Published: 18 June 2024  (Updated: 18 June 2024)

CTPA Manifesto series #5: provide a framework for growth with sustainability at its core

By Dr. Emma Meredith, Director General, CTPA

As you know, on Wednesday 22 May Prime Minister Rishi Sunak addressed the nation and announced that the next General Election will take place on Thursday 4 July 2024.  While we were anticipating a General Election this year, we had expected this would take place in the Autumn.  With the date now set for 4 July, the current session of MPs has ended and Parliament has been dissolved.   

As you will also be aware, CTPA has launched its Manifesto setting out the key asks for our vital industry, and has been actively engaging with key political stakeholders and other influencers.  CTPA will continue to promote our asks, and the essentiality of our sector, in the run up to the General Election and will seek to work with the new UK Government as a trusted partner. 

Over the past weeks since the official launch of the CTPA Manifesto, I have been focussing on the pillars under which all of the strategic asks in the Manifesto fall.  I have shared my views on the essentiality of our industry, the importance of our strict risk-based regulation and my passion for science which underpins all that we do. 

Sustainability must be at the heart of a business, reducing the impact of our products and their use on the world’s resources, not causing harm to the environment and putting people and the planet first, ahead of everything else. 

CTPA has been championing more sustainable practices among the industry since 2018 through its Sustainability Strategy ‘Driving Towards a Net Positive Cosmetics Industry’.   It is therefore only to be expected that one of the pillars in the CTPA Manifesto is Sustainability. 

The CTPA Sustainability Strategy was developed in partnership with sustainable development non-profit, Forum for the Future, and is born from a passion to make the cosmetics and personal care industry a force for good by putting more back into society and the environment than is taken out.   

Three areas have been identified where CTPA members can effectively create sustainable initiatives that are relevant to their work in the cosmetics industry: Environmental Impacts of Production and the Supply Chain; Waste and End-of-Life Fate; and Wellbeing.  We are working around these three impact goals to build towards a Net Positive cosmetics industry here in the UK: 

Environmental Impacts of Production and the Supply Chain 

Aimed at reducing the environmental impact of production on biodiversity and ecosystems in the supply chain, reducing petroleum-based sourcing, highlighting and making changes to the cosmetic industry's water reliance and improving air quality for all. 

Waste and End-of-Life Fate 

Aimed at reducing avoidable waste including plastics and other non-recyclable substances from products and packaging, ensuring that the impact of materials entering the environment is minimised. This can be done by focusing efforts on product and packaging design and innovation to actively create products that remain sustainable throughout their life-cycle.  By thinking about the circular economy of cosmetic products, CTPA can help motivate our industry to create an environment for packaging that is both renewable and sustainable. 


Improving the personal, social and health outcomes for people is a critical aspect of sustainability, not just for our consumers but for all those involved along the supply chain. 


Building on the great work members are doing individually on sustainability, the Association is bringing members together to share best practice and drive system-wide change to represent a balanced, conscientious, world-leading industry.  We do this via the Sustainability Hub, which provides support and signposts where organisations can find help and best practice.  In addition, and to help members focus on and progress their sustainability strategies, CTPA provides members free, confidential one-to-one sessions where members get an understanding of the key challenges for the cosmetics, beauty and personal care sector, both today and over the next ten years and help to identify what actions can be taken by companies to effect the most change.   

While the CTPA Manifesto’s key ask is a dedicated strategy for our sector, to secure the continued sustainable growth of this indispensable industry for the next five years, specifically on sustainability we focus on Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for packaging.  

The cosmetics industry is supportive of a world-class, producer-led EPR scheme for packaging and I am absolutely delighted that Dr Margaret Bates, Managing Director of the On-Pack Recycling Label (OPRL), has been appointed to the role of Head of the UK EPR for Packaging Scheme Administrator. 

It is vitally important that producers are central to the operation and design of the scheme in order to achieve efficiency and deliver the desired environmental outcomes, and in its Manifesto CTPA is asking that the EPR consultation process has direct participation and involvement from the industry.  In addition, we are asking that detailed information on the EPR requirements, not broad intentions, are communicated as a matter of urgency in order for companies to have sufficient time to prepare.  

Another important area of work for CTPA is on Take-Back Schemes.  You can read more about this in the CTPA Position Paper. 

Discounts on modulated fees under EPR must be extended to all companies who operate Take-Back Schemes and who are therefore recycling theirs and other companies’ waste packaging.  We are requesting that companies who have Take-Back Schemes and/or promote Take-Back Schemes to their consumers can label their products as recyclable (‘via take-back schemes’).  

It is also crucial that Monies raised from EPR must be used to improve a harmonised infrastructure for recycling across the UK.   Equally important is investment in the infrastructure required to increase the percentage of collected plastic that is recycled and in improving the quality of recyclate. 

Thank you for following me so far on this journey through our five Manifesto pillars.  The next and final stop: critical business considerations. 


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