There is a raising awareness regarding environmental issues and ecology
Climate change, the safety of cosmetics and processed food products being in question, the new methods of corporate management, prove that "green growth" or "sustainable development", is a universal concern and revolves on three key pillars: economy, society and environment. It is therefore expected that "sustainable development" is slowly raising awareness among pharmacies as well.
How is society evolving in sustainable development and green economy?
People are looking for transparency and naturalness when it comes to products and stores. Two main issues led to this: climate change and the mass extinction of species.
The level of consumers’ maturity thus, creates a strong demand for "ecology" from all economic factors, in order to move towards a world that is a little more "sustainable" and “green”.
The environmental subject is the best known for sustainable development, but social issues are not left out.
But what is sustainable development?
According to the definition of the Brundtland Commission, it is the development that meets the needs of the current generation, without jeopardizing the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
It is the reason why companies adjust their actions to show their "ecological" efforts, starting a zero waste approach.
Today, specific goals have been set worldwide for sustainable development until 2030 by United Nations Member States namely Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which are an urgent call for action by all countries - developed and developing - in a global partnership.
Each nation need to engage in fulfilling these 17 goals as to enhance their activities in environmental and social issues.
Which are the policies that contribute to the promotion of sustainable development?
1st Selection of suitable products for sale
Many companies start with an environmentally friendly approach, choosing strictly the proper products available for sale. Consumers often do market research on product composition before deciding to buy them.
However, simultaneously, they do not want to waste much time on this search. So they choose to buy products from companies and stores that they trust, without getting into the process of worrying and looking for the quality of a product themselves. So customers set the bar high, demanding quality, transparency and consistency.
But even for a qualified and experienced pharmacist, assessing the composition of a product and choosing a qualitative supply remains complicated, as between many products of the same type, frequently, few are those that do not contain harmful to health ingredients.
Therefore, it is important to strengthen the essential role of pharmacist advice and guidance so as to become an inseparable part of new tactics if the pharmaceutical sector is willing to retain this unique role of informing public.
2nd Distinction between eco friendly products and wasteful merchandise
Many companies are committed to a sustainable development approach that does not just remain to the well-known claims of "paraben-free" or “silicone-free” we already know.
Depending on the case, companies design and produce organic products with recyclable packaging or ecological refills, but without rigid control and transparency.
Therefore, it is hard for pharmacists to act responsibly regarding to environmental consciousness, to know how each company works, if they are reliable, while they must constantly investigate the composition of products in order to be able to advise their customers.
Ultimately, the pharmacist must be well informed about products in their stores and make rigidly market research so as to decide whether products have ecological features.
3rd Use of ecological packaging
In recent years, packaging materials and techniques have become a real concern for consumers, especially for the young age.
Plastic packaging waste has a major impact on environmental pollution, which is why ecological packaging and recyclable materials are becoming a priority nowadays.
Therefore, companies that choose marketing their products through pharmacies, have shown further initiatives to reduce environmental impact, choosing ecological packaging, such as recyclable plastic, glass, inks, reusable bottles and paper boxes.
Ecological packaging is a commitment of every modern company. It is not an image issue but a substantive commitment. As a result, many companies are working on cutting-edge technology for their eco-friendly packaging.
4th “Zero waste” production
The solution for eliminating waste is to buy unpackaged or re-packaged products that can be refilled at the pharmacy store. In addition, companies tend to choose packaging that is 100% recyclable or made from recyclable plastic or paper.
How can pharmacists apply the principles of sustainable development?
Initially, pharmacies have to choose products made by manufactures that work with transparency.
In addition, it is urgent to favor products that are organic, certified and with environmentally friendly packaging.
Moreover, pharmacists should dispense their products in recyclable and paper bags and not plastic and at the same time they are able to instruct their customers not to throw away their bags but to reuse them. For the general public this is not something ordinary, but it is a necessary move.
Simultaneously, adopting sustainable development culture means changing the behavior on the pharmacy counter as a whole.
Pharmacists have to advise and incite customers on recycling drugs while the pharmacy store itself will have to sort all its waste. The use of LED lighting is also a practice of sustainable development.
At the same time, the management of pharmacy is an integral part of an ecological development. Actual involvement of pharmacists themselves and substantial change in administration and management of pharmacy and its employees is required.
Pharmacy employees need to be trained in checking on product ingredients, manufacturing techniques and also identifying recyclable packaging.
They also need to be constantly up-to-date, especially with regard to natural and organic products, where the customer, who is often very demanding, is waiting for a very specific advice.
Also, it is important pharmacists to choose appropriate working hours, avoiding unnecessary transportation of employees and to provide proper working conditions, improving life quality in workplace.
Finally, they can develop actions that contributes to the fulfillment of many of the 17 United Nations SGD and arrange projects to improve the results in the majority o goals so as to be substantial part of green economy and preservational growth.
The most important points
- A sustainable development approach affects the entire pharmacy activity, from selling products, to the way deliveries are managed, including team management.
- The pharmacists being aware on this issue are very few and entrepreneurial but have active role. They are realists and are moving step by step.
- Consumer expectations are much high and give special attention to the coherence of a company’s actions developed through transparency.
The most ordinary pharmacies actions
Pharmacies involved in a sustainable development culture are mainly concerned about:
The environment: sort waste, recycle waste, while educating customers about recycling habits, group their orders properly, avoiding many empty boxes ... Objective: limit the carbon footprint!
Society: promote organic, ethical, local, certified trademarks, transparent composition and packaging. Goal: to be able to explain why it is better, even when it is not perfect!
Their teamwork: combine working hours to avoid a lot of staff movement during day and train their employees in sustainable development methods and eliminated individual footprint... Objective: to improve the quality of work life!