A conversation with Dr. Rolf Bayersdörfer


President of the European Aerosol Association FEA, Brussels/Belgium

AEROSOL EUROPE: You have been President of the European Aerosol Association since 2010. When you look back across your previous association activities, which achievements make you especially proud?

Dr. Rolf Bayersdörfer: Our successes with cooperation, both internal and external!

I have had the opportunity to work with a truly unique and fantastic team, the FEA office, the national associations, and industry experts from various companies. Whether it was the good alignment with the Commission in order to realize the adaptation to the technical progress for the ADD and synchronisation with the CLP, for example; the close and constructive cooperation on expert committees for the creation of new guidelines, standards, and position papers; or the FEA office, which has implemented the organizational structural transformation perfectly and with great motivation.

All of this sounds like a matter of course, but it is not. A very motivated team at the FEA office has always kept an ear open for new ideas and questions, has a worldwide network, and it gives its heart and soul to the aerosol industry.

The openness and productivity of the thematic work at the FEA distinguishes itself through a truly noteworthy degree of constructiveness and operative readiness.

Also with respect to questions of succession in our industry sector, there are concrete ideas being implemented that counteract the tendency of ever-greater concentration on a few experts. Our open way of working and our culture will allow the “young people” to profit quickly from our broad experience and give them the chance to help design the future.

AEROSOL EUROPE: In rough terms: Which topics must currently be dealt with primarily on the European level?

Dr. Rolf Bayersdörfer: The ADD is currently determining the scope of work, whether through the current evaluation by the Commission or through the industry-motivated adaptation to the technical progress with the keywords plastic aerosols and 15 bar.

We are also closely connected with our global colleagues in order to observe the market and regulatory topics and synchronize these as intensively as possible.

A global market should demonstrate few regional differences since topics with respect to safety, quality, and sustainability are the same everywhere.

AEROSOL EUROPE: Great Britain will leave the EU. What consequences do you anticipate, especially with a view to the European aerosol industry?

Dr. Rolf Bayersdörfer: I cannot predict the economic consequences here since a lot will still depend on the discussions in Brussels. However, with respect to our day-to-day cooperation with the BAMA team, I am quite relaxed about the future. Our common sense and team spirit, which has always bound us closely to the English association, will not suffer. I am sure that we will find ways to get the expertise and quality of our content work heard.

AEROSOL EUROPE: America has voted. Do you believe that the close cooperation between the FEA and the American CSPA will change?

Dr. Rolf Bayersdörfer: No. It is about people. Our great relationship is our foundation.

I do not anticipate any limitations on cooperation. We are all professionals and open to the topic of “aerosols.” We may also not forget that many multinational companies are present on both continents and naturally they have an interest in common lines on regulatory matters.

Surely we will learn soon how the political leadership’s position on environmental topics will develop. Then we will have to decide and act.

AEROSOL EUROPE: We suspect that even close connections with the Latin American aerosol associations will continue. What is the current state of things here?

Dr. Rolf Bayersdörfer: You suspect absolutely correctly. These associations are part of the global network and regular exchange at in the context of conferences and our annual meeting as International Liaison Committee solidify these relationships. There are common topics on our agendas that we will advance globally.

The FEA practices the politics of open communication and in Alain D’haese, it always has an expert ambassador when it comes to FEA subjects.

AEROSOL EUROPE: What will be your focal points in the cooperation with the Asian Aerosol Association AAF?

Dr. Rolf Bayersdörfer: Since the foundation of the association, we have supported it where we can, and we welcome its goals. A common understanding and an approach on a global level are our basic principles here too. Advising economically up-and-coming countries on guidelines, standards, and providing them with expertise while they are building up their production and establishing their logistics chains are our primary efforts.

The outstanding, long-term relationships with the Australian and New Zealand associations also form an essential axis, as do the good relationships with China and Japan.

AEROSOL EUROPE: The production of aerosols in Europe stagnated last year on a very high level. Where do you see growth potential for the future?

Dr. Rolf Bayersdörfer: Innovations!! I am convinced that the possibilities for aerosols are far from being exhausted completely. Aerosols are largely convenience products thanks to their easy, effective, and efficient handling. Both the recipes and the packaging technology will surprise us time after time in the not-too-distant future; this is my assumption.

AEROSOL EUROPE: The FEA will organize future international aerosol congresses “by itself” if we have understood correctly. How will this look in 2018, when the international aerosol industry will meet in Düsseldorf?

Dr. Rolf Bayersdörfer: The FEA team is working on the organization with great creativity and commitment. The focus is currently on the program and the supplementary events.

Düsseldorf is an ideal location with respect to the infrastructure. With the great support of a professional organizer and the goal of making the content framework interesting even for non-technical experts, I see a truly interesting and varied mixture in our future.

Innovations will mark the development. We want to inspire and provide the basis for an active network.

AEROSOL EUROPE: The 29th International Aerosol Congress of the FEA with exhibition, which should have been held this year in Istanbul, had to be canceled due to the uncertain political situation in Turkey. This was a painful, but correct decision. Your opinion?

Dr. Rolf Bayersdörfer: Yes, I think in the end this was the right decision.

I am very thankful to the Turkish association for its professional preparation and commitment. This was a very difficult decision for everyone who was involved in the organization. However, the increasing insecurity of the local situation finally caused us to cancel. We would not have been able to forgive ourselves if something had happened to even a single participant.

AEROSOL EUROPE: What goals have you set for yourself in the near future?

Dr. Rolf Bayersdörfer: On the regulatory side, we want to find the best solutions for the aerosol directive. New guidelines and standards will provide still more support for the aerosol industry and then naturally the focus of our organizational work will be on the FEA congress and exhibition.

Personally, I want to secure the future of our association work by ensuring a very high quality standard for the experts on our committees. In addition, it is important to develop new talent early. These people need to have the support of their companies to be available for work in the association.

The association work, this is my personal experience and conviction, represents an enrichment in many respects, so that I hope that I will be able to motivate new members to do it in the future.

AEROSOL EUROPE: Dr. Bayersdörfer, thank you very much for the conversation.