Representatives of the European cosmetics industry and key stakeholders who gathered in Brussels on the occasion of the General Assembly of Colipa, the European Cosmetics Association, focused their discussions on science and innovation at a time when their industry must address several challenges, including sustainability and alternatives
to animal testing.

Opening the General Assembly, Colipa’s President, Fabio Franchina, underlined that “innovation is the life-blood of the cosmetics industry,” which is herself of particular importance in the European economy. He particularly underlined the role of the thousands of cosmetic SMEs, in Europe, and stressed the fact that the European cosmetics industry directly and indirectly employs approximately 1.7 million people, including 17,000 scientists. “It is not true that the making of cosmetics is a light and easy business,” he insisted.

In its keynote speech, Commissioner John Dalli, the European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, acknowledged the contribution of the cosmetics industry to employment and innovation in Europe, and encouraged the industry to focus on sustainability through innovation. Regarding the forthcoming 2013 deadline on the remaining exemptions from the animal testing ban, he said the “European Commission stands ready to support industry in the drive to finding alternative methods to animal testing.” He called upon the cosmetics industry to continue to keep momentum in research and innovation.

Also invited to exchange views with industry delegates, Sirpa Pietikainen MEP and Chair of Globe EU, a cross-party group at the European Parliament underlined that the world’s resources did not stretch to current needs, necessitating innovative solutions. She gave the example of the re-circulation of materials which, she said, could only be done by industry.

Bertil Heerink, Colipa’s Director-General closed the session by observing that innovation and sustainable development go hand-in-hand and that the cosmetics industry “needs to continue to make sustainability a reality.