Surging consumer demand for sustainable products has prompted Hong Kong-headquartered health & beauty retailer Watsons to aggregate more than 1600 products into a Sustainable Choices category available both in physical stores and online.
A trial curation of sustainable products earlier this year saw sales of some products increase by 300 per cent.
“This indicates clearly that customers are looking for sustainable products, hence it’s our mission to make them available and easy to browse for,” said AS Watson CEO for Asia and Europe, Malina Ngai.
“Many customers started to rethink their priorities due to the pandemic and they’re very much aware of the impact their choices have on the environment and society. We’ve been working closely with our strategic supplier partners to offer a wide range of Sustainable Choices products – everything from skincare to shampoo – making it easier for customers to make purchase decisions that contribute to a better world for all.”
Brand partners in the initiative include Beiersdorf, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Kao, L’Oreal, Procter & Gamble, Reckitt, Shiseido and Unilever.
The products are ranged in a dedicated Sustainable Choices section in stores and online. AS Watson told Inside Retail that the 1600+ products fit into one of four “pillars”: Clean Beauty, Refill, Better Ingredients, and Better Packaging.
A Clean Beauty brand is recognised by Watsons for using ingredients consumers trust will protect you, with additional environmental benefits and which support the local community.
In the refill pillar, products come with refill packs or in-store refilling stations to enable customers to keep using the original container.
Better Ingredients means the products’ manufacturers have chosen sustainable options in paper, sourced palm oil from “responsibly managed plantations” or have reduced plastic content in non-formulated products.
For Better Packaging, manufacturers must have chosen “better plastic” – such as recycled plastics – or a paper that has been sustainably sourced.
AS Watson has signed up to the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment to reduce plastic waste and has taken group membership of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil to help address the environmental impact of palm oil sourcing.
“We want to build a sustainable mindset and behaviour together with our customers in their daily personal care and beauty needs. It’s the start of an exciting journey of a three-way partnership with our strategic supplier partners and our customers to make an impact,” said Ngai.
“The initial customer response is hugely encouraging, and we’re sure our customers will love our wider range of sustainable products.”
Meanwhile, Procter & Gamble has partnered with Watsons Hong Kong in a three-year commitment to reward customers with free gifts in return for bringing in empty personal-care plastic bottles from any brand for recycling. This program, called Plastic Reborn has already led to the recycling of 3400kg of plastic since February.
At Watsons Thailand stores, customers can recycle PET plastic bottles at a Garnier Refun Machine, earning a free Garnier Pink Micellar Water in return.