Thursday, March 16, 2023

Net zero: will big pharma companies be able to reach their targets?

Most of the major pharmaceutical companies have set ambitious targets to reach net zero emissions in the coming years for several reasons. For one thing, these companies haven’t enjoyed the best reputation in recent years and there are also many financial gains to be made by going net zero. There is a lot to be said for the long-term corporate image of a company seriously pushing a net ze-ro agenda too.

AstraZeneca, Merck and many more have all launched major net zero programmes, with Astra-Zeneca’s costing a whopping $1 billion. However, the question remains: will they be able to achieve their goals? Below, we will explore the challenges and opportunities that big pharma com-panies face in their quest to reach net zero emissions.

The Challenges

One of the biggest challenges facing big pharma companies is the complexity of their supply chains. Pharmaceuticals are made up of multiple components, many of which are sourced from dif-ferent countries. This makes it difficult for companies to track the emissions associated with each component and identify opportunities for reducing emissions.

Another challenge is the heavy reliance on fossil fuels in the manufacturing process. The produc-tion of pharmaceuticals requires significant amounts of energy, much of which is generated from fossil fuels. This makes it difficult for companies to reduce their emissions without making signifi-cant changes to their manufacturing processes.

Long-term Goals

Big pharma companies face significant challenges in reaching their net zero targets, particularly due to the complexity of their supply chains and reliance on fossil fuels. However, they also have sig-nificant opportunities to reduce their emissions, including the use of renewable energy, green chem-istry, and waste reduction. 

Whether or not they will be able to achieve their goals remains to be seen but the industry is cer-tainly making progress and taking steps in the right direction. Perhaps the best piece of advice we could offer them would be to invest in esg consulting and gain insight and perspective from special-ists that understand the true potential of net zero.

The Opportunities

Despite the challenges, big pharma companies also have significant opportunities to reduce their emissions. One of the most promising opportunities is the use of renewable energy. Many big pharma companies are already investing in renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar pow-er, to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels.

Another opportunity is the use of green chemistry. Green chemistry involves the design of chemical processes and products that minimize the use and generation of hazardous substances. By using green chemistry principles, big pharma companies can reduce their emissions and improve the sus-tainability of their products.

Finally, big pharma companies can also focus on reducing waste and improving recycling. Pharma-ceutical manufacturing generates significant amounts of waste, much of which can be recycled or reused. By implementing more effective waste management practices, companies can reduce their emissions and improve their environmental impact.

This is a guest blog post.

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