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Sustana x Familiprix


For this edition of our continuing series “Conversations with Green Champions,” Sustana Chief Commercial Officer, Philip Rundle, speaks to Anabelle Dubé, Sustainable Strategic Advisor at Familiprix, one of Canada’s largest groups of independent pharmacies.

At Familiprix, caring for people means caring for the planet.

Since 2018, Familiprix has been leading the way for sustainable practices in pharmacies. In this article, Anabelle talks about why the 40-year-old network chooses to prioritize making an eco-responsible shift, how it is implementing its sustainability strategy across its over 400 pharmacies and how collaborating with Sustana has been crucial to Familiprix’s sustainability efforts.

Familiprix is a network of affiliated pharmacies across Quebec and New Brunswick.

  • Familiprix is the only banner in Quebec to be 100% owned by its pharmacists.
  • There are more than 425 Familiprix locations across QC and NB employing over 6,000 people.
  • Since 2018, Familiprix has been dedicated to adopting more eco-friendly business practices. Its overall sustainability strategy plan is broken down into four sustainable development initiatives – a healthy planet, products for overall well-being, local people, and a humane approach to connected services.

Sustainability is not typically top of mind for pharmacies. What does sustainable action look like at Familiprix?

Many would say that when they think of a pharmacy, they think of plastic laboratory containers and extensive packaging for medications. Familiprix has a unique role to play in reimagining the pharmaceutical packaging that we sell as well as the packaging of our own brands. For example, we eliminated plastic water bottles of 750 ml or less as well as plastic bags before it was mandated by provincial laws. We are also conscious of waste management at our warehouses and seek to recycle the packaging materials we have there.
We focus on sustainable initiatives that aren’t as visible to our customers. For example, transportation is critical to getting our products to the right places but is also a major contributor to carbon emissions. To address this, we ensure that we are maximizing the capacity of the trucks we drive to reduce unnecessary mileage as well as adding electric vehicles to our fleet. Such initiatives are just as important as the more obvious ones – such as eliminating plastic bottles – to ensure we are having the greatest impact.

Familiprix recently made an eco-conscious shift in its strategic planning. How do your core values relate to sustainability and why have you made a commitment to sustainability as a pharmacy?

A central value of Familiprix is the importance of human health and the health of the planet. In 2018, we decided to prioritize the health of the planet, recognizing that this intersects and is inseparable from our health. This dictates the direction of our sustainable efforts and initiatives that we take. Moreover, this is why we strongly believe that we have a key role to play in educating patients about taking care of themselves and taking care of the planet.
We believe in sustainable efforts that involve supporting our community. We seek to take on a multilevel role in our community, notably through causes that we hold close to our hearts. For example, we have been involved with Opération Enfant Soleil, a local organization that supports the development of youth in Quebec, for over 30 years. As a result of our significant contributions to the organization, we received a Diamond certification from Opération Enfant Soleil in 2018.

What have been some of the challenges you’ve faced in implementing sustainable initiatives?

One of the key challenges we face is deploying and implementing our sustainable efforts across our entire network of independent pharmacies, each with its unique factors. To address this, we work in phases to deploy and implement our sustainable initiatives. We are constantly revising and reevaluating our existing programs to ensure we are staying up-to-date and relevant. And we work closely with our strategic partners to give our existing programs the best chances to succeed.

How has collaborating with Sustana helped bring your sustainable vision to life?

Sustana is a great partner with a wide range of product offerings, such as the Sustana EnviroTM paper grades, which are all 100% recycled and recyclable. We continue to do a lot of printing and Sustana has been a great partner in this process, guiding us throughout it from beginning to end. From product to advice and data insights, Sustana provides us with the complete clean materials solution we need. Data is critical to understanding the outcome of our sustainable efforts and Sustana has been invaluable here.

As the world is becoming increasingly digitalized, can you explain why you remain committed to printing, including calendars and holiday gift guides?

We have an important role to play in everything that touches health across all age demographics, from the youth to the elderly, and we have to adapt our approach based on our different clients. This is why the printed documents that we distribute are invaluable in terms of health and the environment. All printed materials that we distribute have a well-thought-out purpose and design. Nothing is a one-and-done. We ensure that our documents printed on Sustana papers remain in use and can educate our consumers on important topics. For example, our calendars are a printed asset that remains in use for a whole year and can have a daily use for our customers. In addition, we distribute printed guides on various health topics, such as how to care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s. These materials are important to have on hand and can be referenced regularly, which is why printing them makes sense. Through this, we are hoping to educate and inform our customers on how to take care of aging loved ones. This is something that can help support an entire family. Our printed holiday gift guides are also designed with a similar intent. Through these guides, we hope to educate our customers on selecting more eco-friendly and sustainable products or choosing from our products that are part of our ethical beauty line.

You’re in the midst of executing your sustainable strategy. Can you share your future plans for further enhancing sustainable initiatives across Familiprix pharmacies?

We always seek to focus on the goals that will have the greatest impact. First, we want to continue expanding our sustainable product offerings and make them even more accessible to our customers. We also want to continue supporting our pharmacies in becoming greener, in part by providing them with more electric fleets, greater access to EV charging stations and making their facilities more sustainable.
Beyond that, we are continuously seeking to improve our sustainability practices at our headquarters, notably by focusing on the packaging of our brands and our waste-reduction strategies.

In your mind, what makes Familiprix an environmental leader and what are you most proud of having achieved at Familiprix?

Personally, I’m proud not only of the sustainable initiatives we have undertaken but also of the educational aspects of our initiatives. We know we’re not perfect, but we have a lot of ambition and we’re ready to put our ambitious plans into action. We are the first in the industry to put such a large focus on sustainability and take so many initiatives. Therefore, I think that we can consider ourselves as an industry leader in sustainability.

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