Lezlee Westine & George Calvert

The Personal Care Products Council focused this year’s programming around sustainability, and featured speakers that touched on everything from consumer trust to recycling.

Those issues are top of mind, Lezlee Westine, PCPC president, and George Calvert, PCPC chairman, told WWD in an interview, as are sunscreen, which the FDA has been looking into more closely to determine safety, and clean beauty, which remains definition-less.

“From a product standpoint, people are looking for [sustainability],” Calvert, who is also Amway’s chief supply chain officer, said. “They’re looking at ingredients, they’re looking at packaging, but they’re also looking at operations more and more.”

As the FDA looks more closely at sunscreen active ingredients, PCPC has “working very closely” with the group to determine what if any additional information could be provided. The goal, Westine said, is for the eight ingredients in question to ultimately be considered safe.

“The industry is confident in the safety of all of these materials,” said Jay Ansell, a PCPC scientist.

The group also continues to look to pass legislation for federal regulations, which it contends would be easier to navigate than state-by-state laws. “We want the FDA to have more authority in this regard,” Calvert said. “Right now, we’re operating against a patchwork of state laws. You can imagine anybody trying to formulate a product for the U.S. can’t formulate it for Main, Vermont and California separately — it’s a huge challenge.”

Westine said she remains optimistic, but “this is a presidential election year, so getting anything out of Congress is always a challenge.”

On the clean beauty front, PCPC is backing the idea of consumer choice, while affirming that the materials used across the board are “safe,” Ansell said.

“Consumers right now are changing preferences,” Westine said. “Some do want 100 percent organically sourced products. Others want what’s more convenient, others want to stay with products that they know, others want the latest innovation — really, we’re just providing the choices. The phrase personal care … really does say ‘personal,’ so we want to make sure consumers make their own decisions.”

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