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  • GSK Consumer Healthcare leads oral care industry with launch of its first carbon neutral toothbrush

    Published on September 6, 2021

    New Delhi: GSK Consumer Healthcare (GSKCH), the world-leading consumer healthcare business, whose brands include Sensodyne, parodontax, Voltaren and Advil, is contributing to raising sustainability standards in the oral care industry with its first carbon neutral toothbrush.

    GSKCH, which is due to separate into a new company next year, has found an innovative way to leverage renewable raw materials for high-performance oral care products – helping reduce the use of fossil fuels for virgin plastic. The company is piloting this with its Dr.BEST Green Clean toothbrush, which builds new sustainable handle technology onto its previous innovations with sustainable bristles and packaging.

    • The Dr. BEST Green Clean toothbrush handle is made from renewable cellulose and ‘tall oil’ – a wood-based bioplastic that is derived from pine, spruce, and birch trees in sustainable forests, and is being applied in oral care for the first time by GSKCH. It is a by-product of paper production and would otherwise be disposed of.

    • The bristles are made of 100% renewable castor oil (already used in GSKCH’s Aqua fresh and Dr. BEST bamboo brushes).

    • The product’s 100% plastic free packaging includes GSKCH’s innovative cellulose window (which is also made with renewable cellulose. The packaging can be completely disposed of through a wide range of municipal recycling schemes.

    • GSKCH has formed a partnership with Climate Partner, Europe’s leading solution provider for corporate climate action, to analyses and minimize the carbon impact of the product and its manufacturing – reducing the carbon footprint of the brush by over 50% compared to the standard Dr. BEST toothbrush. The remaining footprint is offset through a community-based Climate Partner project in Madagascar. With offsetting being a secondary measure to the avoidance and reduction of carbon impact, GSKCH scientists are exploring ways to achieve carbon neutrality without offsetting in future oral care launches.

    GSKCH’s Dr. BEST is Germany’s favourite manual toothbrush brand. The company – which holds an ambition to become the world’s most sustainable toothbrush manufacturer – already has global plans to apply the technology across other toothbrushes in its portfolio – including in its market leading Sensodyne brand. It is working hard to increase the development of sustainable options across its oral care portfolio in recognition of growing global consumer preference for more sustainable products. A recent Nielsen study showed that “73% of consumers say they would definitely change their consumption habits to reduce their environmental impact.”

    The launch of the carbon neutral toothbrush is another step in GSKCH’s ongoing sustainability journey in oral care, which began with rollout of its first sustainably grown bamboo toothbrushes in September 2020 in Europe. This March it launched its first plastic-free toothbrush packaging, which included Sensodyne Pronamel and parodontax brushes in the US. Asia Pacific rollout of this commenced in Australia.

    Gareth Rudduck, Oral Care Sustainability Lead, GSK Consumer Healthcare said:

    “We’re proud to have led the growth of the oral care category globally, applying our trusted science to build awareness of preventable oral care conditions and drive better oral care habits. We’re now collaborating with retailers and dental healthcare professionals to drive the growth of more sustainable options in oral care products across the world. Whilst this product achieves carbon neutral status by offsetting, we are working to develop future solutions that do not require offsetting. It’s just one part of our ongoing sustainability journey, in which we’re working to address the environmental and societal barriers to everyday health.”

    The new carbon neutral toothbrush is part of GSK CH’s overall mission to reduce the carbon it generates.

    The company has a two-pronged approach to carbon reduction. Firstly, it is reducing energy through more efficient manufacturing systems (including energy efficient lights, heating systems, and motors; and the switching off power when feasible). Secondly, it is investing in renewable energy for GSKCH sites – with a commitment for all to use 100% renewable energy by 2025. It is also working closely with suppliers to reduce the amount of carbon content in all its materials and reducing the overall amount of plastic used across the product portfolio.

    While it remains a part of GSK, GSKCH’s sustainability initiatives support GSK’s companywide commitment to achieve a net zero impact on climate and a positive impact on nature by 2030, announced by CEO Emma Walmsley in November 2020.