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Social Responsibility

Sanofi, Roche and Viatris take the lead in environmental sustainability

Health Industry Hub | June 4, 2022 |
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Ahead of World Environment Day on June 5, Sanofi, Roche and Viatris have showcased their commitment to environmental sustainability by taking transformative action to protect the ecosystem they operate in locally. This year’s theme is “One Earth” highlighting the fact that there is only one Earth and that we need to protect, celebrate and restore our planet.

Sanofi

Sanofi has entered into a partnership with Return Unwanted Medicines (The RUM Project), to raise crucial awareness of the environmental impact of incorrect disposal of unused and expired medicines.

Throwing away unwanted and out-of-date medicines can have a significant impact on the environment, including our waterways. This is especially concerning given 70% of Australians are currently unaware of how to safely dispose of medicines, and 60% of people have unwanted medicine in their homes.

Sanofi is the only medicines and vaccines company to currently partner with The RUM Project, a not-for-profit scheme, funded by the Commonwealth Government, operating across Australia. The RUM Project partners with pharmacies, who collect unwanted medicines via specialised bins at no cost to consumers. Returned medicines are then safely disposed of in accordance with regulatory and Environment Protection Agency requirements.

Karen Hood, Country Lead, Sanofi Australia and New Zealand, said “Taking urgent action on climate and water stewardship is more vital than ever. We know that people want to the do the right thing by the planet, but there is a considerable knowledge gap on the responsible disposal of medicines. That’s why we’re proud to partner with The RUM Project. Together, our pursuit is to encourage all Australians to dispose of unwanted medicines responsibly via their local pharmacy, and to help improve the treatment of our planet.”

Since The RUM Project started in 2001, it has collected and disposed of 11.5 million kilograms of unwanted medicines.

Roche

To support the organisation’s legacy of environmental protection, conservation and sustainability, Roche Australia has partnered with one of the country’s leading nature-based, living infrastructure specialists, Junglefy.

“Our cities have become urban deserts for our pollinators, which are our bugs and birds,” said Junglefy’s CEO, Suzie Barnett. “If these pollinators are flying over the city and there’s nowhere to seek shelter or respite, then they’re not going to survive. It’s as simple as that. We’ve got to bring nature back into these areas, which will then bring the insects and the birds, so we can create those ecosystems that enable them to traverse the cities, and then potentially move out to our regional areas as well.”

Roche engaged Junglefy to help turn the rooftop terrace of its Sydney office in Barangaroo, into a living ecosystem that supports urban biodiversity and enables employees to enjoy the wonders of nature, in the heart of the city. While the Roche rooftop already existed as a ‘green roof’ when the company first moved into the building in 2017, it was predominantly a low lying, low maintenance green roof, that wasn’t really about the people or the pollinators.

“What Roche has been able to do is really unlock the true value of what that space represents for them, as well as for their community. And when I say community, I don’t mean the residents; I actually mean our pollinator community,” said Suzie. “I think Roche should be enormously proud of how they’ve taken that green roof, and they’ve converted it into a roof that actually makes a fundamental difference – not just for the health and wellbeing of the people that work there, to have a beautiful outdoor space to enjoy, but also to improve biodiversity in Sydney.”

As Roche’s Facilities Specialist, Fiona Allen has been fortunate to oversee the development of the new green roof, and is looking forward to when all Roche employees can enjoy the rooftop garden together very soon.

“Junglefy designed and implemented the original rooftop landscaped gardens before we moved into The Bond in May 2017 – with Roche appreciating the health benefits to our team of having an external green space,” said Fiona. 

“Over the past couple of years, I’ve loved seeing the insects and visiting Superb Fairy-wren birds – a true testament that what we are doing to support biodiversity is working! Importantly, it’s exciting that employees coming back into the office can now also enjoy and appreciate the beauty that has been created,” added Fiona.

Viatris

Viatris recently published its 2021 Sustainability Report, outlining the company’s achievements and progress across key areas including Environmental Stewardship. Globally, Viatris has committed to reducing absolute Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 42% by 2030 and reducing Scope 3 GHG emissions covering purchase goods and services, capital goods, fuel and energy related alternatives and upstream transportation and distribution 25% by 2031.

Rob Elliott, Head of Operations, Viatris ANZ, said “Many pharmaceutical companies don’t manufacture in Australia, so we are very proud of the work we are doing at Carole Park in Queensland. The site has also been designed with a specific focus on sustainability, from recyclables to biodegradables. We have used 4,265 KL of rainwater (15% of the total site water usage in 2021) and recycled 250 tonnes of materials.

“We are focused on ensuring we are always moving forward and doing better tomorrow than we did yesterday. This includes the recycling of packaging materials, rainwater capture to reduce the impact of droughts on our business and the community, and installation of high efficiency LED lighting to reduce electricity usage accounting for around 50% of all current lighting on site. We have also engaged consultants to prepare a plan to carbon neutrality, starting with a review of energy usage to change our practices and systems to reduce energy requirements on site and the installation of solar power to generate low emissions energy from the site.”

Sylvain Vigneault, Viatris Australia’s Country Manager, said “Sustainability is fundamental to our mission. The spirit of our commitment to sustainability is a fundamental driver of our performance and also embedded across our overall priority areas of impact.

“In fact, the Viatris Office in Sydney is located in Australia’s first CBD office building to achieve real outcomes in environmental, social and commercial sustainability at the time of completion (2004) as recognised by the National Australian Built Environment Rating System. 30 The Bond has key sustainability design features that have allowed the business to reduce the impact on our carbon footprint. It is a leading example of excellence, innovation and social benefit in a building that is commercially viable from day one.”

In Australia we are witnessing more pharma, medtech and biotech organisations committing to building a healthier and more environmentally sustainable future. They are doing this by driving innovative and evidence-based sustainability strategies, and integrating it across the value chain to deliver quality-based, green outcomes while positively impacting the lives of patients.

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