Our strategy on materials and waste is to establish closed material loops for our major materials and avoid adverse effects from waste disposal. Our materials and waste priorities are use materials effectively to prevent waste in the first place, and if generated reduce and recycle waste before treatment, incineration or disposal. We take advantage of opportunities for reuse and recycling, we work to keep environmental impact from waste at a minimum, and we maximize energy use from waste.
As proof of this commitment, Novartis has launched a Group-wide initiative on sustainable packaging, and seeks to design packaging that both minimizes environmental impact and meets all regulatory, quality, functional and design requirements.
Novartis engages with clients and packaging material suppliers to determine needs and identify more sustainable packaging solutions. A guide was developed and issued for packaging design teams to make product packaging more sustainable. Best practice packaging case examples are collected and shared among packaging designers across the company. Improvements are quantified based on a set of packaging indicators.
The disposal of waste, particularly in landfills, poses the long-term risk of soil, surface and ground water contamination. Liquid and soluble components leaking from landfills could ultimately endanger the health of people living nearby, and of communities that depend on natural water sources downstream. In 2007 Novartis banned the practice of disposing of organic hazardous waste in landfills from all its operations worldwide.
Novartis reports total quantities of hazardous and non-hazardous waste from operations, specified according to types of waste and disposal routes. Routes include recycling, treatment, incineration (with and without energy recovery) and landfill. Waste-intensity targets are set for the total amounts of hazardous and non-hazardous waste not being recycled.
We have worked to eliminate ozone depleting substances (ODS) used in fire extinguishers and refrigerant materials from our affiliates’ operations, and include the inventory and emission of ODS in our reporting, per Global Reporting Initiative standards.
As additional relevant emissions into air, we report halogenated and non-halogenated volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and the inorganic pollutants sulphur dioxide/nitrogen oxide (SO2/NOx). VOCs primarily result from the use of chlorinated and non-halogenated solvents in chemical synthesis operations and cleaning processes. Whenever possible, we take mitigation measures to minimize losses to the atmosphere. Inorganic pollutants, including SOx, NOx and particulates, arise primarily from the combustion of fuels and waste incineration.