The A.S. Watson Group has announced two initiatives which will see it reduce plastic waste, and use more sustainable palm oil to help protect the environment.
By joining the “New Plastics Economy Global Commitment Initiative”, the company will join forces with its business units to eliminate the unnecessary use of plastic and help lower plastic pollution at the source.
Since 2014, A.S. Watson has banned the use of micro plastics in its own rinse-off cosmetics and personal care scrub products. It took things a step further by removing all its brands and consumer-brand products that had micro plastics from its stores in January 2020.
The group will also eliminate unnecessary plastic by avoiding over-packaging and halving the polyvinyl chloride (PVC) use, with a complete ban on PVC by 2030; use a minimum of 20% recycled plastic content in plastic packaging by 2025; and promote packaging that is recyclable or reusable.
Another measure A.S. Watson Group has taken to reduce plastic waste has been its use of recycled PET (rPET) in its bottled water business since 2015. The brand further solidified its commitment to developing a circular economy for plastics in 2019 by launching the very first reverse vending machine to collect used plastic bottles in the city. Using economic incentives to encourage the public to utilise the reverse vending machines, it has now become a source of rPET raw materials for the brand.
Watsons Water, a brand of the A.S. Watson Group, estimates its 400 reverse vending machines will be able to provide enough rPET raw materials to cover the full production capacity of Watsons Water by 2030.
“We know our customers are increasingly aware of sustainability issues, and therefore, expect their chosen brands to share the same values as they do,” said Malina Ngai, group COO of the A.S. Watson Group and CEO of A.S. Watson (Asia and Europe).
“As the world’s largest international health and beauty retailer, we feel it is our responsibility to do more, so we are making a commitment to create a more sustainable environment and offer more sustainable product choices to our customers.”
Meanwhile, the company has taken a group membership with the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), an organisation promoting social and environmental compliance in the palm oil industry.
Two brands under the A.S. Watson Group – Kruidvat and Superdrug – have already used RSPO-certified palm oil in a selection of their products. A.S Watson is also reviewing its whole portfolio to identify other brands in the group that can be added to its commitment by the end of 2021.
“A.S. Watson is proud to enhance public awareness on sustainability issues by supporting two new important environmental initiatives,” Ngai said.
“We are delighted to take the lead in our industry to become the first health and beauty retailer to join the ‘New Plastics Economy Global Commitment Initiative’. We hope that more retail groups can also make these meaningful pledges so that together we can make our planet more sustainable.”