The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has called on pharmacists to personally commit to improving sustainability as part of its climate change charter.

Warning climate change is the ‘most significant health threat modern society has ever faced’, it joined up with the climate change campaigning organisation Pharmacy Declares to publish a charter yesterday (13 June) asking signatories to sign up to five sustainability commitments.

The charter asks any member of the pharmacy team to commit to:

  • Understand how human health and the systems which underpin it are reliant on the state of our natural environment.
  • Actively explore ways to make pharmacy practice and medicine use more sustainable.
  • Collaborate and share best practice to improve sustainability in pharmacy and healthcare.
  • Demonstrate leadership on sustainability or being a champion for sustainability at work.
  • Assist patients to optimise their medicine use to increase both health outcomes and environmental sustainability.

It also calls on individuals to commit to a personal action on climate change of their own choosing.

The charter says: ‘Climate change is the most significant health threat modern society has ever faced: it impacts human health and well-being in a myriad of ways, and reduces access to clean air, safe drinking water, food and shelter, increasing demand for health services.

‘As health professionals, the role for pharmacy teams is clear. You can start your sustainability journey and show your personal commitment by following our Climate Change Charter.’

The charter is also backed by the Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education, the Clinical Pharmacy Association, the Association of Pharmacy Technicians, One Healthcare Breakthrough Partnership, the College of Mental Health Pharmacy, the Neonatal and Paediatric Pharmacists Group and the Guild of Healthcare Pharmacists.

Laura Wilson, policy lead for sustainability at RPS, said it is ‘hugely positive to see so many organisations from across the pharmacy community already supporting the charter’.

She continued: ‘Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians have an important role to play in tackling climate change, having unique expertise in medicines and their use. We hope the charter will encourage pharmacy teams across the country to start really important conversations about how to address this issue.’

Tracy Lyons of Pharmacy Declares said: ‘We know that the very best pharmaceutical care is intricately tied to 'planetary health' and how much we as a profession can contribute towards optimising this. I'm hugely excited about the opportunity to showcase the climate-health leadership being shown by teams up and down the country.’

In February this year, The Pharmacist wrote an in-depth piece asking how important recycling efforts in the pharmacy sector are to improving sustainability.