You know your business. You know your products inside-out. And—if general trends in the beauty industry hold—you are passionate about what you offer Australian consumers.

But you know how sometimes when others explain what they do for work, you kind of nod like you get it but you don’t really ‘get it’? (Or is that just me?)

That might be how you feel about industry associations. Like Accord Australasia, the peak body for the cosmetic industry. Especially if yours is not yet one of our member companies or if you don’t deal with us much, personally.

Well! The Accord team would like to take the opportunity of a new year and a new Strategic Plan to give you a taste of what it is Accord does—what we are passionate about, what we deliver and why our members renew year after year.

“Accord’s vision is to be the respected, forward-looking and influential voice of the industry,” says Bronwyn Capanna, Accord Executive Director. “Our Strategic Plan is designed to deliver tangible outcomes by focusing on four essential pillars: Member Value, Industry Productivity and Innovation, Advocacy & Partnerships, and Social & Environmental Sustainability.

“Accord has 100+ member companies ranging from small Australian-owned businesses to multinationals that make or supply formulated products. The cosmetic and personal care products industry is one key sector we represent.

“Member Value is the core goal of Accord’s Strategic Plan. We aim to provide indispensable services to our member companies—helping them do business, better. Some of our key activities in this area are information sharing, events, networking, and industry benchmarking. For example, in 2023 we hosted 12 events, provided training, held one-on-one meetings with nearly half our member companies and delivered member surveys, FAQs, information updates on key issues—and much more.

“These activities will continue into 2024. Some event highlights for the coming year include our Cosmetic CEO Roundtable, sustainability-themed Industry Briefing and our regulatory and policy-themed Canberra Day. We will also offer ‘regulatory basics’ training and will refresh our well-regarded ingredients defence website,”

Under Industry Productivity and Innovation, Accord works to ensure that the regulatory balance is correct; that is, protecting human health and the environment without overly burdening businesses or hindering international trade and innovation.

“What are the challenges your business is facing?” asks Catherine Oh, Accord Regulatory Strategy Director. “Are there products or ingredients in overseas markets that you cannot bring to Australia? Is your business unsure of what environmental claims you can make? These are just some of the issues our regulatory team takes on. Our positions are science- and evidence-based and represent the views of our member companies.

“A few of our achievements in 2023 include our successful defence of key ingredients used in sunscreen and skincare products, as well as input that the ACCC took on board in its new guidance on environmental claims, and liaising ‘across the ditch’ with Cosmetics NZ on amendments to the Cosmetic Products Group Standard to incorporate the latest EU Cosmetics Regulations.

“Work in regulatory reform can be slow to yield results. But we are tireless in our efforts! With input from our Members, in 2024 we will continue to engage in all relevant regulatory areas—cosmetic ingredients, consumer claims, therapeutic goods, chemical scheduling and the new environmental risk management of chemicals system to enable businesses like yours to operate more efficiently and to strive for that ‘holy grail’ of international regulatory alignment for more seamless global trade.”

Under Advocacy & Partnerships, Accord Policy and Public Affairs Director Craig Brock reflected on a productive year of outreach and relationship-building to boost industry’s profile as well as Accord’s reputation as a credible solutions provider to contemporary policy issues.

“It’s all about credibility and influence,” says Craig. “We take a multi-faceted approach to build these key elements. For example, in the past year, we engaged locally with key ministers and government officials and with many key organisations such as the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO), as well as with our international sister cosmetics associations. We also made submissions to parliamentary inquiries and published new infographics to succinctly communicate the scale and value of our industry and its complex packaging profile.

“Accord will continue to embrace synergies with professional networks and leverage relationships with like-minded industry associations to add weight to advocacy priorities. And we will continue to engage on key environmental issues like packaging waste, microplastics and corporate sustainability reporting—all underpinned by initiatives to showcase the industry’s sustainability credentials.”

Which segues nicely into Accord’s final goal, Social & Environmental Sustainability.

“Our industry has a strong track record in social and environmental sustainability initiatives,” says Jen Semple, Senior Manager, Sustainability & Education Programs. “BeadRecede, Sunsible and the Animal Test Ban Voluntary Code are examples of where Accord has developed industry-based approaches on beauty industry issues.

“We are always building in this area. Packaging and climate change policy are high on our agenda at present. In packaging, we are progressing industry-led product stewardship approaches for non-kerbside-recyclable cosmetic packaging waste and will be showcasing our members’ achievements in packaging waste reduction. In climate, we have undertaken benchmarking and information sharing and will be looking at how best to support industry on this important issue. In the coming year, we also plan to develop sector-specific industry guidance on environmental claims to avoid greenwashing.”

That’s a bit about Accord, our activities and our priorities to foster the growth of the cosmetic industry. But what about you – what issues are challenging your business? If you would like to get some help and insights, please reach out to – we’d love to hear from you.

This article was first published in the Autumn issue of Retail Beauty.

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