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Prime position to promote sustainability

Sustainable practices are on the rise as consumers vocalise their passion for environmentally friendly shopping. Now is the perfect time for pharmacies to take sustainable steps towards creating a greener pharmacy.

This month, we speak with those paving the sustainable pathway, with tips on how to reduce your carbon footprint.

“The climate crisis is one of the greatest issues of our time,” says WholeLife Pharmacy & Healthfoods Business Development Manager Alisha Gibson.

“We may have inherited a planet that needs fixing, but we now know more about the impact of our actions, so it’s everyone’s responsibility to do something about it.”

Ms Gibson continues: “It’s great that more people are becoming aware of the environmental issues we’re facing and how their behaviour on an individual level can make a difference.

“Recent research showed that nine in 10 [surveyed] Australians would prefer to purchase ethical and sustainable products.

“[However], they also want the brands they support to be more transparent about their practices.”

Directors of Hero Packaging, Anaita Sarkar and Vik Davé, discuss the roles that businesses now play in terms of sustainability.

They say the pressure is on businesses, now more than ever, to consider their corporate responsibility – “from reducing your carbon footprint, to recycling your plastics and reducing your energy and water consumption. What started off as a trend is now a basic requirement for all businesses – including pharmacies”.

Implementing sustainable practices is now known as just good business, the directors say: “By integrating sustainability into core business activities such as product design and procurement, businesses can achieve a range of benefits.

“These include improved reputation, market competitiveness by meeting customer or consumer expectations for responsible packaging, cost savings from more efficient packaging and transport logistics, and avoiding negatively publicity associated with packaging that it’s perceived to be ecologically damaging.”

Keeping up with cleaner, greener trends

More and more businesses are launching sustainable initiatives and coming up with production processes aimed at leaving the earth less disrupted.

Hero Packaging cites some of the brands the company has noted that are seeking to make a  greener difference.

“A couple that come to mind straight away are L’Oréal and Unilever,” the company said. “Unilever committed to halving its use of virgin plastic by reducing its absolute use of plastic packaging by more than 100,000 tonnes and accelerating its use of recycled plastic.

“L’Oréal has committed to reducing the amount of its packaging, with 100% of the plastic used in their packaging to come from recycled or bio-based sources by 2030.”

WholeLife’s Ms Gibson expands on the topic of using sustainable packaging for products.

“It’s encouraging to see that companies are recognising the consumer demand for environmentally friendly products and are making it their goal to be as sustainable as possible,” she says.

“Companies have also been doing more to help the environment in Australia and worldwide by supporting charities and organisations focused on sustainability and conservation.”

Hero Packaging adds that Ego Pharmaceuticals as well as Hero itself are founding members of the ANZPAC Plastics Pact, “which is a collaborative solution that brings together key players behind a shared vision of a circular economy for plastic, where plastic never becomes waste or pollution”.

Tips for a greener pharmacy

Ms Gibson calls on pharmacies to step up to the plate in supporting sustainable initiatives.

“I think pharmacies could make a more concerted effort when it comes to promoting sustainability,” she says.

“Sourcing more sustainable consumables, such as biodegradable bags, recycled paper and upcycled baskets for example, is an easy first step to showing your commitment.

“At WholeLife, we do a lot of research into the brands and suppliers we choose to work with, to ensure that wherever possible we’re providing sustainable options to our customers.”

Initiatives that the team at Hero Packaging has noted when it comes to other brands and businesses promoting sustainability include the ‘25by25’ campaign from ALDI, created to support the supermarket chain’s goal of reducing all plastic packaging by 25% by 2025.

This campaign, Hero says, was developed to engage, educate and inspire employees, suppliers, business partners and customers, on the importance of plastic reduction.

“The campaign was also launched with a sustainable packaging event for suppliers and business partners, followed by on-pack messaging, web and social media, catalogue and in-store marketing, as well as the company’s first ever public plastic and packaging progress report,” says Hero.

Ms Gibson says WholeLife seeks out brands committed to making sustainable choices.

“Initiatives from some of the brands we stock include going plastic free, upcycling products, using carbon neutral shipping, responsible farming and sourcing of ingredients, using recycled products, and launching biodegradable product ranges,” she says.

For more and to read the feature in full as it appears in the September issue of Retail Pharmacy Assistants e-magazine, visit: rpassistants.com.au/magazines/retail-pharmacy-assistants-september-2021/