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The World Turns to ACI

Annual meeting features presentations from around the globe.

Information technology may be making the world smaller, but global regulatory issues are more complex than ever. No wonder then, that the opening session of the American Cleaning Institute’s Annual Meeting & Industry Convention included presentations by some of the leading sister associations around the world, including Canada, Brazil, Japan, Australia and Europe.

Susanne Zänker of AISE reviewed the key issues impacting the European Union. Leading the agenda is the implementation of REACH, where AISE is determined to forge a workable implementation of the massive regulation while ensuring the market availability of raw materials. To achieve that goal, AISE is working with the Downstream User of Chemicals Coordination (DUCC) group and actively monitoring endocrine disruption and other related issues.

AISE also helped launch DetNet, a voluntary initiative of the detergent industry that will help to generate data based on validated and recognized test methods and share it with all European detergent companies. DetNet’s scope includes laundry detergents, hand dishwash detergents and household cleaners. Similarly AISE is spearheading voluntary industry efforts regarding the safe storage and use of unit dose detergents and product resource efficiency projects.

Shigeo Ishii of the Japan Soap and Detergent Association noted that while volume of the Japanese detergent industry has remained fairly constant over the years, value has risen, as more expensive liquid formulas now control 62% of the market, up from about 10% in 1994. As consumers turn to liquids and smaller refill packs, that’s helped JSDA reduce its plastic use/volume by 41% compared to 1995—ahead of the 2015 goal set by JSDA. In 2014, the association is monitoring risk assessment of key ingredients such as surfactants.

Shannon Coombs of the Canadian Consumer Specialty Products Association, listed the key issues facing the country’s cleaning industry as: VOC regulations, modernization of the 60-year-old Food & Drug Act, Beyond the Border Working Group Action Plan, Canada Consumer Product Safety Act, Pest Control Products Act and regulations, and provincial post-consumer waste.

Maria Eugenia Proenca Saldanha of the Brazilian Cleaning Products Industry noted that Brazil represents dynamic growth opportunities, even though it is already the fourth largest market for cleaning products in the world. For example, sales of dishwash detergents have surged 41% from 2008 to 2012, according to the association. During that same time, fabric softener sales increased 36.8% and multipurpose cleaner sales soared nearly 76%. She attributed the gains to several factors including growth of the middle class and the number of households overall in Brazil.

“The cleaning products market in Brazil has been growing faster than GDP for the past 10 years,” noted Saldanha. “These gains were made despite barriers such as high bureaucracy and taxation.

Despite these barriers, Saldanha predicted Brazilian cleaning product sales will rise 4.4% this year.

Unlike the other speakers, Craig Brock of Accord (Australia) said his group represents household cleaning products as well as cosmetics and toiletries. But whether its members are selling laundry detergent or soap, lipstick or perfume, all of them face the same problem: over-regulation of low-risk products.

“It is a direct cost and a barrier to innovation and investment,” he complained.

To combat this, Accord has proposed a 7-Point Action Plan for the sector, as well as reform of the Australian chemicals regulator, NICNAS.

The goal is to gain “regulatory equivalence” acceptance of low-risk products already on the market in advanced economies like the EU and the US, explained Brock.