Sustainability – Should your pharmacy stock sustainable products?

August 23, 2018By Focus on the Pharmacy Front End Blog, Independent Pharmacy, Step into Natural

by Jen Johnston, CHHC, senior marketing services account manager, for the Step into Natural blog series

Sustainable products are not always natural, and natural products are not always sustainable; however, the two often go hand in hand.
Just what is a sustainable product? In the food world, that might mean seafood that is caught or farmed in ways that consider the outlook for a species and the wellbeing of lakes or oceans. In the fashion world, that might mean clothing made from eco-friendly resources, such as sustainably grown fiber crops or recycled materials.

For the health, beauty, and wellness world, sustainable products can mean packaging from renewable resources, ingredients that are ethically sourced, or manufacturing processes that eliminate waste.

Last year, Forbes cited a Nielsen study that found 73% of global millennials will pay more for a product that is sustainable. Sustainable can mean a number of things to millennials, including trustworthiness, health/wellness, natural or organic, and environmentally friendly.Earth
In June of 2014, Nielsen reported that “four in 10 respondents in North America and Europe say they have made a sustainable purchase in the past six months.” My suspicion is that number has only grown in the four years since then.

Large retailers are beginning to recognize the importance of sustainable products for their customers. Target, for example, has a Sustainable Product Index (SPI) to assess products and rate them on different dimensions of sustainability that are important to their customers: ingredients, transparency, packaging, and stewardship.

You don’t have to be a large retailer to demonstrate to your customers that you care about the issues they care about. In your pharmacy, try highlighting products — especially personal care brands — that are sustainable on an endcap along with some signage and see if the turn rate increases. Consumers like sustainable products, but according to this article in Food Dive they don’t always notice sustainability on packaging, so gathering them in one place makes it easy for your shoppers to identify them.

If you’d like, you can take further steps by developing a formal, written commitment to not only supporting sustainable brands, but also incorporating more sustainable business practices. Take some tips from independent natural retailers that are looking at ways to cut their carbon footprint, use alternative energy sources, and participate in community outreach volunteering programs as cited in this New Hope Network article.

Then promote your commitment. It’s great to be green, but to attract new shoppers to your store, be sure to promote your new initiatives through public relations, advertisements, and of course, social media.