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Materials Use And Waste

Minimizing Consumption and Environmental Impacts

Developing most of our own manufacturing processes gives us the opportunity to minimise materials use, substitute unwanted substances and increase recycling. We rely on suppliers to deliver materials and handle waste sustainably. Environmental impacts from the end-use of our medicines are assessed and managed.

Our HSE approach

Our R&D and manufacturing activities are largely based on chemical synthesis, meaning we use considerable amounts of organic solvents and energy, generating waste and air emissions. We manage these environmental impacts through our integrated Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) approach. We define our overall priorities annually in our HSE Strategy and transform them into measurable targets and actions.

Green chemistry principles

Because we develop our own manufacturing processes, our chemists are mindful to use the least harmful substances. We aim to minimise any adverse environmental impacts in line with the principles of Green Chemistry.

Best available technologies

We deploy the best available technologies when designing processes, technical utilities and facilities, to continuously improve our manufacturing processes. Where possible we use solvents with lower environmental impact and have increased our capabilities to recycle organic solvents in chemical production. This has allowed us to eliminate the need for thousands of tons of virgin materials and continue to save resources for production, transportation and waste management.

Continuous chemical production

We partner with universities to develop new working methods. For instance, by introducing continuous processing. Here the product is produced in continuous flow in significantly smaller equipment than used in traditional batch processes where large reactors are filled, emptied and cleaned between each process step. This offers great benefits in raw material and energy usage.

Circular economy

By combining continuous production with recycling principles, we can create a circular economy, integrating different manufacturing processes and reusing materials across different processes. Our Sustainability Strategy contains a circular economy aspiration to move away from the traditional linear ‘take-make-dispose’ manufacturing model to a more regenerative model. This is in line with the SDG 12 Responsible Consumption and Production.


There is an interest within the pharmaceutical industry to increase what can be recycled and reused in packaging materials. This is being pursued at the association level in close dialogue with relevant health authorities.

Water usage

Access to clean water resources is a growing global challenge. As per World Resources Institute classifications, our research and production facilities are in low or lowmedium areas of water availability. We carefully manage three areas in this regard: Water usage, wastewater and discharge of chemical residues into aquatic ecosystems. We ensure that water usage and wastewater emissions do not diminish the supply of clean water or degrade water quality.

Pharmaceutical residues

We acknowledge stakeholder concerns about pharmaceutical residues in the environment. These mainly come from patients’ excretion of medicine taken to treat or prevent a disease. We test the environmental effects of new medicinal products and design processes with the least possible environmental impact.


We pursue approaches that balance healthcare needs and environmental considerations in line with EFPIA’s Eco- Pharmaco-Stewardship Initiative to minimise pharmaceuticals in the environment and UN Sustainability Development Goal 12 on responsible consumption and production.

Environmental choices

Our environmental focus extends beyond our manufacturing processes. We lease office printers and company cars, and pursue return opportunities for laptops, smart phones and other e-waste.


Read about our environmental ambitions and results in our most recent Communication on Progress to the UN Global Compact.

UN Global Compact

Read about our environmental ambitions and results in our most recent Communication on Progress to the UN Global Compact.