AS Watson Group Pledges to Reduce Its Plastic Waste and Support the Use of Sustainable Palm Oil

Thursday July 2nd, 2020

AS Watson Group has announced to take on further responsibility for environmental sustainability by being the first health and beauty retailer to sign-up to the New Plastics Economy (NPE) Global Commitment to reduce plastic waste. It also has taken a Group membership with the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) to help address the environmental impact of palm oil.

With its long-term commitment towards sustainability, the Group has been driving a wide range of sustainability initiatives across different markets to strengthen two core goals to its 2030 Group Sustainability Roadmap – better waste management and more responsible Exclusive Brand products.

Malina Ngai, Group COO of AS Watson Group and CEO of AS Watson (Asia & Europe), said, “We know our customers are increasingly aware of sustainability issues and therefore expect their chosen brands to share the same values as they do. 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.”

LESS Plastic, LESS Waste
A Complete Ban on PVC by 2030
By participating in the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment initiative, AS Watson will join forces with its business units to eliminate unnecessary plastic and to help reduce plastic pollution at the source.

To help tackle the serious issue of microplastic pollution, since 2014, AS Watson has banned the use of microplastics in its rinse-off Exclusive Brand cosmetics/personal care scrub products. This ban extended to all Exclusive Brand and consumer brand products sold in all stores by January 2020.

AS Watson has also been using 100% recycled PET (rPET) in its bottled water business since 2015, making Watsons Water the first producer to use recycled plastic in Hong Kong. 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 estimates that the 400 Green Point Smart Water Bottle Reverse Vending Machines are able to provide enough rPET raw materials to cover the full production capacity of Watsons Water by 2030.

In terms of packaging for its Exclusive Brand products, by signing up the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, AS Watson Group has pledged that it will:

  • Eliminate unnecessary plastic by avoiding over-packaging and halving PVC use, with a complete ban on PVC by 2030
  • Use a minimum of 20% recycled plastic content in plastic packaging by 2025, if the supply of recycled plastic permits it
  • Promote packaging that is recyclable or reusable

Committed to Using More Sustainable Palm Oil

As part of its commitment to promote responsible Exclusive Brand products, AS Watson has taken a Group membership with the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil, a leading organisation promoting social and environmental compliance in the palm oil industry.

Kruidvat and Superdrug have already taken the lead in using RSPO certified palm oil in a selection of their Exclusive Brand products. The Group is currently reviewing its whole Exclusive Brand portfolio to identify other brands that can be added to its commitment by the end of 2021.

“AS Watson is proud to enhance public awareness on sustainability issues by supporting two new important environmental initiatives. 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. We hope that more retail groups can also make these meaningful pledges so that together we can make our planet more sustainable,” Ngai added.