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Newsletter 2015



  1. Editorial

  2. A nanomaterial charter to demonstrate the responsibility of our sectors

  3. Keep caps from kids

  4. I prefer 30°: Analysis of a multi-stakeholder campaign

  5. Cosmetic trends: keeping an eye on the market

  6. In brief





Away with CLP!


Let’s put an end to CLP once and for all – a costly and inadequate regulation that could have been a turning point in communication intended for the end-user; a sad tale indeed. The European CLP (Classification, Labelling and Packaging) regulation, which classifies products that are ‘dangerous’ (according to the legal definition rather than to common sense), is based on the type of danger they represent and requires ‘communication’ associated with that danger. It should be noted that the classification is based on the properties of the substances within a product, but does not take into account how the substances are actually exposed. Thus, it is an assessment of the potential or ‘theoretical’ risk rather than the actual risk. It should also be noted that the associated communication merely indicates the classification of the product (corrosive, inflammable, etc.), but does not state how to guard against the potential dangers related to it. The CLP is a regulation for chemists, not a communication tool for end-users – and certainly not for the average consumer – which is a great shame.

REACH, the other major regulation that applies to the marketing of chemical products – in terms of human health and environmental impact – is based on risk analysis and takes into account, synergistically, the properties of these substances and exposure to them. As a ‘communication tool’ in the legislative arsenal surrounding so-called ‘dangerous’ chemical products, the CLP could have been innovative and better designed to benefit more from the REACH approach, which requires a user-oriented communication to ensure products are used safely. In short, this requires a coherent regulatory ‘follow-up’, which is not the case. More than simply a missed opportunity, the CLP is a failure. What does it actually contribute?  Nothing! For professionals, it is an international language; for consumers ... there is nothing new: now one CLP regulation simply replaces another. The DPD (Dangerous Preparations Directive) laid down similar requirements, based on a slightly different classification and modified pictograms.

CLP has been baring its claws since June 2015, and its harmful effects will soon be felt. The minor differences in the classification criteria will have a significant impact, particularly in the detergents sector. In reality, the new order erases the nuances and when ‘just applied’ (i.e. without any additional tests in vivo) moves most detergents to the corrosive class, whether they are washing-up liquid, descalers or toilet cleaners. Well done! No doubt consumers will be very grateful! There could not be a more efficient way of delivering confusing messages about products. Professional users will still be able to rely on a mandatory safety sheet, but the ‘average’ consumer (as defined by the regulation) will have nothing other than their own common sense. Let’s hope they’ve got some! 

There’s no doubt that after REACH, industry expected more from a regulation that aims to improve communication for the users of so-called dangerous products. Surely such a missed opportunity warrants a little rant!


Moving on

Yes, let’s turn the page, but let’s do it properly. Obviously, industry has to comply with regulations, however ridiculous they may seem. Undoubtedly, there are numerous other solutions for re-establishing communications with the end-user. For example, the ‘safe-use’ pictograms developed by the detergent sector offer a very interesting approach, and there are other avenues worth considering. The functionality of labels on consumer products remains a constant challenge, even more so in Belgium, with regard to various languages, regulatory requirements and marketing claims all packed into a limited space. The future will certainly require the support of other media, particularly digital communication tools.

To avoid an unnecessary delay caused by additional testing, the detergents sector has implemented DetNet, the first shared system for the evaluation of mixed data. This provides significant support for companies and – hopefully – for the supervisory authorities, too.





A 'nanomaterial' charter to demonstrate the responsibilty of our sectors!

DETIC is currently drawing up a charter on the use and development of nanomaterials. Nanomaterials are infinitely small particles with at least one dimension expressed in nanometres (i.e. one billionth of a metre). They are used in sun creams, skincare products and toothpaste, as well as in paints, packaging, computer chips and medical devices. The production and processing of nanomaterials is a relatively recent activity which, as with most innovations, is causing a certain degree of unease. 



It is precisely this unease which companies are endeavouring to overcome with the nanomaterial charter. When processing and producing raw materials, companies are obliged to comply in a binding and consistent manner with the safety procedures stipulated by law and the required manufacturing procedures. Moreover, according to the characteristics of the materials, industry must implement what is referred to as the ‘precautionary principle’, by applying both specific and adapted measures. Consequently, to clarify the sector’s responsible attitude and thus to reassure all stakeholders, DETIC has decided to draw up a charter based on four basic principles: sustainable development, safety for human beings and the environment, transparency, and communication.    


In fact, nanomaterials benefit society by promoting the emergence of new markets and the creation of jobs. Furthermore, the resulting applications can help improve the quality of life while protecting the environment. Thus, they can be seen as making a sustainable contribution in economic, social and environmental terms. By including a section on safety, the charter also aims to certify the responsible practices within companies that apply specific safety procedures when processing and producing nanomaterials. This means that these firms guarantee the safety of workers both during and after production, including users and consumers. The section on transparency and communication also demonstrates that companies producing nanomaterials provide their customers and logistic partners with the necessary information for transporting, storing, using, transforming and disposing of nanomaterials in complete safety. Consequently, useful information can be exchanged along the production chain, which is essential for responsible marketing.


As regards the production and processing of nanomaterials, the regulations do not include any provisions (with the exception of cosmetics) other than those applicable to ordinary substances and preparations. Companies aim to use this charter to reassure stakeholders and to communicate openly about how they are addressing this new activity in a responsible way. The charter is still in the consultation phase, but DETIC hopes that once the draft has been drawn up it will be validated quickly and positively, so that it can promote good practices throughout the industry as widely as possible.




Keep caps from kids


Innovative, ecological and appealing?

Industry adopts a responsible attitude

The number of accidents resulting from the ingestion of detergent capsules does not differ significantly from those involving other laundry detergents or cleaning products. However, since sales of these capsules are rising, so are the numbers of accidents. When the sector became aware of this (and in consultation with the country’s poison control centre), it responded by setting up a voluntary programme to reduce the attractiveness of the capsules to children. Steps taken include making the packaging opaque and more difficult to open, and improving communication on the packaging by using more explicit warning symbols.

At the end of 2014, the European Commission published a change in the legislation incorporating part of the industry’s programme. New obligations include adding a bittering agent to the film around the capsule so that a child putting one in his or her mouth will spit it out immediately. Other modifications include a liquid-retaining film that does not dissolve for at least 30 seconds upon contact with water (20°C), and making the capsule sturdier so that it does not split immediately should a child bite into it. 

Communication campaign targets parents

As a precaution, the industry has decided to organise a communication campaign targetting the users of these capsules. Therefore, DETIC and AISE are running the ‘Keep Caps from Kids’ campaign in Belgium and other European countries. The campaign distributes instructions on the safe use of these products in an effort to significantly reduce the number of accidents.


The Poison Control Centre – an essential partner

The Belgian Poison Control Centre is an important partner in this campaign. From the outset, DETIC has worked closely with the centre on preventative information. Cooperation between the Poison Control Centre, the authorities and the industry has created a unique and specialised approach in terms of both the technical aspects and communication, aiming to provide consumers with the best possible information platform. This campaign is also supported by the European Child Safety Alliance. To find out more, visit:







I prefer 30° - analysis of a multi-stakeholder campaign


Have you heard about the ‘I prefer 30°’ campaign? If so, then you are among 18% of the Belgian population we have reached through our organised events and regular Facebook posts. However, if you have not heard about it, there is still time to get involved, or even better, you can still lower the impact of your use of laundry detergents. This is exactly what this campaign was all about: tackling the user phase in the life cycle of a detergent, which makes the biggest contribution to its negative environmental impact. The aim is not to detract from manufacturers’ responsibility, or to make anyone in particular feel guilty, but rather to create an understanding and awareness among the public to modify their behaviour and pay more respect to the environment.

Why the user phase?

From all the phases of a detergent’s life cycle analysed, (i.e. extraction of raw materials, production, transport, consumer), it is the user phase which has the greatest impact on the environment. To be more specific, it is the consumption of energy and natural resources, especially water. The actual environmental impact of the overuse of water is six times greater than the impact perceived by the consumer. Over the past 12 months, the ‘I prefer 30°’ campaign has shown Belgian citizens how they can wash their clothes in a more sustainable way. Newly developed, enzyme-based laundry detergents make it possible to remove stains at lower temperatures than the current average washing temperature (41°C). The performance of these new products, and their use requires a change in attitude on behalf of consumers who tend to use too high a temperature in their washing machines. This change of attitude also applies to the use of enzymatic detergents.

Are Belgians changing their minds?

Thanks to the ‘I prefer 30°’ campaign, and the associated Facebook posts, events and partnerships, we have reached 18% of the population already. This is quite good, although it is still too early to expect a major change in consumer behaviour. This is not really surprising, bearing in mind that habits are passed from generation to generation, and the older generation still swears that washing at high temperatures is the most effective and hygienic way. However, we are not giving up. The campaign will be relaunched as a long-term action, so one thing is certain: you will be hearing more from us!

To find out more about ‘I prefer 30°’, visit:

Follow the campaign on Facebook:





Cosmetics: an eye on the market



‘Innovation’ is the key word in the cosmetics market. New colours, unique formulas and specialist treatments are just some of the developments marking the continual progression towards greater personalisation in a highly competitive sector, which is subjected to rigorous legislation and the constant demand for rapid ‘renewal’. Consumers now want a greater range of products which are more effective, and industry is readily responding to the demands. Every summer, every winter, every month and even every day, new products are appearing in the market place, designed to support consumers through all phases of their lives, and responding to their needs, wishes and current trends.

Assured value

In recent years, the ‘green factor’ has been gaining ground. Obviously, this is not about the colour green, but rather the concept. For decades, humanity has produced and consumed at will – ‘the sky is the limit’. But now the limit has almost been reached and companies are adopting more sustainable practices and making their products less harmful to the environment. For example, plastic micro beads (or ‘microplastics’) are being replaced with more natural alternatives. Nevertheless, this has little effect on the amount of plastic found at sea, since there are other factors involved, so let’s not deny it. The cosmetic industry is leading the way by assuming its responsibility voluntarily while, for their part, consumers are paying greater attention to the products they buy, and questioning where and how they are produced. Local products, for example, may be slightly more expensive but they give local industry a boost. And although the intrinsic quality of natural and synthetic raw materials may be identical, the consumer is inexorably drawn to the words ‘organic’ and ‘natural’. This niche market will undoubtedly continue to grow. On the other hand, it is sometimes these same consumers who like to spoil themselves with affordable luxury products, often endorsed by a celebrity, a trend which keeps the market diverse.


All in one

All-in-one solutions, such as BB and CC face creams, are strengthening their position in the market. This trend is in response to a demand from consumers who want to simplify their ‘beauty routine’. An all-in-one cream is a single product that moisturises, masks and provides UV protection for the skin at one and the same time. Admittedly, these creams only ensure minimal protection for situations like an ordinary day in the office, and are not suitable for longer exposure to the sun, such as sun-bathing on the beach or in the park. Unfortunately, Belgians do not protect themselves properly against the sun: only 39% avoid the sun at midday when it is at its hottest, and just 7% wear appropriate clothing when they are outside. In fact, one in five Belgians believes that if they use a tanning product there is no point in applying sunscreen as well. Nothing could be further from the truth, as even your naturally  bronzed skin only reaches a minimum of SPF 2. Fortunately, unlike Belgians, the rest of the world tends to use those sunscreens which offer the highest protection against UV. Although the summer of 2014 was not the best weather-wise, sun creams with the highest available UV factor sold in pharmacies proved the most popular. Macroscopically, consumers are indeed seeking better protection from the sun. Growing media attention to skin care and countless alerts from fashionista in blogs certainly serve a purpose, which is very good. However, not everyone is a fan of all-in-one – some consumers are still looking for specific and very targeted products. So will future trends favour ‘personalised’ or even ‘bespoke’ products?    


Food for thought

Have you still not had your fill of the numerous cookery programmes on TV? That’s lucky, because this trend is now creeping into the bathroom, with products that stimulate the senses, either creating an association of ideas or bringing back memories of well-being. Yoghurt for the body, ‘body crumbles’ and even gluten-free products are booming. The majority of cosmetic products do not contain gluten, and even if it sounds absurd, consumers can check the list of ingredients to see if a product contains wheat, oats, rye or barley derivatives. Of course, these products are strictly for use in the bathroom not the kitchen! Generally speaking, products that stimulate the senses and bring back memories or feelings of well-being are certainly on the up.


Cosmetics for men

Cosmetics for men are far more prominent today than they were a decade ago. Facial care and perfumes are the most popular, with sales of perfume rising year after year, for both men and women. The one thing that both sexes have in common is the race against time. Our standard of living enables us to live better, longer, healthier lives and consequently, whatever the generation, concern for our appearance is assuming a greater significance, and anti-ageing treatments are becoming more popular than ever.


Current beauty trends


Digital beauty

In the world of beauty products, the digital world not only makes product information more accessible and enables us to compare products more easily, but it is also a source of numerous ‘beauty apps’. These provide users with customised makeover advice, tutorials, dermatology tips, and even the opportunity to experiment with the latest make-up trends by testing them virtually on a ‘selfie’. There is even an app that tells you when you need to renew your sun cream – the list is endless. But those passionate about beauty products have not restricted themselves to the digital world. For several years they have also been embracing new technologies. Brazilian innovator Katia Vega, who has a PhD in computer technology, is setting the tone; switching on the television and changing the channel with the wink of an eye, or manipulating objects connected to your surroundings by using tattoos on your skin or false nails, are no longer science fiction.



Along with digitalisation and technology, urbanisation is also having an influence. Consumers are increasingly looking for cosmetics products that offer protection against pollution. According to the market research firm Mintel, the number of products that profess to be ‘anti-pollution’ (namely skin protection) has risen by 10% worldwide, which is an interesting development in a world where city dwellers are facing growing levels of pollution.

Whatever the latest trends, with all the latest technological and digital developments, the future of the cosmetics industry is becoming more dynamic than ever. Even social media and the photographic filters used on apps like Instagram are inspiring new ranges of cosmetics – whereby virtual becomes reality …





In brief


Greener Packaging Award

Companies can still register for the Greener Packaging Award until the end of August. Any firm that has substantially reduced the environmental impact of its (household or industrial) packaging can take part. In 2013, the DETIC sectors entered this competition on a large scale and came away with a number of prizes (Werner & Mertz, Laboratoires Ex-panscience, L’Oréal, Sicos, Ecolab, The Body Shop and Estee Lauder). There were also awards for Procter & Gamble, L’Oréal and Laboratoires Expansciences.



DETIC, essenscia Wallonie and the Fund for Professional Training in the Construction Industry have started work on producing a ‘construbook’ about the correct use of mastics on building sites. A ‘construbook’ is a tablet application based on the DETIC manual, intended for use on building sites and/or in training centres.


Allergy info online

What is an allergy? What should you do if you have an allergic reaction? What can be done to reduce the risk? An updated dossier answering all these questions and more is now available on the website


DETIC is helping national safety policy

To help identify various types of crime in society, the Federal Police regularly develop an Image of national security-related policing (IPNS). DETIC is cooperating on this project through the FEB/VBO, the Belgian business federation. Information exchanged between the various parties involved will provide a clearer image of the criminal acts committed in our sectors and result in a policing-related policy better adapted to the specific challenges posed.


DETIC welcomes Sabine Denis to its General Assembly

Sabine’s talk focused on ‘Shared Value’, a concept related to the quest for economic and social added value through companies’ core business. It is a question of finding out how, through their products and services, companies can provide a solution to the major challenges of tomorrow and make a positive impact on society. The talk provided for a lively evening that proved inspirational for DETIC members.  Sabine Denis is co-executive officer of The Shift, the Belgian sustainable development network.


On the agenda

Review of the DETIC advertising code

DETIC is working on the revision of its ‘code for advertising and commercial communication for cosmetic products’. The new version will be available in French and Dutch on and from September 2015.  An English version (for information) is also foreseen.


I prefer 30°, 2015

DETIC is to relaunch the ‘I prefer 30°’ campaign in Belgium from September 2015. This initiative fits perfectly with fulfilling the obligations resulting from the sectoral agreement on more environmentally friendly detergents. All the partners involved will once again be invited to join the relaunch. Consult our IP30 pages on Facebook.




Responsible publisher: Frédérick Warzée -