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Why sustainability is everyone’s responsibility | Philstar.com
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Lifestyle

Why sustainability is everyone’s responsibility

Lai S. Reyes - The Philippine Star
Why sustainability is everyoneâs responsibility
Watsons employees at the Do Good Eco Tour with over 2,000 seedlings planted

MANILA, Philippines — Even before sustainability became a buzzword, leading health, wellness and beauty retailer Watsons Philippines had been at the forefront of impactful environmental practices that empowered communities, changed lives, and helped heal Mother Earth.

However, achieving environmental sustainability is not just Watsons’ responsibility. Due to the plethora of ways environmental degradation impacts life on Earth, sustainability should be every Juan’s priority.

And if we are to meet the United Nations’ climate goals in our current tight timeline, we need to work together.

Alisandrea Coloma, senior manager, sustainability, of Watsons

Let’s do good for our planet today

Through its “Sustainable Choices” program, Watsons empowers customers to make environmentally conscious decisions by providing a thoughtfully selected range of products that meet stringent sustainability criteria.

To further drive conversation and awareness about sustainable practices and the significance of the 3Rs — reduce, reuse, recycle — Watsons mounted the first “Reuse with Watsons: A Sustainability Art Exhibit” in June last year at Drybrush Gallery.

The artworks featured integrated plastic bottles, wrappers, papers, carton boxes, tissues, blister packs, metals, and other upcycled materials.

Also in 2023, Watsons conducted five “Alagang Pangkalusugang” medical missions, providing free medical consultations, blood tests, bone screenings, hearing checks, ECGs and X-rays.

AS Watson’s Next Gen Sustainability Committee and Watsons Philippines also jointly participated in a medical mission in the Philippines in October. With exclusive sponsorship from AS Watson, 60 patients received life-changing surgeries carried out by medical professionals from Operation Smile. Watsons Philippines’ goal is to perform 3,300 corrective surgeries on children with cleft conditions in the country alone by 2030.

Sharon Decapia, senior AVP for marketing, PR & sustainability of Watsons

Watsons 2024 sustainability initiatives

“This year, our thrust is to scale up the things that we’ve been doing in the past years,” says Sharon Decapia, senior AVP for marketing, PR and sustainability of Watsons. “We are committed to continue to drive the conservation and make sure everyone will be inspired and encouraged to take action.”

For 2024, Watsons Philippines will continue to uplift the three pillars of its sustainability program — People, Product and the Planet — through initiatives that will benefit the planet and the people who live in it.

Under its “People” pillar, Watsons has partnered with Punlaan School, a non-government institution (NGO) that caters to young women from underserved communities by providing essential training and education, to be the center for the Watsons Apprenticeship Program. Through this six-month program, young women are equipped with the skills needed for a successful career path with Watsons.

“This program, which we started last year, reflects Watsons commitment to support and create job opportunities for young women,” enthuses Decapia. “After finishing the program, these young girls will be hired by Watsons as pharmacists’ assistants. We started with 25 scholars. This year, the target is 400.”

Shoppers can also look forward to more Clean Beauty products, Refill Packs, and brands with Better Packaging.

The first batch of Watsons Pharmacy Assistant Apprentices in partnership with Punlaan School

“This year, we will also be rolling out recycling bins in stores. We piloted this initiative last year to eight stores. However, we realized that there’s an opportunity to engage our customers/shoppers to take part in our sustainability efforts,” shares Alisandrea Coloma, senior manager, Sustainability of Watsons. ”Sure, we can do so much as a company, but we can do so much more when we involve and engage our customers.”

Called “Recycle Forward,” the goal is to roll out recycling bins to 300 stores.

“So, shoppers go in, leave their empty bottles and in exchange, they get rewards from participating brands,” adds Coloma.

This year, Watsons will also unveil its first “Green Store” in Laguna.

“A ‘green’ store is a specific store that’s designed to be sustainable. Here, we will not just offer sustainable products, but showcase how a sustainable store should be. For one, it will be solar-powered,” shares Decapia.

Both Decapia and Coloma were excited to share that this year, Watsons Sustainability Art Competition is open to students.

“We’re targeting to launch the competition in universities and colleges nationwide,” Decapia says. “We’re giving them the venue to showcase their talent and deliver the message at the same time.”

Through all these initiatives, Watsons not only fosters a greener future but also inspires others to join the movement. Through education, advocacy, and leading by example, the company aims to inspire change and create a more sustainable world for generations to come.

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