Socio-economic contribution of the European cosmetics industry

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The vast majority of Europe’s 500 million consumers use cosmetic and personal care products contributing to well being and healthy lifestyles, and positive self-esteem every day. Ranging from antiperspirants, fragrances, makeup and shampoos, to soaps, sunscreens and toothpastes, cosmetics play an essential role in all stages of our life.

The cosmetics industry makes a significant social and economic contribution to the European economy. The European cosmetics market is valued at 77 billion Euros, making Europe the largest market for cosmetic products in the world.

Trade is a critical component, with trade in cosmetic products and ingredients exceeding 33 billion Euros. 17.2 billion Euros cosmetic products are exported from Europe. Exports are particularly important in countries strongly affected by the Euro crisis, where the cosmetics sector is helping to secure national economic recovery.

The strength of the entrepreneurial cosmetics industry lies in the mix of both big and small companies. There are 4605 SMEs in Europe and the number is growing.

The industry supports at least 2 million jobs across the European value chain, with 56% women and 44% men being employed in the cosmetics industry.

Science drives the industry with more than 26000 scientists  being employed in the sector, covering a diverse range of scientific disciplines. Companies operating in the cosmetics industry frequently collaborate with other organizations when they undertake research, where this includes European universities, scientific research institutes, NGOs and start-ups. Total expenditure on R&D in Europe is estimated at 1.27 billion Euros.

The industry places a strong emphasis on ensuring corporate social and environmental responsibility and supporting proactive voluntary and self-regulatory initiatives. The provision of responsible consumer information through the 2012 Cosmetics Europe Charter and Guiding Principles on advertising and marketing communication shows the commitment of the industry to standards for responsible cosmetics advertising in Europe. The industry has also undergone its first independent audit conducted by the European Advertising Standards Alliance (EASA) in 2014/15. The results showed a high compliance level, with 91% of the advertisements of cosmetic products in compliance with all relevant advertising codes/laws.

In view of the public debate and concerns expressed over plastic debris in the marine environment, and given the availability of alternative materials, Cosmetics Europe recommended its membership in October 2015 to discontinue in wash-off cosmetic products placed on the market as of 2020: The use of synthetic, solid plastic particles used for exfoliating and cleansing that are non-biodegradable in the marine environment.

Cosmetics Europe is the European trade association representing the interests of the cosmetics industry. Its membership consists of 27 national associations of the EU Member States and beyond, 16 major international companies, four supporting association members, three supporting corporate members and three correspondent members associated members. Cosmetics Europe represents more than 4500 companies throughout the EU via the active representation of its member national associations.

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