Big pharma chiefs join forces for emissions reductions

They are partnering through a taskforce launched at COP26 last year, which aims to tackle emissions across patient care, clinical trials and supply chains

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The CEOs of seven pharmaceutical companies, including AstraZeneca, GSK and Novo Nordisk, have joined forces to achieve near-term emissions reduction targets and accelerate the delivery of net zero health systems.

They are partnering through the Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI) Health Systems Task Force, launched at COP26 last year, which aims to tackle emissions throughout several areas of the healthcare system, including patient care, clinical trials and supply chains.

The taskforce seeks to jointly pursue renewable power purchase agreements (PPAs) and green transportation corridors, as well as create a common framework to measure the emissions from clinical trials.

Health systems are said to be responsible for 4%-5% of total global net emissions, equivalent to around 2.4 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide.

Actions taken by the big pharma groups will include switching to renewable power, jointly evaluating green PPAs in China and India in 2023, exploring green heat solutions by 2025 and transitioning fleets to zero-emission vehicles by 2030.

In addition, they will build an end-to-end care pathway emissions calculation standard and tool for specific diseases to measure and track emissions and will publish product-level lifecycle assessments data to increase transparency on treatment emissions.

The pharmaceutical firms also include Merck KGaA, Roche, Samsung Biologics and Sanofi.

Pascal Soriot, Chief Executive Officer, AstraZeneca and Champion of the SMI Health Systems Task Force said: “Climate change is the greatest global health threat of our time. During the pandemic, the healthcare sector stepped up and showed what can be achieved when we work together.

“Today, we act with the same urgency to tackle the climate crisis, with the collective commitments announced by the Sustainable Markets Initiative Health Systems Task Force setting a benchmark for others to drive action.”