VOC reduction, streamlining PRIA and especially, the modernization of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) are imperative.
At press time, the Senate’s passage of the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (TSCA) brings the US one step closer to having an effective, science-based chemical regulatory system that gives consumers confidence in the safety of the products they buy, commented Cathcart.
“For nearly a decade, the CSPA has testified in support of strengthening TSCA and has offered input on the best way to modernize it,” he said. “We are looking forward to working with the Senate and House bill authors to reconcile the two bills into legislation that has the support of a wide range of stakeholders and will be signed by President Obama.“
The Ingredient Disclosure Bill is also a hot topic right now. According to Cathcart, CSPA led a coalition effort in California to address a bill that would “significantly compromise confidential business information and potentially cost millions in labeling requirements.” It will be considered on the Assembly floor this year and CSPA invites the industry to participate in a “fly-in” on Jan. 13 to engage with California legislators about the proposed bill.
Cathcart also sees importance in connecting CSPA’s membership by actively engaging with the retail sector. In 2015, the Association upped its outreach to retail. Under the direction of its board-level Retail Engagement Task Force, started in 2013 with Walmart, it co-sponsored a “successful” joint conference with the Personal Care Products Council.
Another example of how CSPA is crossing over a variety of sectors is the anniversary of the Alliance for Consumer Education (ACE). In its 15th year, the program hit a new milestone by reaching more than 20 million consumers.
“This is a horizontal industry,” said Cathcart. “From household to I&I, diverse interests come into play. We meet the people behind the titles and talk with them about roadblocks on their end. These people are quite exceptional. We are trying to stay at pace at what the market needs and keep confidence in brands with the efficacy of products.”
Focusing on meeting company sustainability goals and more and promoted as one of the “big three” events of Collaboration 2015, the Alternative Assessment Special Session “Advancing Safer Chemistry” welcomed Dr. Joel Tickner, director of The Green Chemistry & Commerce Council (GC3), a business-to-business forum that advances the application of green chemistry and design for the environment across supply chains. The GC3 is based at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.
In his presentation, Dr. Tickner explored mainstreaming and innovation in green chemistry and discussed initiatives and collaborative activities to assist in the movement toward safer products.
“We need a more thoughtful evaluation of alternatives to design of green chemistry solutions,” he said, adding that regulatory drivers like Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) are “moving forward much quicker.”
“Informed substitution” that identifies chemicals and non-chemical alternatives are also big for moving green chemistry ahead. The focus on the function—not the particular chemical—as well as hazard and exposure reduction and considering the “necessariness” of a chemical is important, he explained.
“Avoid paralysis by analysis,” said Tickner. “A good goal is ‘excellent action not excellent paperwork.’ Flexibility and adaptability are crucial.”
An independent third party can support and scale the field, noted Tickner, using the model of the Health Effects Institute started by the EPA in the 1980s to “fill in the gaps in alternative assessment methods and tools.” It would also offer cost reduction in meeting regulatory or market compliance requirements.
A recent development, the GC3 Retailer Leadership Council, promotes “safer chemicals, materials and products across retail supply chains and features big box retailers such as CVS, Home Depot, Target and Best Buy.
He predicted that new preservatives for personal care will open innovation and challenge the competition.
“Green chemistry may not be mainstream, but the avenues to get there are evolving,” Tickner noted.
Safer Choice Partner of the Year
Another special session, “Environmental Marketing & Claims Committee (EMCC): The Future of the Safer Choice Program,” brought together key stakeholders including Clive Davies, chief US EPA Safer Choice Program; Boma Brown-West, manager, consumer health, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF); and Wendy Cleland-Hamnett, director US EPA Office of Pollution Prevention & Toxics.
EPA named CSPA a winner of its 2015 Safer Choice Partner of the Year award. The Safer Choice Program, formerly known as the Design for the Environment (DfE) Safer Product Labeling Program, is a labeling initiative that works to increase ingredient communication transparency. It uses specific criteria to determine if a product may display the logo. Companies may voluntarily submit detailed information about their product ingredients to the EPA for review.
CSPA established its own voluntary consumer product ingredient communications program and worked with US EPA DfE as it developed its ingredient communication requirements in the original Design for the Environment program.
“Companies like to have recognition from EPA,” said Jim Jones, assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention at the agency. “They also have a desire to periodically get together as a community to talk about the program.”
The workshop began with a video acknowledging all 2015 DfE Partner of the Year awardees, including Osprey Biotechnics, Stepan, Wexford Labs, Staples and CSPA.
Cleland-Hamnett of EPA then spoke on the program’s improvements in the past year.
“This is a great venue for chemical manufacturers to create formulations,” she said. “We’ve been reaching out with a logo redesign and an increase in partner and stakeholder engagement.”
In the Safer Chemical Ingredients List (SCIL), the listed chemicals are safer alternatives, grouped by their functional use class. Listings vary from antimicrobial actives, chelating agents, colorants, defoamers, enzymes and enzyme stabilizers, fragrances, oxidants and oxidant stabilizers, polymers, preservatives and antioxidants, processing aids and additives, solvents, specialized industrial chemicals, surfactants and uncategorized such as aloe barbadensis extract, beeswax and safflower oil, to name a few.
“We look forward to adding more chemicals this year upon review,” she said.
Davies discussed community engagement for the Safer Choice Program.
“To enhance efficiencies, we need to empower facilities and retailers,” he said. “Partnering to raise awareness, such as promotions like spring cleaning, will increase Safer Choice’s presence.” An I&I outreach to schools, government, hospitality and health care locations is also on the agenda for 2016, according to Davies.
Davies also pointed to Executive Order 13693, signed by President Obama in March 2015, plans for federal sustainability in the next decade, as a significant tie-in to the topic at hand. The goal of EO 13693 is to maintain federal leadership in sustainability and greenhouse gas emission reductions.
The Air Care Division’s program lineup featured research associate Ryan Tuttle of Euromonitor International breaking down the air care industry landscape. Tuttle contextualized US trends within the broader market. Global air care sales were $9.3 billion in 2015, with North America accounting for 37% of sales ($3.4 billion). According to Tuttle, rising trends in the air care category include “an increasingly urbanized population” living in smaller spaces; while wax melts and wickless options are also becoming popular. Consumers have “reacted favorably to” the growth of laundry scent boosters, Tuttle added.
“There is continued growth of premium candles and complex fragrances,” he said. “Brands will expand from their traditional markets as beauty and specialist retailers continue to grow market share in air care.”
Meet the Board: 2016 Officers Introduced at Annual Meeting
President and CEO of Diversified CPC International, Inc. William Auriemma was elected chairman of the board of CSPA. He replaces Paul Siracusa of Church & Dwight. CSPA officers are elected by active members and serve a term of one year. The board represents a diverse group of businesses comprising CSPA’s membership.
Other members of the board include:
- First Vice-Chairman: Pamela Lam, VP-R&D, home & laundry care, Henkel Consumer Goods, Inc.;
- Second Vice-Chairman: David Campbell, VP-regulatory and government affairs, NA, Reckitt Benckiser (RB);
- Treasurer: Frank Jusich, president, Professional Products Group, Central Life Sciences; and
- Immediate Past Chairman: Paul Siracusa, Ph.D., Church & Dwight Co., Inc.
Members elected to serve terms expiring in December 2016 are: Bart Bastian, Spray Products; Joel Burdick, Beauty Avenues; Jim Peterson, Ball Corporation; John Kawalchuk, Precision; Jeff Pinkham, The Scotts Company; Elaine Schley, Global Auto Care, a Division of Spectrum Brands; Vicky Varley, The Sherwin-Williams Company; and Bill Smith, KIK Custom Products.
Members elected to serve terms expiring in December 2017 are: Gerard Baillely, The Procter & Gamble Company; Mike Freeman, WD-40 Company; Steve Goldberg, BASF Corporation; Steve Gullickson, MGK; Rebecca Korwin, State Industrial Products; Ben Preston, Jarden Corporation/The Yankee Candle Company, Inc.; Cynthia Reichard, Arylessence, Inc.; and Bill Schalitz, Spartan Chemical Company, Inc.
Members elected to serve terms expiring in December 2018 are: Greg Adamson, Givaudan Fragrances Corporation; Lisa Alexander, Firmenich, Inc.; Steve Christenson, Ecolab Inc.; Lisa Pankiewicz, The Clorox Company; Bill Metzger, United Industries Corporation; Adam Selisker, CRC Industries, Inc.; Kelly Semrau, SC Johnson; and Rob Slone, Stepan Company.
This story was written by
Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor, Happi Magazine