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Speaker Interview with Sascha Nissen

Exclusive interview with Sascha Nissen, Director of Sustainability, International Association for Soaps, Detergents and Maintenance Products at A.I.S.E

1. Could you please share with our audience a quick snapshot about what you will be sharing in your Keynote Address: “Efforts of the Industry to meet the Green Deal Objectives on a Circular Economy: How to work Collaboratively”?

The continued growth of environmental and sustainable claims and logos has led to consumer confusion, as well as to potential false claims from certain operators. A.I.S.E., the European association representing the detergents and maintenance products industry, is supportive of the European Commission’s objective of tackling the issue of proliferation of insufficiently substantiated environmental claims, and the effort to steer consumers towards better informed and more sustainable purchase and consumption choices. Those objectives are covered by the Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP) 2.0, and the European Commission has announced to publish a legislative proposal on the ’Substantiation of Green claims’ at the end of March 2022.

2. How circularity is impacting the Cleaning Products industry? How do you see brands are working towards circularity?

We are convinced that the objectives of the CEAP can be met by using self-regulatory mechanisms as already successfully implemented by industry. A.I.S.E. pre-empted EU action and developed and implemented an approach to achieve this objective through its long- standing Charter for Sustainable Cleaning.

This scheme is operational since 2005 with more than 110 producing company members (with 193 manufacturing sites) and has been effective to help reduce the footprint of our sector overall. It uses a robust science-based approach, full life cycle assessment, and transparent independent third-party verification.

3. What does A.I.S.E stand for and how do you help companies/organisations to meet today’s consumer demands?

As mentioned earlier, A.I.S.E. and its members have a long history of common industry action to promote safe and sustainable use of their products, as a sector, but also together with other relevant partners. The Charter for Sustainable Cleaning for instance helps consumers with their purchase decision via a specific logo, which indicates that a product meets specific sustainability standards. Another example is the www.cleanright.eu portal, a multilingual common reference platform for EU consumers to obtain relevant information as well as best and safe use tips. Those are also conveyed by common artwork material used on billions of products for more than 20 years, as well as ad hoc campaigns, including one on low temperature washing (www.iprefer30.eu).

4. How COVID-19 has shifted cleaning priorities?

The availability of cleaning, hygiene and disinfectant products is a top priority. The sector is therefore in close contact with the relevant authorities at EU and national level. During the crisis, certain raw materials have been in short supply, factories have been understaffed, and our member companies have experienced unprecedented logistical challenges in moving supplies and products across borders. In order to ensure the continued supply of essential cleaning, hygiene and disinfectant products, priority access to raw materials and packaging, as well as logistical support from the authorities, is crucial.

At the initiative of A.I.S.E., EBPF (now called Biocides for Europe) and FECC (the European Association of Chemical Distributors), a cross-industry alliance on COVID-19 was immediately created in March 2020. The main objective of the alliance is to provide industry with faster access to the relevant information, helping them to ensure that the authorities, medical facilities and the public all have enough supply of valuable disinfectants in this time of need.

Under the umbrella of this alliance, a practical guide was developed which aims to assist companies in complying with their obligations under the Biocidal Products Regulation (BPR) and equivalent national laws on biocides during the COVID-19 pandemic. The content of this Guide sets out the main procedures for fast-tracking the availability of disinfectants in order to help fight the pandemic.