Sustainability in consumer health, an interview with Perrigo

The COVID-19 pandemic increased our collective focus on mental health and well-being. Yet, the topic is not new for consumer healthcare company Perrigo. On the contrary; for several of its brands, Perrigo is already addressing mental well-being in its communications and campaigns, even beyond a product focus. This approach is part of the company’s commitment to do good for people, planet, and society.

In this interview, Joeri Van den Bergh connects with Fleur D’Haenens, Global Category Lead Skincare, and Tom van Avondt, Director Consumer and Market Intelligence at Perrigo. Together, we’ll explore what sustainability means for the company, and we’ll deep dive into the topic of mental health and well-being.


Q: Sustainability is a broad topic. What does it mean to Perrigo, as a consumer healthcare company?

Fleur: “At Perrigo, we are convinced that with smart strategy and a collective effort, we can make lives better. What we do has an impact on planet and society. So we try to create awareness around this. We focus on product categories/ brands and various aspects of sustainability, depending on what’s important for the consumer. Within our derma cosmetics category, for instance – we know we need to ensure that our products are gentle to the skin and kind to the environment. And in other categories, we might pay more attention to packaging from a sustainability point of view.”

Tom: “We look at sustainability from a broad perspective, beyond the core of our products. A nice illustration of this is how our UK smoking cessation brand, NiQuitin, partnered with the British Lung Foundation. We collaborated on initiatives to raise awareness on the impact of air pollution on people’s lungs and overall health. By going beyond the core of our products and even beyond our core target group – as the initiatives are not targeting smokers only – we try to make an impact and do good for society.“


Q: The topic of mental health and well-being – accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic – is gaining in importance. Is this on Perrigo’s sustainability agenda?

Tom: “This is a topic that we address on a corporate level – via fundraising for initiatives such as World Mental Health Day – but also on a brand level. In Poland, for example, already in 2012, we launched ‘the Academy of Puberty’ with Lactacyd, our intimate hygiene and care brand. This platform is targeted at young girls, their parents and schools. It contains relevant information and content that goes beyond female hygiene. Think for instance body confidence and body positivity, which are closely linked to mental health and well-being. We create this content in close collaboration with psychologists, gynaecologists, and key opinion leaders; by now we are running partnerships with more than 2,000 schools. By doing this, we want to show that Perrigo understands the life challenges of our target group and supports them. Even when it’s not core to the category.”


Fleur: “Another example is what we did for our derma-cosmetics brand ACO in the Nordics with the ‘My skin won’t stop me campaign. We know skin health is strongly related to self-esteem. So, with this campaign we wanted to lift what isn’t always visible on the surface, but often felt on the inside. The six women featured in the campaign each had their insecurities – think acne, rosacea, pigmentation. They accentuated these with colorful paint, truly reflecting how they feel. The message we want to bring towards consumers is that ‘it’s all OK, just love your skin’. So, of course we talk about our products. But we start with this powerful message that ‘there are good days and there are bad days, and it’s fine’. I think it’s a nice approach, to bring this aspect of mental well-being out in the open.

These initiatives show that we look at sustainability in a broader perspective. Not only directed at a brand, a product, or packaging, but really at what impacts consumers. Credibility is key here. It’s at the core of any sustainability topic.”

In summary, it’s the consumer that drives Perrigo’s sustainability approach. By addressing those topics that matters to consumers the most, the company wants to do good for people, planet, and society. Thereby Perrigo goes beyond a focus on its brands and products, to create true impact.


Hungry for more? Stay tuned as we will release more ‘Conscious Consumption’ interviews in the coming weeks!

Conscious Consumption

Conscious Consumption

Sustainability is a key concern amongst consumers, and this has only increased with the COVID-19 pandemic. This bookzine highlights some of the key barriers amongst consumers as well as their expectations towards brands, through proprietary research, expert interviews with sustainability executives from several industries, and brand illustrations.

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