Aster Pharmacy transitions to zero-plastic over the last 3 years through incorporating 7.4 million paper bags for customers


January 11, 2024 | By RetailME Bureau

Introduced as a part of Aster DM Healthcare’s Green Choices initiative in 2020, Aster Pharmacy was one of the first pharmacy retail chains in the UAE to undertake zero-plastic efforts to reduce plastic pollution. The effort aligns with UAE’s Green Agenda 2023 which aims to reduce the country’s emissions to less than 100 kilowatts-hours.

Dubai’s significant move to ban single-use plastic bags and products from 1st January 2024 is aimed at minimizing the adverse impact of plastic waste on the environment and aligns with a global push for sustainable business practices that safeguard nature.

Aster Pharmacy, a part of the Aster DM Healthcare Group and a leading retail chain in GCC sees an annual footfall of 8.7 million people across its 230+ stores. Over the last five years, in alignment with the UAE Government’s efforts to reduce plastic pollution, Aster Pharmacy has undertaken efforts to introduce eco-friendly stores with interiors built with sustainable and recyclable materials. Efforts to replace plastic bags with recyclable paper bags are now complete with 7.4 million paper bags being used annually to serve customers. 

Dr. Azad Moopen, Founder and chairman of Aster DM Healthcare, said, “Our commitment to sustainability is deeply embedded in our corporate culture and driven by our ESG framework. As an organization, we have integrated 10 UN SDGs into our core operations which have resulted in a significant impact on sustainability and the environment over the last 5 years. In FY’23 alone with the integration of renewable energy, the company achieved a noteworthy reduction of 6,824 tCO2e reduction in net greenhouse gas emissions. We have been rated as the number 1 Healthcare Company in ESG by the rating Agency CRISIL among Indian Healthcare Companies last year. We are actively participating in sustainable practices in the various GCC countries in energy efficiency, waste disposal, and use of reusable alternatives. Over the past five years, we’ve gradually replaced plastic bags in Aster Pharmacies and plan to intensify these efforts going forward.”

Recognized for its ESG efforts, Aster holds the highest ESG ranking among listed healthcare companies in India and has earned a ‘Strong’ rating from CRISIL. Waste recycling for the year included 76,555 kilograms of plastic waste, 446,977 kilograms of paper waste, and 5,506 kilograms of e-waste. The organization’s waste management practices encompass various categories, including biomedical, plastic, food, metals, paper, and cardboard. Aster prioritizes waste segregation at the source, enabling efficient recycling of recyclable materials.

“At Aster, our efforts are always directed towards the adoption of innovative measures that can not only preserve the health of our patients and customers but also enhance the environment in which they live. The complete transition to paper bags and integration of sustainable materials into our interiors are part of our efforts to ensure that we provide a sustainable environment that supports the health and well-being of our esteemed customers, in line with our mission to deliver good health and well-being in every neighborhood that we operate in,” said Mr. N.S Balasubramanium, CEO of Aster Retail GCC.

Aster DM Healthcare’s unwavering commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility stands as a testament to its dedication to healthcare excellence while championing a cleaner, more sustainable future.

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