The Household and Commercial Products Association (HCPA) looks back across a successful year.

XPAND2019, the annual meeting of the Household & Commercial Products Association (HCPA), which was held at the beginning of last month, from December 9-12, 2019 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida was a great success once again. The official opening session, presided over by Steve Caldeira, President and CEO of the association, was part of the general session and provided a preview of the well-organized, exciting program that awaited the more than 400 participants. Caldeira highlighted some elements the multi-day event before presenting his annual report, see opening speech by Steve Caldeira below: 

I know HCPA is a positive force for change in our industry. By encouraging innovation and sustainability for products and successfully advocating for your priority issues on Capitol Hill and in the states, HCPA is helping to shape the future of the industry. As we all know, consumers expect brands to earn – and keep – their trust by always doing what is right by being transparent, and ingredient labeling is, and will continue to be, a building block of that critical trust. That’s why we continue to proactively lead the charge for federal ingredient labeling legislation by calling on Congress to establish a national standard, based on the California Cleaning Product Right to Know Act of 2017, that was signed into law by then Governor Jerry Brown. Since the California law was passed, states – like New York – have started creating their own ingredient labeling requirements. But, having conflicting state requirements will not work, as we all know. Therefore, it’s critical to have one comprehensive federal law for household and commercial products that standardizes what ingredient information is shared with consumers and how. We will also continue to work with allied trades and NGOs to develop federal legislation based on this landmark California law. Our deep issue expertise, expanded advocacy programs at the federal and state levels, proactive communications and strong bipartisan relationships with policymakers will allow us to ultimately accomplish this goal.

And now, I’d like to share with you a brief update on what we have been doing, and will continue to do, on your behalf to protect, promote and advance this great industry.

As you all know – and celebrated with us – a full reauthorization of PRIA was passed unanimously in both chambers of Congress and signed into law by President Trump in early March. This success would not have been possible without the hard work and steadfast support of the PRIA Coalition, countless member companies in this room and, of course, our dedicated and very talented Government Relations & Public Policy team. In this extremely polarized political environment, I will tell you that it is incredibly rare to see bipartisan legislation pass in Congress, let alone unanimously, so this is an impressive legislative accomplishment that we can all take pride in. This member-driven achievement will now ensure the quick review of your pesticide products through fiscal year 2023.

Now, tariffs continue to be a major issue across the manufacturing sector, and we were among the first trade associations to aggressively throw down a marker on the debilitating tariffs on imported steel and aluminum with China. As you’ve seen in the news recently, President Trump threatened to reinstate tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Brazil and Argentina. I also think it’s important to note that we were recently quoted in Fortune Magazine on the Trump Administration’s business-related policies, including international trade and the long-term, negative impacts of tariffs and trade wars. We will continue to work with our allied international trade associations to maximize and leverage the power of the business community by working with multiple coalitions being led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Retail Federation, the National Foreign Trade Council and Americans for Free Trade, to combat these tariffs and trade wars.

I am also very proud to share that HCPA is a lead advocate for the Sustainable Chemistry R&D Act, which passed unanimously out of committee in both the U.S. House and Senate this fall. This legislation would direct the Office of Science and Technology Policy to organize an interagency entity that would be responsible for coordinating federal programs and activities in support of sustainable chemistry. Sustainable chemistry is focused on conserving resources and minimizing the use of hazardous substances in chemical processes – a change consumer and commercial customers have been increasingly seeking from manufacturers.

In order to achieve legislative successes like this, our industry must continue to educate policymakers about the impact, both positive and negative, of their policy proposals. With this in mind, HCPA relaunched its Political Action Committee in 2018 to support and build relationships with candidates for federal office. Since the relaunch, the PAC has raised nearly $50,000 in contributions, and has supported 11 candidates – from both political parties – in the 2018 and 2020 election cycles. The PAC supports candidates who hold positions on committees with jurisdiction over key issues affecting member companies or who represent areas with significant member presence. Building and sustaining bipartisan relationships with key candidates will ensure that our industry’s interests are always top of mind.

We also continue to maintain a strong and mutually respectful relationship with the EPA, which allows us to give our members direct access to officials at every level of the Agency. HCPA was recognized by the EPA as a 2019 Safer Choice Partner of the Year. This award recognizes the leadership contributions of Safer Choice partners (including many member companies) and various stakeholders that demonstrate outstanding results in the design, manufacture, selection and use of products with safer chemicals. We are proud to advocate for the Safer Choice program and will continue to facilitate conversations with the industry and the EPA. I am pleased to share that Alexandra Dunn, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, is here with us in Fort Lauderdale – as she was also with us this past May at our Mid-Year Meeting in D.C. – to meet with members and present at the Federal Advisory Council meeting later this afternoon.

Additionally, our own Dr. Steve Bennett continues to serve on the EPA’s prestigious Scientific Advisory Committee on Chemicals (SACC). The SACC recently released its final report on the draft risk evaluation for Pigment Violet 29 and 1,4-dioxane, which are high-priority chemicals being reviewed under TSCA.

As I mentioned earlier, one of our top legislative priorities is ingredient labeling, and we are committed to pursuing a national solution this year, so that policymakers at all levels of government, as well as the media and consumers, truly understand that our industry values the trust that consumers and workers place in our products and brands.

In addition to our advocacy efforts, HCPA’s non-profit foundation, the Alliance for Consumer Education, is launching a labeling literacy campaign to help consumers understand the new information that they will begin to see next month online and on labels, as a result of the California law.

While the industry is working hard to find common ground with retailers, retailers will continue to respond to consumer preferences as they continually evaluate what kinds of products to sell in their stores and online. HCPA acts as an important bridge between retailers and manufacturers on chemical safety policies and on a wider range of public policy issues. As a member of the UL Advisory Group, whose other members include Lowe’s, Target, Walmart, CVS, Procter & Gamble, 3M, Pfizer, RB, Turtle Wax, Kao, SC Johnson and BASF, HCPA helps identify common areas of interest, while also anticipating potential problems.

We also received some great news in August regarding our lawsuit with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). As a brief reminder, HCPA and our colleagues at the American Cleaning Institute sued the New York State DEC to challenge New York’s Household Cleansing Product Information Disclosure Program, which would require manufacturers of cleaning products sold in New York to list any ingredients that are considered chemicals of concern on their website.

The New York State Supreme Court invalidated the Disclosure Program on the grounds that the New York State DEC did not follow the proper rulemaking process according to the State Administrative Procedures Act. Ultimately, this decision will force the New York State DEC to file the Disclosure Program again – starting from scratch and following the proper rulemaking process. And, once again, we will be right there passionately advocating on your behalf to find a common-sense solution as we did in California.

At the state level, we also monitored 437 bills across the country, that could affect member companies’ interests on topics ranging from pesticide restrictions, green chemistry, product disposal and 1,4-dioxane, which continues to dominate the legislative conversation in New York. The state legislature passed a bill banning the sale of products containing more than two parts per million of this non-intentionally added ingredient. The Government Relations & Public Policy team has met with the Governor’s office multiple times to discuss the issue and even offered an amendment that was supported by the industry which proposed lowering 1,4-dioxane levels to 10 parts per million. Our proactive and, when necessary, reactive communications strategy has been aimed at factually telling our side of the story to ensure that the media, policymakers and New York residents truly understand the negative consequences of this irrational legislation.

You may have also seen our open letter paid advertisement to Governor Cuomo in the Albany Times Union in July. And this past Friday, the Newsday Editorial Board published our most recent letter to the editor in response to Newsday’s editorial calling on Governor Cuomo to sign the legislation. It’s our hope that New York residents read our letter so they can better understand the 1,4-dioxane issue, especially given the fact that it is not responsible for contaminating their water.

Governor Cuomo signed S4389B into law during the State of the Association, banning the sale of cleaning products that contain more than two parts per million (ppm) of 1,4-dioxane.

In California, the legislature proposed two identical bills, known as the Circular Economy and Pollution Reduction Act, which would require all single-use packaging sold in California on or after January 1, 2030 to be recyclable or compostable.

While we support the intent of this legislation, the Circular Economy and Pollution Reduction Act set extreme and unrealistic standards for recycling and packaging reduction. Our industry has already taken significant steps to eliminate packaging waste, and we look forward to working with the legislature on a long-term solution to improve recycling efforts and reduce plastic waste when they reconvene in the new year.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the HCPA Air Quality Council for the incredible work they are doing with the California Air Resources Board, also known as CARB.

The new VOC limits for consumer products that CARB will adopt based on their current rulemaking will have ripple effects across the industry. HCPA has met with CARB in California multiple times throughout this process and is leading the effort among allied trade associations to educate California regulators about what VOC limits are realistic.

Now that CARB has released their initial draft proposal, the Air Quality Council is leading the industry response and I’d like to thank them for their dedication to this issue. This rulemaking will have a major impact on our industry, which is why we are very pleased to have David Edwards, Assistant Chief of Air Quality Planning & Science Division at CARB, join us for a special session on this topic tomorrow afternoon. The fact that Mr. Edwards is here with us in Florida is a testament to our ongoing commitment and reputation to collaborate in good faith with key stakeholders.

As always, our Communications team is working proactively and aggressively to communicate the benefits of our members’ products, while simultaneously fighting the spread of misinformation, especially chemophobia.

A great example of this is the Preservation Stewardship Task Force, which has come together to change the narrative surrounding preservatives – a chemical class that is misunderstood and underappreciated. The inaugural Preservation Summit is a chance to initiate a conversation about the safety and effectiveness of preservatives in household and commercial products, with the goal of educating retailers and NGOs, and advocating with legislators on the benefits of product preservation. I will tell you that HCPA is committed to playing an active role in this critical issue, and I hope that you’ll join us on Wednesday for the Summit.

I’d like to thank P&G, Sherwin-Williams, BASF, Clorox, DuPont, Lonza, Lanxess, Emerald and Clean Control for helping to generously underwrite the costs associated with this important event.

You may also remember that the HCPA Air Care Reputation Task Force hosted a similar event in 2018 about air care safety. They continue to work to publish robust science, balance the external conversation on air care safety and educate key influencers with understandable, shareable information.

New to this year’s Annual Meeting is the Ingredient Innovation Forum. We’re all aware of the challenges associated with 1,4-dioxane, and the Ingredient Innovation Forum is a special B2B opportunity created to connect suppliers, formulators and marketers about possible solutions for the 1,4-dioxane issue.

This year is also the first annual Innovation Awards, which honors companies for accomplishments in product innovation and sustainability in five categories: Ingredients, Sustainability, Consumer Communication, Technology and Game-Changer.

There was a reception last night to honor the award winners: Clean Control, Croda, DS Containers and RB. We are honored to work with companies that create products with consumers and sustainability in mind, and congratulate the winners on their significant accomplishments in developing the next generation of products that moves the industry.

I’m very proud of the work HCPA’s hard-working, focused and “fights above its weight class” staff has done to successfully drive the industry forward, and I also remain humbled and honored to be your CEO.

But there’s still work to be done, communicating about the importance of transparency with consumers and advocating for our priority issues on Capitol Hill and in statehouses across the country. However, we can’t do it alone – no one can – so thank you for your ongoing financial support and strategic engagement. We truly appreciate it.

Before we close, I want to remind you to save the date for IMPACT2020, our Mid-Year Meeting in Washington, DC April 22-24 at the Mayflower Hotel. I hope you’ll be able to join us!

We’re also hosting a special event this year in Austin, Texas – one that only happens every three years. New Horizons is hosted by the HCPA Cleaning Products Division for industry professionals to hear from experts about emerging issues, consumer trends and innovative product analysis.

In closing, I’d like to thank HCPA Chair Pamela Lam for her leadership and ongoing encouragement to staff to strive for excellence. I’d also like to extend our appreciation to the HCPA Board of Directors and the member volunteers who serve on our Product Divisions and Advisory Councils for their continued leadership and commitment.

Everyone in this room recognizes the value that HCPA provides, which is why you’re here with us today. Each one of you dedicates so much of your time and effort to the organization, so thank you very much for your ongoing support.

Several guest speakers from the realms of economic and politics, the presentation of numerous awards – in particular the Charles E. Allderdice Memorial Awards, which are presented each year – were some of the highlights of this meeting.

The general session set a positive mood for the full lecture program that extended across the next few days. The lectures and sessions began very early in the morning and usually ended late in the evening because the many topics were continued in deep-ranging discussions. All lectures as well as the committee sessions of the seven divisions (Aerosol Products Division, Air Care Division, Antimicrobial Products Division, Cleaning Products Division, Industrial and Automotive Division, Pest Management Division and Polishes and Floor Maintenance Division) were always well-attended and the discussions afterwards once again demonstrated the commitment with which the members of the HCPA support this organization. In addition to legal and technical topics, the focus of the lectures was once again on professional topics. Here is a list of the focal points of the individual lectures (see graphics).

For many years, high points of the “General Session” have been guest speeches by prominent personalities from politics, business, and culture. The keynote speaker was Nancy Giordano. She is a strategic futurist with a drive to help enterprise organizations and visionary leaders transform to meet the escalating expectations ahead. Recognized as one of the world’s top female futurists, she has spent her career building, shaping and evolving a portfolio of USD 50 billion worth of major global brands.

For the subsequent presentation of the Charles E. Allderdice, Jr. Memorial Awards, Pamela Lam, Chairman of the Board, took the floor. This highest award, which the association presents each year, went to Diane Boesenberg.

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