29 November 2021 - Deborah Wilkes
- GSCF launches Charter for Environmentally Sustainable Self-Care
- First global commitment from the consumer health industry to drive sustainable self-care
- Plastics and packaging one of three priority areas
- Voluntary and proactive action is essential
The Global Self-Care Federation (GSCF) has launched a Charter for Environmentally Sustainable Self-Care, which it describes as the “first global commitment from the consumer health industry to drive sustainable self-care”.
Commenting on the charter, the GSCF said the aim was to “reduce the impact of self-care products on the environment, while ensuring better health outcomes, product safety and access to effective treatment options”.
The GSCF is committed to developing guidance for its members on best practice; providing a platform for the exchange of information, ideas and innovation; and enriching dialogue with stakeholders.
The members of the GSCF – including consumer health companies and national industry associations – have made a number of commitments as part of the charter.
Three priority areas
The charter focuses on three priority areas where the consumer health industry has the greatest impact and influence – plastics and packaging, pharmaceuticals in the environment, and carbon dioxide footprint.
Commenting on plastics and packaging, the GSCF said its members had pledged to “reduce plastics and packaging wherever possible, striving for circular design in self-care products, from design to end-of-life”.
The charter states that companies will “explore partnerships across the value chain to innovate packaging solutions and improve recycling infrastructure”.
Moving on to pharmaceuticals in the environment, the GSCF said the industry continued to “take measures to reduce the presence of pharmaceuticals in the environment, which include promoting the safe disposal of unused medication for example via take-back schemes”.
The charter highlights the need to “actively manage and reduce effluent discharge from manufacturing plants”.
Commenting on carbon dioxide footprint, the GSCF said members and the broader industry were “adopting emissions reduction targets that accelerate the transition to the low carbon economy, in line with the Paris Agreement”.
Voluntary and proactive action
Judy Stenmark, director general of the GSCF, said voluntary and proactive action across the consumer health industry was “essential to find urgent, sustainable solutions to address the sector’s environmental impact”.
The GSCF said the Charter for Environmentally Sustainable Self-Care acknowledged that “sustainability and human health and wellbeing are inextricably linked”.
“The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that environmental stressors are responsible for 12%-18% of all deaths in the 53 countries of the WHO Europe Region,” noted the GSCF, adding: “Environmental pollutants are linked to respiratory illnesses, cancer, mental health conditions and minor ailments such as headaches and coughs.”
Jurate Svarcaite – director general of the Association of the European Self-Care Industry (AESGP) – said member companies had 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,” she added.