How do cosmetics brands feel about China's crackdown on excess packaging?

Published: 21-Mar-2022

To what extent is the personal care sector unfazed by China’s new packaging standard promoting sustainability? Asks Dinah Gardner

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A new Chinese standard aimed at controlling excessive packaging that comes into force in September 2023 will be painful for the cosmetics sector in the short term, but will promote sustainability in the long run, say analysts.

China’s State Administration for Market Regulation’s China GB 23350-2021 ‘Requirements of Restricting Excessive Package – Foods and Cosmetics’, announced September 2021, is an amendment to existing standards released in 2009, and gives cosmetics and food companies two years to redesign their product presentation.

Failure to meet this new standard theoretically means products in non-compliant packaging cannot be made or sold in China.

Introducing the new rules

The revision, which targets 31 food and 16 cosmetics categories, is simpler and stricter than its 2009 version.

David Ettinger, Chief Representative of law firm Keller and Heckman’s Shanghai office, says the revised GB 23350 delivers “simplified yet more practical guidance to the industry”.

That – coupled with the two-year transition period – should help enterprises adjust.

“Although some companies may have to make substantial changes to their package design, there is a clear guide to follow and a comparatively longer period of time to plan for the transition,” adds Ettinger.

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