Environment & Energy
Does environmental management strategy at Novartis incorporate a value chain and/or life cycle approach?
This is an area where we can do more. It is clearly the next generation for us. But already we measure scope 1 and 2 and partly scope 3 emissions.1 We do life cycle assessments of our strategic products. We consider the risk of the products to the environment and do long-term, and not just acute, environmental toxicity testing.
Making a pharmaceutical product is quite complicated. For example, some of our products have multiple chemical steps, followed by pharmaceutical formulation and packaging in many sites worldwide, all coordinated through a global supply chain. It is a complex picture. We have made a start in this area, and there is additional work to be done regarding full value-chain or life-cycle analysis.
“Some of our products have multiple chemical steps, followed by pharmaceutical formulation and packaging in many sites worldwide, all coordinated through a global supply chain”
What types of government policy have had the greatest impact in transforming environmental management practices at Novartis?
International policies, such as the Kyoto protocol, have a major impact and prompted a major energy efficiency drive. With Kyoto, on a voluntary basis, we set the greenhouse gas target for the whole company. Without Kyoto, to which we committed in 2005, we would not have the targets we have. Earlier the Montréal Protocol, which deals with substances that deplete the ozone layer, also had a significant impact.
National legislation has a lesser impact, because around the world we generally operate above legal minimum standards. We have a view that operating on or close to the legal line will lead to periodic failure because sometime either technology or people will fail and that could result in being outside of legal compliance. So we have to set the limit or the bar above the legal requirements.
Moreover, as an international company we clearly can’t operate at different standards in different locations. Having said that, I would add that 2+2=4 and 3+1=4, so while we have the same goals, we might not achieve them in exactly the same ways. For example, in Switzerland we use a lot of very sophisticated instrumentation. In some other countries, by contrast, we might build in three or four physical and human checks.
- Scope 1 describes greenhouse gases directly emitted from our own operations. Scope 2 is greenhouse gas emissions from the generation of purchased energy. Scope 3 is indirect emissions for activities outside company boundaries not included in scope 2.