How invested is pharma in sustainability?

By Ben Hargreaves

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/HS3RUS)
(Image: Getty/HS3RUS)

Related tags Novo nordisk Biogen Boehringer ingelheim sustainability Climate change

As a day of climate strikes unfolds across the world, we ask how far pharma is engaged on the issue, as well as noting recent innovations that suggest companies are looking at what can be done.

The global climate strike will see protests held in 150 countries, the BBC reports today​, after participants followed the lead of Greta Thunberg who began protesting outside of the Swedish parliament during school hours.

Although the pharmaceutical industry is not among the most polluting industries, incremental efforts have been made by companies to improve the sustainability of products and manufacturing.

This week, Boehringer Ingelheim introduced a ‘reusable’ Respimat (tiotropium bromide) inhaler, which allows patients to change the product cartridge six times instead of replacing the inhaler each time the cartridge is empty.

Research funded by Boehringer suggested that this change could reduce the carbon footprint of the product by 71%​.

Also this week, Biogen announced that it had been ranked as the leading biotech company​ on the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index, as it sets itself a goal of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 35% through to 2030 and to continue to emit zero net carbon emissions after reaching this goal in 2014.

As to why being able to showcase a commitment to sustainability benefits a business, when in-PharmaTechnologist spoke to Dorethe Nielsen, senior director of corporate environmental strategy at Novo Nordisk, she told us that potential new hires into the business​ will use climate action as a differentiator amongst other employers.

It’s now your opportunity as members of the industry to let us know whether you feel that environmental issues are being addressed. You can indicate your opinion in the poll below:

Is the industry addressing questions of sustainability?

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