Supply chain must innovate to support pharma's sustainability drive, urges study

10 May 2022

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As study finds that 95% of the top pharmaceutical companies worldwide aim to cut greenhouse gas emissions, commitments will require innovation and collaboration across the supply chain.

Washington, DC, USA, 10 May 2022: According to a study presented at the 18th Annual Meeting of the International Society for Medical Publication Professionals (ISMPP) today, 19 of the 20 leading pharmaceutical companies worldwide have committed to net zero, carbon neutrality or specific reductions in greenhouse gas emissions – with significant implications for their supply chains.

The study aimed to determine the climate change targets and strategies of the top 20 pharmaceutical companies, as well as their implications for pharmaceutical suppliers.

The study found that, of the top 20 pharmaceutical companies:

  • 95% have committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in their operations
  • 50% have committed to carbon neutrality
  • 40% have committed to net zero emissions
  • 90% have committed to improved reporting and reducing emissions across their supply chains.

The deadlines for companies to make these changes vary, with some coming into force as early as 2025 and all taking effect by 2050.

Although some companies are already engaging with suppliers to reduce their environmental impact, the study calls for innovation to help to advance sustainability across the supply chain. Study co-lead Dr Amy Booth (DPhil student at Green Templeton College and the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Services, University of Oxford) said:


“It is encouraging to learn that the overwhelming majority of pharma companies are taking steps to review and change the way they work to meet environmental targets. However, it’s clear that more work is needed to ensure a low-carbon, sustainable future for the industry. Collaboration with pharmaceutical suppliers will be an integral part of this agenda.”

Booth presented the findings with study co-lead Dr Chris Winchester (CEO of Oxford PharmaGenesis and Associate Fellow at Green Templeton College, University of Oxford) at the 18th Annual Meeting of ISMPP in Washington, DC, USA. A roundtable discussion followed, during which suppliers shared ideas to address the challenge.

Winchester said: “At Oxford PharmaGenesis, innovation is at the heart of our approach to HealthScience communications. We’re proud to be applying this skill to reduce our environmental impact and support our clients in doing the same. We have already pioneered eposters and virtual conferences, and we look forward to engaging further with our clients and partners to continue improving our environmental impact.”