Novartis is committed to minimizing the environmental impact of its products over their entire life cycle. As scientific knowledge and stakeholder expectations evolve in this field, we regularly benchmark our activities and actively support researchers, regulators and other groups in developing more efficient environmental practices.
Our vision is to be a leader in health, safety and environmental protection. Since our last set of environmental targets were launched in 2010, our structured approach to minimizing our environmental impact has helped us make considerable progress: while Group sales have more than doubled in 15 years, emissions have been reduced, and consumption of energy and water has increased at a much slower pace.
These targets expired in 2015, and to continue building on our success, a new set of mid- to long-term targets were required. In June 2015, the Executive Committee of Novartis (ECN) approved the company’s Vision 2030 on Environmental Sustainability. This vision is underpinned by a new set of 2020 environmental sustainability targets. These efforts are focused in four strategic environmental impact areas – energy and climate; water and micro-pollutants; materials and waste; and environmental sustainability management.
To better understand the cost-effectiveness of our environmental protection activities, the ECN also approved our first-ever internal carbon price, which was set at USD 100 per ton of carbon dioxide emitted. Existing pricing schemes by companies and governments vary wildely, from 1 to 168 USD/t CO2e, but we wanted to set a price high enough to reflect the actual cost of carbon emissions to society. Building a carbon price into investment decisions is important as it recognizes the cost of emissions and helps identify those projects that will most cost-effectively enable reductions in greenhouse gas emissions as part of the drive toward a lower-carbon business.
We seek to generate no adverse effects on water quality and water depletion from our sites and products. We strive to conserve water in our operations, particularly in areas where water is scarce. We avoid potential risks related to pharmaceuticals reaching the aquatic environment.
We aim to establish closed material loops for our major materials and avoid adverse effects from waste disposal. We work to prevent, reduce and recycle waste before treatment, incineration or disposal. We do not landfill any hazardous waste worldwide.