Washington, D.C. – The Household & Commercial Products Association (HCPA) today released remarks given by HCPA President and CEO Steve Caldeira at the HCPA Annual Meeting on December 3, 2018 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
State of the Association Remarks
Steve Caldeira, HCPA President & CEO
HCPA Annual Meeting, December 3, 2018
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
I’d like to share with you a brief update on the household and commercial products industry, and what HCPA has done, and continues to do, to promote, protect, and advance our industry’s most important public policy priorities.
When I was named President & CEO of CSPA, now HCPA, in December of 2016, I was excited about both the challenges and opportunities we had in front of us with a new Congress and new Presidential Administration. Reflecting on the issues that we have proactively and aggressively addressed over the last two years, I couldn’t be prouder of the HCPA team (along with the unwavering support of the board) for their tireless focus to protect and promote this great industry.
Our member companies (your great companies) and products help consumers to lead cleaner, healthier, and more productive lives each and every day. And on behalf of the HCPA team, we are proud to be a part of something bigger than ourselves – an industry that supports 200,000 direct jobs, represents just under 1 percent of U.S. GDP, and that in 2017 contributed 180 billion to the U.S. economy.
Over the last two years, we’ve gone through an organizational reset, reenergized the team and the culture, commissioned critical and much needed economic impact data to better tell our story, and reconnected and strengthened relationships with our allied trade associations (many of whom are represented here today in this room), while also strategically engaging with major retailers, highly-respected NGOs, Congress and the trade and consumer media.
Not to mention rebranding the association by changing the name, creating a new tagline, and passing a landmark ingredient communication law in California that we hope will serve as the basis for a federal solution discussion, moving forward.
But none of this would be possible without YOU. Those of you sitting in this room today recognize the value that HCPA provides, which is why you dedicate so much time and effort to giving back to the organization.
Earlier this year, HCPA released a new strategic plan for the organization and while we are here in Ft. Lauderdale, each of the HCPA Product Divisions and Advisory Councils will be thinking strategically about their priorities, planning for 2019 and looking very carefully at the resources and partners needed to achieve our overall goals as a trade association and as an industry.
More companies continue to join HCPA and our membership development efforts are now beginning to pay measurable dividends. I am also very pleased to report that due to the extremely hard work of HCPA staff and many of HCPA’s board members, just last month we passed the ambitious membership recruitment revenue goal for calendar year 2018, adding 25 new members which now brings our total membership roster to 238. This is a tremendous accomplishment that we should all be proud of.
To put this in perspective, the last time the association achieved this measure of growth was in 2009.
As all of HCPA’s hard work continues, we’d like your help in getting more people engaged from your respective companies. The leadership, expertise and resources of our member company volunteers cannot be understated and it is how we can most effectively leverage and amplify the power of the association—which is why I respectfully encourage everyone here to attend as many Division, Council and Committee meetings as possible, to learn more about the important work of each part of the association and to also add your much-valued thoughts and ideas.
Our top-shelf communications and marketing team is loudly and clearly delivering compelling messages to defend and build trust in this industry, protect your businesses and to provide the media relations air cover to support and advance our public policy positions.
I’m also pleased to provide one more real-world example on the positive strides and impact of our communications and marketing efforts. Just prior to Thanksgiving, HCPA was informed that it received a 2018 MARCOM Gold Award in the print media and publications category for our 2017 annual report.
The MARCOM awards are an international creative competition that recognizes outstanding achievement by marketing and communications professionals.
The annual report is one of the key information leave behinds we take into Congressional offices to share who we are, what we do, who we represent, and to convey the impressive economic impact of our industry. And; It has been very gratifying to receive the numerous compliments from Chiefs of Staff and Members of Congress on the annual report.
This recognition validates the hard work of our very talented team, and the strategic decision by our board of directors to rebrand the association to more effectively advocate on behalf of our members.
I’m not going to go through a step by step update on all of our issues, as our 2018 Government Relations & Public Policy Report was released this morning.
You can find it on the HCPA website, on Twitter, and printed copies are available at the registration desk.
However, I do just want to note a few important highlights.
HCPA has, in fact, brought in highly-regarded and much-needed issue expertise to fit the evolving needs of our member companies, in what can at best be described as a very unique political environment.
We also continue to expand and strengthen our advocacy footprint at all levels of government, which is why we’ve added Allyson Azar as the new Manager of State Government Relations & Public Policy for the West region.
Allyson comes to HCPA from the American Chemistry Council, where she was responsible for managing political mobilization initiatives for states in the Mid-Atlantic region. Allyson also oversaw the State American Alliance for Innovation, a coalition of nearly 200 trade associations under the ACC umbrella.
I am also pleased to announce that Andrea Mojica, will be joining HCPA in January as Vice President, Regulatory Affairs reporting directly to Jim Jones, and will be the Division Staff Executive to both the Antimicrobial and Cleaning Divisions.
Andrea worked in the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) for 12 years and most recently on the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (or better known as TSCA) implementation.
Andrea’s extensive and highly-respected regulatory experience on pesticide-related issues and TSCA at EPA will further enable and advance the strategic direction and execution of the Antimicrobial and Cleaning Divisions’ most important issues.
Also, if you haven’t already, please congratulate Dr. Steve Bennett on his appointment to the EPA Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals (SACC), which provides counsel to the EPA on risk assessments within the TSCA implementation process. It is an enormous benefit for HCPA members to have Dr. Bennett as a part of this highly-important discussion on TSCA implementation. Congratulations, Dr. Bennett.
HCPA was also among the first trade associations to aggressively throw down a marker on the debilitating tariffs on imported steel and aluminum and with China.
In 2016, United States manufacturers produced 3 billion steel containers, 811 million aluminum containers and nearly 4 billion valves to fill nearly 4 billion aerosol products.
So why is the tariffs issue so important? Because HCPA member companies import 90 percent of the aluminum used in the production of aerosol-related products, which is why HCPA acted so quickly to send a letter to President Trump, the Commerce Secretary, and the U.S. Trade Representative urging the administration to avoid raising costs of consumer aerosol products.
HCPA has also signed onto multiple coalition letters to Congress, including;
The National Retail Federation’s (NRF) coalition related to the Chinese tariffs, the National Foreign Trade Council’s (NFTC) coalition related to the tariffs on U.S. steel and aluminum imports, and the Americans for Free Trade coalition, which is a bipartisan group representing a broad collection of American business interests.
HCPA has also been working collaboratively with allied international trade associations from Canada, the European Union and Mexico.
And we also supplemented our external lobbying efforts by hiring one of Washington’s most respected bipartisan public affairs firms to strengthen and supplement the great efforts of the HCPA government relations & public policy team.
Our strong and mutually respectful relationship with the EPA continues to give our members direct access to officials at every pertinent level of the agency. I am pleased to share that we recently met with Andrew Wheeler, the Acting Administrator of the EPA not once, but twice, over the last couple of months.
In late September, HCPA senior staff and members of our Executive Committee were invited to join the Acting Administrator, as he signed the finalized Toxic Substances Control Act User Fees Rule at EPA headquarters.
A week later, I, along with Owen Caine, our EVP, Government Relations & Public Policy, returned to EPA headquarters to meet directly with the Administrator. During the meeting, we reiterated the economic importance of this industry to the U.S. economy, and Administrator Wheeler was also fully briefed on our top issue priorities within the agency and on Capitol Hill; including PRIA reauthorization, TSCA implementation and EPA Appropriations from Congress.
HCPA has also invited Administrator Wheeler to join us for our Mid-Year Meeting in May at the historic Mayflower hotel in Washington, DC, and we are hopeful that he will be able to join us.
The 2019 HCPA Mid-Year Meeting is also your chance to come to DC and make your voices heard.
Similar to our inaugural Capitol Hill Day in 2018, HCPA will be organizing another Legislative Hill Day in coordination with the Mid-Year Meeting to stress to members of Congress the economic impact of our industry, the benefits of our products to society, and to advocate on the association’s top public policy priorities.
Also, in 2018, HCPA relaunched its political action committee, to further support and strengthen our ongoing efforts to educate members of Congress. For more information, please see one of our staff members here in the room.
As we pursue a national solution on ingredient communication in 2019, it is imperative that Congress understands that our industry knows and values that transparency is certainly one of the essential ingredients in earning trust with consumers and workers.
But increasingly, retailers are responding to consumer preferences and reconsidering what kinds of products they sell in their stores.
Based on this fact, Jim Jones and our strategic alliances and industry relations team are building and sustaining key relationships with retailers to share information on the benefits of being in alignment with the California Cleaning Product Right to Know Act that was passed into law last year. You can hear more about this at our retail engagement session on Wednesday.
While we are increasingly finding common ground with retailers, numerous ingredient communication bills popped up at the state level in 2018, but thanks to the excellent work of our state government relations and public policy team, we were able to step in and prevent a patchwork quilt of conflicting laws.
However, despite our good faith efforts to find common ground through dialogue, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation released their final ingredient communication guidance, and in our respectful and legal opinion, we believe they exceeded their statutory authority, and most disconcerting, they refuse to work on, or even acknowledge that their current ingredient disclosure guidance has unworkable testing thresholds for unintentionally added ingredients.
This is why HCPA partnered with the American Cleaning Institute to challenge the guidance in the courts. All of you are welcome to join the federal and state advisory council meetings tomorrow beginning at 8:00 am to learn more about how we are engaging on this important issue.
Looking forward, HCPA is operating from a position of good standing with key stakeholders (including highly-respected NGOs) on ingredient communication. In fact, a recent report from the Breast Cancer Prevention Partners lauded HCPA for these efforts.
Our reputation is invaluable as we continue to build and strengthen relationships with major retailers, NGOs and elected officials in preparation for the 116th Congress in January.
I (and we) truly believe that communicating positive messaging (and yes, also dispelling misinformation about our members’ products when instances warrant) will help consumers and workers to better understand that our products, when used correctly, are safe, beneficial and sustainable choices for their families.
That’s why the HCPA team has been so pleased to support the work of the HCPA Air Care Division Reputation Task Force, which has brought together a team of member company volunteers to change the perception of the Air Care category by building trust with consumers, workers, and the media.
The work of the Air Care Reputation Task Force has been entirely member-driven – these volunteer leaders rolled their sleeves up, created an action plan, funded the needed resources and held themselves accountable for their deliverables.
So, let their example serve as a call to action to work outside of silos and across categories to bring positive messaging about our products to the right audiences – the influencers and key stakeholders that are shaping the conversation around our products online, in the media and in academia.
And that is why we are actively recruiting additional communications executives to join the work of the Air Care Division and I respectfully urge the people in this room to ask your communications colleagues to engage with us.
Lastly, I hope this update conveys to all of you the hard work and dedication of HCPA’s very talented team, and to reiterate, without your collective support, we could not do what we do each and every day.