AEROSOL EUROPE: Mr. Hauser, first we would like to congratulate you on your selection as President of the European Aerosol Association. What are your goals as you assume your new position?
Urs Hauser: Thank you very much. First and foremost, I am here to serve our members. My concerns are long-term growth and promotion of our industry and products. This assumes good cooperation with our members and partners.
AEROSOL EUROPE: Which urgent topics do you think should be dealt with in the short term and advanced in the future?
Urs Hauser: At the moment, the focus is still on the handling of COVID. To work on and implement long-term solutions, experts have to meet and exchange ideas. Teams and Zoom video conferences are efficient, but to solve complex or sensitive problems, there is no substitute for face-to-face meetings.
The global event FEAerosol2022 in Lisbon will offer customers a fantastic opportunity to meet their suppliers in person once again.
AEROSOL EUROPE: What will be the challenges for our industry in the medium term?
Urs Hauser: The EU Green Deal will be a focus of our industry for the next few decades. High priorities are work on CLP, plastic, REACH, recycling, the “circular economy”, “zero pollution”, and the “green transition”. We have to meet consumers’ expectations with regard to these topics and work on these issues. The goal to become climate-neutral by 2050 will certainly also require a lot of effort.
AEROSOL EUROPE: Since March of this year, COVID-19 has kept the world on tenterhooks. How do you assess the situation, especially with respect to the development of our industry?
Urs Hauser: The aerosol industry has experienced great challenges in the past, challenges that it overcame pretty well. I hope the aerosol industry will approach the events of 2020/21 in a similar manner. There are products that are doing very well, such as disinfectant sprays; there is an unprecedented demand for these right now. And even after the pandemic, disinfectant sprays will remain popular, as consumers are not likely to change their new habits so quickly. People are also spending more time at home, so I would expect that products for do-it-yourselfers will sell very well. However, the market for cosmetic aerosols has suffered under the lockdown of hair salons. We are in an adjustment phase, but I trust that the industry will have the necessary resilience and also overcome this crisis. Consumers will have new needs and expectations, which will be reflected in new innovative, sustainable products.
AEROSOL EUROPE: To what extent does the FEA support the European aerosol industry in difficult economic times like the ones we’re living through right now?
Urs Hauser: The FEA provides important services for members, committees, working groups, and task forces. Despite the difficult economic situation, the new European Commission continues to develop the ambitious European Green Deal. Therefore, early warnings and positionings are and will be required in order to transform clear challenges into opportunities.
AEROSOL EUROPE: The FEA’s cooperation and communication with the institutions of the EU are an essential component of the association’s work. Do you see possibilities for improvement here?
Urs Hauser: The interactions with the EU institutions have developed positively despite Covid-19. The Commission’s officials are working from home, there are no physical sessions, and these have been transformed into video- and teleconferences. But even if the means of communication have changed, the task remains the same. Despite the circumstances, the FEA continues to process external inquiries and thus create valuable connections.
AEROSOL EUROPE: Which measure are you taking to guarantee close communication between the national associations in Europe?
Urs Hauser: The FEA has a committee that does just this. CNAD members work jointly on their national topics and communication activities. Members of national associations meet regularly. Some of them have even enhanced their cooperation. If a national association needs assistance, there are always colleagues available to help out.
AEROSOL EUROPE: There is already a close cooperation between the FEA and the American association HCPA (Household & Commercial Products Association). What additional opportunities for cooperation with the HCPA do you envision in the near future?
Urs Hauser: Both Europe and the USA are very regulated environments. The exchange of information between the FEA and HCPA has naturally tended toward mutual support. The FEA and HCPA regularly present joint documents on the UN level. As you summarized perfectly a moment ago, the FEA and HCPA are already working closely with one another.
AEROSOL EUROPE: What will be your focal points in the cooperation with the Asian aerosol association AAF?
Urs Hauser: In addition to the exchange of information, common issues are harmonization and work on common standards. We offer support and are available when and if we are needed.
AEROSOL EUROPE: In rough terms: What does cooperation with other countries’ aerosol associations look like?
Urs Hauser: We have equal and open channels with all national associations. An open exchange of information is indispensable, we also meet regularly at international events. As an example of this openness, ABAS (Brazil) recently received an FEA Global Aerosol Award 2020 in the category Sustainable Development Achievement. Competition is a keyword for the market, but cooperation is a keyword for the associations.
AEROSOL EUROPE: Mr. Hauser, we thank you for the conversation.