Long-term sustainability strategy of pharmaceutical service provider pays off
The “Green Deal” initiated by the European Commission aims at reducing the net emissions of greenhouse gases to zero across the EU by 2050, thereby making the European continent climate-neutral. As a globally operating Contract Development and Manufacturing Organization (CDMO), Vetter added this topic to its corporate agenda many years ago. Now, the pharmaceutical service provider is making yet another contribution: all Vetter sites are climate-neutral and no longer have a CO2 footprint. The company’s production sites and sales offices in Austria, the US, and Asia have followed the example of its sites in Germany, where climate neutrality was already achieved in the past year. This important milestone was made possible by the interaction of many components within the scope of a long-term CO2 strategy in the company.
Investments in energy-efficient and eco-friendly technology play a key role in this regard. For example, the CDMO relies on in-house cogeneration units, solar panels, and geothermal energy, amongst others. Over approximately the past ten years, the company has successfully implemented more than 100 efficiency projects, thereby saving over 30 million kWh of electricity, natural gas, and biogas. In the past five years alone, Vetter reduced its carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 4,500 tons. New buildings are always constructed according to the latest environmental standards.
Another important component is the energy supply. Since 2014, all German sites have been operated with green electricity from hydropower. The same is true for the company’s new Austrian site in Rankweil, which was purchased in 2020.
In addition, Vetter relies on a comprehensive, modular concept for alternative mobility to make switching to sustainable means of transportation as appealing as possible to its staff members. For example, the pharmaceutical service provider has already invested in two highly innovative bicycle parking facilities at its corporate sites in Ravensburg, with more to follow at the other sites. Moreover, the company cooperates with a local energy supplier on leasing bicycles. In this way, staff members can quickly commute between corporate sites while also saving resources. Furthermore, the JobRad program, a national bike leasing initiative, offers staff members attractive leasing conditions when acquiring a new bicycle. Employees can also charge their electric vehicles with electricity from hydropower; the infrastructure required for this purpose has been provided at the first sites.
“As a family business committed to sustainability, we take our responsibility towards the environment and climate protection very seriously. Whenever possible, we opt for the solutions that are most eco-friendly,” said Vetter Managing Director Thomas Otto.
However, emissions cannot be eliminated completely when producing drugs in a highly regulated setting. Henryk Badack, Senior Vice President Technical Services/Internal Project Management, stated: “Operating within the pharmaceutical industry, we have to meet numerous regulatory requirements and high standards to enable patients around the world to have access to impeccable, high-quality medication. This results in energy-intensive production operations. Therefore, it is even more important to sensibly compensate for the emissions generated.” CO2 compensation is one means in this regard, i.e., emissions that cannot be eliminated are compensated for by financing high-quality and certified climate protection actions. The projects supported by Vetter are subject to strict requirements. On the one hand, they must be related purely to the generation of renewable energies; on the other, the systems used for this purpose may not be older than ten years. In addition, the certificates must conform to the standards of the Kyoto Protocol or the Paris Agreement.
“Despite the milestone of global CO2-neutrality, which we have now achieved, we maintain our efforts in further driving our environmental initiatives and making our company even greener,” said Vetter Managing Director Peter Soelkner. “As a family business that thinks in generations, we see this as an important component of our social responsibility, as well as for our children and grandchildren.”
Covered and with a lot of space: Highly modern parking facilities for bicycles are only one of the many actions of Vetter's sustainability initiatives.