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Pharma and Sustainability: Is the industry doing enough?

Neeshe Williams, general counsel and head of ESG at Pharmanovia, talks about the progress in the pharmaceutical industry in terms of sustainability. While most industries suffered during the pandemic, pharma industry only flourished in many cases. Post-pandemic, it is trying to move towards  reducing industry carbon footprint and increasing ESG credentials.

After the net-zero targets have been elucidated, collaboration of organisations for information sharing will be important for the industry to embark on the journey of sustainability. The sector must recognise that embedding and scaling up ESG credentials must be addressed across all operations, with all partners, and across the whole supply chain rather than being the sole responsibility of a single department or function.

Strategising and prioritising

There are certain additional costs related to achieving ESG standards. Williams says that at Pharmanovia, the team is working to overcome these costs by strategically organising and utilising data through technology innovation to increase worldwide access to medications while taking ESG issues into account. When calculating an appropriate carbon footprint, logistics experts must take into account product transportation, with air freight being the major contributor.

Thinking long-term

Williams also informs that the potential drawback is that it can be challenging to measure the advantageous trade-off in the short term. We are hopeful that when businesses move forward with their sustainability projects, there will be a “domino effect” that lowers the costs associated with doing so. The overall advantages, however, far surpass the monetary expenditures.

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