Bayer boosts 2030 sustainability commitment with €100M health products investment
07 Dec 2021 --- Bayer is investing €100 million (US$133 million) to accelerate its environmental sustainability measures and cross-industry collective action partnerships. The company’s goals include reaching climate neutrality by 2030 and net-zero by 2050.
The pharmaceutical giant is also committed to making its consumer health packaging completely recyclable or reusable by 2030 and will prioritize “sustainable brands, products and packaging.” Also by 2030, all packaging will include 50% recycled content while purchased paper will be sustainably-sourced.
Moreover, shipping boxes will include 80% recycled content by the end of 2021. Meanwhile, paper packaging will increasingly consist of certified paper from responsibly managed forests and digital marketing will be promoted to reduce the company’s ecological footprint.
On track for targets
PackagingInsights speaks to Chris Padain, vice president and head of design and packaging for Bayer's consumer health division and Daniella Foster, global vice president and head of public affairs, science and sustainability for Bayer’s consumer health division.
“We’re on track to have our shipping boxes include 80% recycled content by the end of the year,” Padain says. “We prioritized this aspect of our sustainability journey given the proportional contribution of our shipping boxes to our total packaging, and existing best practices across our manufacturing locations. This highlights the opportunity for a quick and significant impact.”
Furthermore, Daniella Foster, global vice president and head of public affairs, science and sustainability for Bayer's consumer health division emphasizes the necessity of collective action. “For example, through the Global Self-Care Federation Environmental Charter (GSCF) we’ll be able to work with other consumer health-focused companies to accelerate action by our industry’s suppliers. We’re also exploring other partnerships to further advance our packaging goals.”
“Working collectively is critical to reach both our goals and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” notes Foster.
Bayer’s agenda also includes further enabling environmentally sustainable innovation, production and consumption of its consumer health products, which include global brands such as Aspirin, Bepanthen, Claritin and Elevit.
“This investment, which equates to 2% of the division’s sales, will help enable Bayer to drive the sustainable use of the company’s products and help create a world where people can live healthier lives,” adds Heiko Schipper, member of the board of management, Bayer AG, and president of Bayer’s consumer health division.
Reversing climate impact
Schipper explains the pharmaceutical company has increased its environmental sustainability investments due to severe climate crisis impacts on peoples’ lives and the planet. “The climate crisis impacts every family around the world, particularly those in underserved communities and is one of the biggest global health threats of our time,” he says.
“Through this investment and our commitment to expand access to everyday health for 100 million people in underserved communities by 2030, it’s our aim to help create a healthier world for all.”
Relatedly, Innova Market Insights’ top 2022 trend indicates peoples’ concern for the planet is overtaking concerns for their own health. The so-labeled “Shared Planet” trend indicates consumers today are more ethically and environmentally conscious than in the past and make planet protection their number one priority.
In line with Bayer’s overarching commitment to climate neutrality by 2030 (Scopes 1 and 2) and net-zero across the entire value chain (Scopes 1, 2 and 3) by 2050, its Consumer Health division is taking specific actions to increase energy efficiency and go renewable. Progress to-date includes:
Reduction of carbon footprint across production facilities through energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, contributing to a 30% reduction in carbon emissions between 2019 and 2020.
Sixty-five percent of energy consumed at three Consumer Health production sites (one each in Germany, Guatemala and Spain) is generated from renewable sources.
Bayer’s action plan
The pharmaceutical company’s science-based action plan is coupled to its self-set targets to achieve climate-neutrality by 2030 and net-zero by 2050. These actions include:
Prioritization of sustainable brands, products and packaging: Bayer consumer health’s packaging will be fully recyclable or reusable by 2030. Furthermore, all packaging will have consumer-friendly recycling information.
Urging collective action: Partnerships must be formed to address climate change. Here, Bayer has recently supported the development of the GSCF and also signed it.
Accelerating commitment to net-zero: Bayer is taking actions to increase its energy efficiency and switching to renewable alternatives. Here, the company’s carbon footprint is reduced and renewable energy consumed at consumer health production sites is increased.
Meanwhile, the company’s global vice president highlights the importance of partnerships for reaching self-set goals and SDGs.
Besides GSCF, Bayer is also an active participant in the Carbon Disclosure Project’s Supply Chain program, engaging suppliers on value chain emission reductions.
“We have initiated the first phase of working with suppliers to reduce their carbon footprint, with 73% of invited Consumer Health suppliers completing the initial questionnaire to help identify opportunities for emission reductions,” says Foster.
“We also work with the Science Based Targets Initiative to verify our 2030 carbon goals and we have a science-based plan toward tracking our goal.”
Padain notes there are challenges to overcome in terms of implementation procedures. “We have a global footprint, so we needed to confirm sourcing availability and quality across all of our regions,” he explains.
“We also started implementation during the pandemic so we dealt with many supply constraints and long delivery lead times.”
By Natalie Schwertheim
This feature is provided by NutritionInsight’s sister website, PackagingInsights.
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