It is hard to imagine how a person’s decision to forego single-use plastic or buy a product with an “eco-friendly” tag creates a significant impact in the fight against climate change. It is, after all, a global issue involving millions of people. One piece of plastic doesn’t make much damage, right?
While the problem is large-scale, climate change experts say individual action – which may seem irrelevant – does make a difference, good or bad.
“Every act matters; it all accumulates,” said Philippine Climate Change Commission commissioner Rachel Herrera.
In 2016, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation predicted that there will be more plastic than fish in oceans by 2050. That was before the pandemic and all the plastic that came with it. As the war against a virulent disease continues, another war is happening – has been for a long time – and people are urged not to look the other way.
“Climate change is not just an issue for the future but an urgent issue today. We must do good now; this is the only time we can act for the planet that we have,” Watsons public relations and sustainability director Viki Encarnacion said during the virtual launch of Watsons Philippines’ sustainability program.
The launch of “Do Good” campaign is part of the 180th anniversary of its parent company, A.S. Watson Group. In keeping with ASW’s commitment to sustainability, Watsons Philippines’ program “pledges to restore thousands of perfect smiles through life-changing free surgeries to kids with cleft palate, to reduce tons of carbon dioxide emissions, and to offer more sustainable choices in stores”.
As the leading beauty and wellness retailer in the country with over 900 stores nationwide plus online reach via its website, Watsons sees the opportunity to work together with consumers by offering sustainable products – one of the four pillars of the Do Good campaign.
The retailer highlights in stores products that are “clean” (non-toxic, no forbidden ingredients), “cruelty-free” (don’t involve animal testing at any point in the production process), “green” (made in eco-friendly way), and “natural” (made exclusively from botanicals or contain a percentage of plant-derived ingredients).
“We have specific areas in the stores indicating ‘Sustainable Choices and Clean Beauty’, including a Sustainable Choices button on our website to make it easier for consumers to see which product supports this goal,” Jared De Guzman, senior assistant vice president of Global Own Brand and Exclusives at Watsons Philippines, told Manila Standard.
Herrera welcomes such initiative as this that offers consumers choices that are good for them and the environment. She said, “There is a clamor for more sustainable products, more choices.”
“So far, efforts to reduce warming of the planet focuses on the supply side. Equally important is your personal choice. It all starts with the decisions that we make daily,” Herrera said, adding, “It is not every day that big brands come up with opportunities to take the lead in doing good and encourage its customers and partners to engage in meaningful climate action.”
Making the planet and people smile
Also part of Watsons Do Good campaign is its commitment to reducing carbon footprint by collecting 65,000 kilograms of trash via Trash for Cash program and 40 million plastic bottles. The retailer vows to invest in programs that offset carbon dioxide emissions and in alternative energy sources.
Much like how its founder, Alexander Skirving Watson provided free medicines to the needy, Watsons will be offering the same as well 3,300 free cleft palate surgeries – the third pillar of the program.
The last pillar is dedicated to its employees, as the company promises to maintain a healthy and sustainable workforce.
“Watsons has always been at the forefront of sustainability since its founding 180 years ago. In recent years, we’ve invested in various initiatives that take our commitment to the planet that sustains us all,” shared Watsons general manager Danilo Chiong.
As Herrera simplifies the ways an individual can help – “eating sustainably, advocating for the people and the environment, repairing and refilling instead of buying, turning down plastic, and helping organizations that do good for the planet like Watsons” – she highlights that it must be a collective effort to truly make a difference.
“At the end of the day, we are more effective at doing good if we do it together.”