Sandrine Milante

A Canadian leader in sustainable development, EcoloPharm specializes in the design and manufacture of eco-designed packaging for pharmacies. Today, EcoloPharm is one of the largest manufacturers of prescription drug packaging products in the country.

Tell us about yourself?

After graduating with a master’s degree in Political Science from the University of Montreal, I left academia in 2000 to join the family business Plastilec – a company specializing in plastic injection moulding. As Director of Operations for many years, my expertise in the manufacturing sector in Quebec is highly respected. Driven by an entrepreneurial spirit, I took over the management of Plastilec in 2008 and directed my efforts toward finding sustainable and responsible solutions in the field of packaging. The creation of EcoloPharm was the result of research into sustainable development. Founder and President of Ecolopharm since 2010, I carried the mission of doing better and doing things differently in the field of drug packaging. Board Member of the Council of Sustainable Industry and a speaker for many events, I believe that my expertise in sustainable development is widely recognized.

If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

Never feel powerless!

We all have the power to change the world. Each individual has an impact on the environment, the economy, and on the community. Being aware of this impact and the power we all have to make a difference is essential. Education, awareness, and involvement are all tools for changing the world. Becoming an entrepreneur means acquiring an additional tool for change, but heavy with responsibilities.

What problem does your business solve?

EcoloPharm

For 12 years now, EcoloPharm has put sustainable development at the heart of its industrial process to design, manufacture, and distribute the only eco-friendly packaging for prescription drugs in Canada. Today, EcoloPharm is one of the largest vial manufacturers in Canada and the only one in North America to have obtained a B-Corp Certification. With more than 40 per cent of pharmacies in Canada choosing to work with our eco-responsible solutions, EcoloPharm has revolutionized the market and challenged 40 years of inaction in the very conservative field of drug packaging.

Our industrial process has been completely reimagined to reduce GHG emissions, reduce waste and reduce environmental impact.

The manufacture of our products generates:

  • a 60 per cent energy savings
  • a 39 per cent reduction in cardboard waste
  • complete elimination of plastic bags
  • a 55 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions
  • a 35 per cent reduction in plastic material consumption.

What is the inspiration behind your business?

Every year in Canada, more than 400 million prescriptions are dispensed in packaging that generates tons of plastic and cardboard waste. It seemed urgent to me to act to reduce the environmental footprint of this sector linked to the health of people and communities. So, I became an entrepreneur by being challenged to find a solution.

What is your magic sauce?

Which competition? After 12 years, EcoloPharm is still the only company in the sector to do what it does. We are not selling a packaging product. We are offering the opportunity to become an actor of change!

EcoloPharm has long understood that companies are agents of change. They are tools for innovation and society’s improvement. In our business model, it is imperative to question the role and intent of businesses in advancing society, whether they are part of the solution or remain the cause of the problem. EcoloPharm has set up a chain of values ​​that guides the choice of partners, determines the technical processes, and inspires innovative employment conditions. Each of our choices has consequences that impact employees, the community, and the environment. It is, therefore, important for an eco-responsible company to measure this impact and make positive decisions for all spheres of society.

What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?

EcoloPharm

Today, EcoloPharm distributes its eco-friendly packaging solutions coast-to-coast, and more than 65 million prescriptions are served to Canadians in EcoloPharm’s packaging. More than 4,500 pharmacies out of 11,500 pharmacies in Canada have committed to transforming their practices by choosing EcoloPharm.

We have more than doubled our turnover in five years and continue to maintain annual growth of nearly 20 per cent. Thanks to the creation and marketing of new products, our innovation curves support the continuous growth of the company.

The next step is an expansion in the United States to transform the market on the whole Continent. In five years, EcoloPharm will still have grown by three times, and my teams will continue to come to work every morning with a smile, happy to pursue our common quest to act for a better world.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

Our biggest challenge is to fight against greenwashing. Lack of data, misinformation, or simply misunderstanding what sustainability is. These are our biggest problems.

How can people get involved?

For pharmacists, EcoloPharm offers an opportunity for strategic positioning. As customers are increasingly concerned about the environment, they now expect concrete environmental actions to be taken by the organizations with which they do business. Choosing EcoloPharm means choosing a partnership that promotes an ecological pharmacy which cares as much about the health of its patients as that of the planet.

Pharmacists, or patients, you can reach out to us at [email protected] or visit our website at www.ecolopharm.com