Big Pharma Small Carbon

Big Pharma, Small Carbon

Written by: Tom Nutley

January 31st, 2020

AstraZeneca made the news last week by ‘bringing forward decarbonisation plans by more than a decade’, so the world looks to the rest of Big Pharma to analyse what they are planning on doing to reduce their carbon footprint.

AstraZeneca created the ‘Ambition Zero Carbon’ programme, committing to zero carbon emissions from operations across the world by 2025. The company is planning to invest up to $1bn to achieve their new goals. The goals also include looking into their supply chain; asking suppliers to analyse their carbon emissions, to gain a full view of emissions produced. This should result in AstraZeneca becoming carbon negative across its entire value chain by 2030.

GSK also have ambitions of being Carbon Neutral. They want to reduce their overall carbon footprint by 25% by 2020 (vs. 2010) and have a carbon neutral value chain by 2050. In addition, GSK has looked to their water and operational waste, with key targets listed in their commitments. “We are committed to managing and reducing the environmental impacts of our operations and our products across their life-cycle. We have set ambitious goals to reduce carbon, water and waste across our value chain – from the sourcing of raw materials and the impacts of our own labs and factories, to the use and disposal of our products by patients and consumers.”

Bayer is another with great aim to combat climate change; “we can only be successful as a company in the long term if we balance our economic growth with our responsibility for the environment and society” Bayer. The corporate website lists some of the targets, including reducing specific greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent through 2020 (compared with 2015) and reducing greenhouse gas emissions – including the areas of business trips, communications technologies, logistics and along the entire value-added chain.

Involving business trips, logistics and supply chain (not just focusing purely on production) is an important factor that all companies – not just Big Pharma – need to consider when calculating their carbon footprint.

Pfizer and Sanofi have also spoken about limiting the direct (and indirect) impact their activities have on the environment, but as the issue of climate change and carbon reduction becomes larger and a more prominent fixture in our daily lives, the more larger organisations are expected to do.

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