A Conversation with Gilles Baudin, President of the European Aerosol Federation, FEA (Brussels/Belgium)(premium)

AEROSOL EUROPE: Mr. Baudin, first of all, congratulations to you on your election as the new president of the European Aerosol Federation, FEA! We wish you a lot of success in your new position! What will be the focus during your term as FEA president?

Gilles Baudin: First of all, I would like to thank Rolf Bayersdörfer, my predecessor, for his outstanding contribution during the last nine years.

My focus will be to ensure that the voice of the aerosol industry continues to be heard in Europe and beyond.

As FEA, our values remain to work towards achieving sustainable economic growth by focusing on social and environmental responsibilities. This dedication is enabled by the high level of expertise of its wide range of members, representing the whole value chain of the aerosol industry.

The FEA Global Aerosol Events also play a pivotal role for global and local actors to exchange on these industry values.

AEROSOL EUROPE: What is the present situation of the European aerosol industry? Can you also please give us some production figures?

Gilles Baudin: The aerosol industry is growing steadily. The latest FEA Statistics Report shows that European aerosol product manufacturing reached a new record high with more than 5.7 billion units, more than half of which are personal care products. United Kingdom, Germany and France continue to be the main filling countries.

The aerosol industry is in good shape to continue meeting consumers’ expectations and coping with sustainability challenges through innovation.

AEROSOL EUROPE: From your point of view: What topics will be especially important for our industry in the near future?

Gilles Baudin: There are some hot topics like the next adaptation of the Aerosol Dispensers Directive related to plastic aerosols, the circular economy including recycling, several classification and labelling issues. The uncertainties related to Brexit are of high concern but not specific to the aerosol industry.

AEROSOL EUROPE: Are there any issues that need to be discussed urgently in the European aerosol industry?

Gilles Baudin: In my opinion, the most urgent actions are related to recycling, to close the loop of the circular economy.

Due to the new mandatory higher recycling rate for packaging waste, it is likely that the recycling of aerosols will be discussed or re-discussed in several countries. Most of the studies related to the safe recycling of aerosols date from the nineties. They remain valid, but authorities might question whether additional studies are needed.

AEROSOL EUROPE: What do you think about the European aerosol industry when you think of the discussions surrounding BREXIT?

Gilles Baudin: As I said, the uncertainties related to Brexit are of high concern but not specific to the aerosol industry. Businesses will have to adapt to the political decisions that will be made.

At the FEA level, our UK association BAMA will continue to contribute to the common efforts to maintain a strong and sustainable aerosol industry in Europe. We are and will remain united.

AEROSOL EUROPE: Harmonization and standardization is always an issue. In brief what is the situation in Europe right now?

Gilles Baudin: Standardization is not a sexy topic but is crucial. The FEA standardization working group is very active. Both EN and FEA standards continue to evolve as needed by the aerosol industry. FEA also works with its sister associations worldwide to harmonize certain standards.

AEROSOL EUROPE: In a globalized world, the cooperation of national associations is enormously important. Can you give our readers a rough “update” on this?

Gilles Baudin: Cooperation is key at two levels: among the national associations in Europe, but also with the other associations worldwide. The main purposes are anticipation of adverse situations, coping with the concerns and turning threats into opportunities. Mutual understanding and speaking with one voice are then of utmost importance to achieve these goals.

AEROSOL EUROPE: In which segment of the aerosol production in Europe do you see growth potential in the near future?

Gilles Baudin: An aerosol dispenser is a modern, healthy and flexible packaging. There is growth potential in each segment! Brand owners need to continue meeting users’ expectations in both industrial, professional and consumer applications. And we have technologies that allow us to do this in a sustainable way.

AEROSOL EUROPE: Are there any trends in Europe regarding aerosols?

Gilles Baudin: The main trends regarding aerosols will follow the main trends of consumers.

At the recent FEA Global Aerosol Events in Düsseldorf, Euromonitor provided the top three megatrends shaping the aerosol industry: experience more, healthy living and ethical living, as well as key takeaways. 

AEROSOL EUROPE: In general, how do you see the future of the aerosol product?

Gilles Baudin: Bright. As any industry we have challenges, but the aerosol industry has already demonstrated its ability to innovate to convert its threats into opportunities. However, there is no time for complacency in this ever faster changing world.

AEROSOL EUROPE: Mr. Baudin, we thank you for this interview.