The pandemic that shook our world and that we’re still fighting has acted as an eye-opener for many of us, inspiring us to challenge our habits and practices, prompting us to act to usher in a better world.
It’s been particularly troubling to witness how a halt in human activity has allowed our environment to start healing. That’s a wake-up call we just can’t ignore.
The healthcare industry has been in the frontline during this crisis, working relentlessly to provide access to treatment, vaccines, tests and protective equipment to as many people as possible regardless of circumstance and geography. This effort made by thousands of healthcare workers worldwide was recognized by many and is proof that when we align on an objective, we can make it happen.
Inspired by the EU Green Week, let’s use this energy to take on the environmental challenges ahead, using as much determination and commitment. The pharmaceutical industry, as a responsible industry, should lead this effort, improving procedures to reduce the environment footprint.
At Viatris, a new kind of healthcare company, formed in November 2020, corporate social responsibility isn’t just something we talk about. It’s something that is embedded in our mission. As outlined in the inaugural sustainability report, released less than 6 months after the creation of this company, we maintain strong commitments to addressing some of the world’s most pressing health needs while striving to make our activity environmental responsible.
Viatris is committed to setting performance targets to improve our climate, water and waste use for this new company in 2021. So far, we have increased the use of renewable energy fourfold. In Ireland for example, where we operate the highest number of sites across Europe, all of them use 100% renewable energy.
In 2020, we undertook several initiatives to reduce the environmental impact across our manufacturing facilities, including completion of a project to optimize the aeration blowers in our wastewater treatment plant in Galway, Ireland, resulting in a 77% reduction in energy required for aeration.
We are continuously looking for ways to make our packaging more sustainable while also meeting the highest regulatory standards around the world. Our team in Confienza, Italy, updated Saugella packaging and achieved a reduction of six tonnes of plastic use per year. On top, we are working on developing a greenhouse gas emissions reduction target in line with the Science-Based Target Initiative’s (SBTi) criteria.
We are also actively engaged in promoting environmentally responsible manufacturing, including through the application of the Common Antibiotic Manufacturing Framework and the participation in the Inter Association Initiative on Pharmaceuticals, in the Environment Task Force on responsible effluent management.
On the front of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), a prominent public health threat occurring when bacteria evolve to withstand the effects of antibiotics, making infections harder to treat, we are a signatory to the Davos Declaration on combating AMR and a founding board member of the AMR Industry Alliance.
We’re just getting started. On the occasion of this EU Green Week 2021, dedicated to “zero pollution ambition” and focused on solutions for healthier people and planet, we reaffirm in no uncertain terms that business can be a force for good, as well as our steadfast commitment to environmental responsibility. We are ready to partner for a greener and more just Europe.
Eric Bossan, Head of Europe Viatris