Charter for Environmentally Sustainable Self-Care


GSCF launched the Charter for Environmentally Sustainable Self-Care, the first industry-wide climate action resolution issued by the consumer health sector. By promoting best practices and advising on regulatory standards, the Charter seeks to minimize environmental impacts, without compromising on health outcomes, product safety and access to consumers.

On 25 November 2021, the significance of the Environmental Charter was discussed at the annual AESGP Regulatory Conference, with contributing voices from industry and international development organizations. The full recording can be viewed here.

The Environmental Sustainability Charter calls on members of GSCF to commit to concrete pledges addressing the three priority areas: ‘Plastics & Packaging’, ‘Pharmaceuticals in the Environment’ and ‘CO2 Footprint’.

Proper packaging is essential to ensuring over-the-counter (OTC) products meet quality and safety standards to protect the health of consumers. Without compromising on this critical function of packaging, the Charter firstly encourages members to reduce plastics in packaging wherever feasible, promotes the adoption of circular design principles, redefining products from design to end-of-life, and proactively working with partners across the value chain to innovate packaging solutions and improve recycling infrastructure. 

Manufacturing of medicines involves chemical processes that often has a direct impact on the environment. Pillar 2 seeks to address the issue of pharmaceuticals in the environment (PiE), specifically active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), while safeguarding access to effective self-care products and treatments for consumers. Some examples of measures to reduce the presence of APIs include actively managing and reducing effluent discharge from manufacturing plants, promoting the safe disposal of pharmaceuticals and take-back schemes.

Finally, the Charter encourages its members to reduce their CO2 footprint in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement. While many members already have emissions targets in place for scope 1 (direct) and scope 2 (indirect) emissions, the Charter goes one step further by addressing the elusive but more significant scope 3 emissions, those indirect emissions caused by the entire value chain of the industry. A framework is provided to measure, report and reduce scope 3 emissions, and identifying high emitting carbon hotspots.

Post-launch workstreams objectives

Signatories of the Charter have been working on the following objectives regarding two main workstreams:

Blister packs

  • Development of a roadmap for blister packs - transitioning to newer recycle ready blister generation.
  • Investigation of waste management and global recycling streams.
  • Mapping relevant international standards on recycled content in blister packs.

Supply chain

  • Defining common criteria for supplier evaluation.
  • Providing guidance to suppliers on best practices on data gathering & calculations regarding greenhouse gases emissions through a dedicated tool.
  • Engaging with a broader audience (e.g. suppliers, pharmaceutical industry, organizations involved in supply chains) to further create a community using this tool."

Check out the progress reports to see what the first signatories have been working on since the launch of the Charter as well as the new commitments:

First Edition - One-Year Progress Report

Second Edition - Two-Year Progress Report

The health care sector can make progress on Environmental sustainability through collective action. We invite interested companies and associations from the healthcare sector to pledge to the GSCF charter. Your organization may choose to support one or more areas as appropriate and reflective of your journey along the environmental continuum. Commitments in the pledges can be showcased qualitatively or quantitatively. Association members commit to promote the charter to their members. Should your organization wish to commit to the GSCF charter or joining one or more of the post-launch workstreams, please contact:

Dr Padma Kamath

Director, Regulatory & Scientific Affairs

Global Self-Care Federation

[email protected]