P&G and GSK are among companies to commit to reducing their plastics impact and CO2 emissions as part of a new charter on sustainable self-care

Over the counter medicines, food supplements, and self-care medical treatments will be subject to new efforts to curb the environmental impact of the consumer health products, following the launch of the industry’s first global pledge to deliver a more sustainable self-care sector.

The Global Self-Care Federation (GSCF) today announced it has launched the Charter for Environmentally Sustainable Self-Care, a framework to help the sector reduce the environmental impact of self-care products, while ensuring positive health outcomes, consumer safety, and access to effective treatment.

The GSCF represents associations and manufacturers in the self-care industry, including many of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical and consumer goods brands. Members of the group, including industry giants such as GSK, P&G, and Johnson & Johnson, have today made commitments under the Charter that are designed to deliver action in three priority areas: plastics and packaging, pharmaceuticals in the environment, and CO2 Footprint.

“Voluntary and proactive action across the consumer health industry is essential to find urgent, sustainable solutions to address the sector’s environmental impact,” said Judy Stenmark, director general at the GSCF. “That’s why I am very pleased to see the Charter come to fruition at a time when we are truly seeing a collective global movement from business to address sustainability, both through making tangible commitments and delivering on them. The Charter provides an ambitious platform for all our members globally to drive innovation in sustainability.”

The commitments made as part of the initiative are based on companies’ individual sustainability programs, and could include pledges to reduce plastics and packaging, take-back schemes to promote the safe disposal of unused medication, and the adoption of emissions reduction targets in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

The GSCF said the Charter also acknowledges the link between improved sustainability and human health, noting how environmental pollutants are linked to health risks ranging from respiratory illnesses, cancer, and mental health conditions to minor ailments such as headaches and coughs.

“Minimising the impact of self-care products on the environment while safeguarding access to effective treatment and well-being options for people is a critical issue for the consumer health industry,” said Jurate Svarcaite, director general at GSCF member Association of the European Self Care Industry. “Member companies have already embarked on the sustainability journey individually; with the Charter we establish a platform for good practice sharing and collaboration with an objective to create collective actions and move the needle forward.” 

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