World first for GSK as it achieves global carbon certification

by Search Gate staff. Published Tue 29 Mar 2017 13:28, Last updated: 2017-03-29
GSK gains unique world first with certification

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has been awarded the world's first global climate change certification for its work on measuring, managing and reducing its carbon footprint worldwide.

The Carbon Trust assessed and certified GSK’s carbon footprint over a three year period across 65 countries, 200 sites and eight business divisions. In total, 2.2M tonnes CO2e were measured, and over 84,000 tonnes of CO2e have been cut from GSK’s carbon footprint, saving £3.8M in energy costs.

The certified reduction reinforces GSK’s aim for its company operations and the value chain to be carbon neutral by 2050. This aspiration means there will be no net greenhouse gas emissions from manufacturing, distribution, use and disposal of GSK products and the sourcing of raw materials.

Interim targets have been set to reduce the overall carbon footprint of the research-based pharmaceutical leader by 10% by 2016 and 25% by 2020.

GSK achieved a 4% reduction in absolute terms from its carbon footprint. The impressive reduction was achieved alongside a 17% revenue increase per tonne of CO2 over the assessment period – demonstrating that carbon emissions reduction can be achieved in parallel with business growth.

Richard Pamenter, head of sustainability, GlaxoSmithKline said: “The experience of striving for carbon accreditation in the UK was hugely beneficial – from a financial, ethical, operational and reputational point of view and demonstrated the value of applying for the Carbon Trust Standard on a multi-country basis. Not only did the scale of the project set a new benchmark for carbon reduction amongst businesses, but the extent of our cuts proved that it is possible to achieve a meaningful reduction in emissions.”

The company has created a central fund to support the implementation of climate change projects. Key investments include:

• Renewable Energy Generation. Wind turbines have been installed at GSK’s Barnard Castle facility in the UK and the company recently installed North America’s largest rooftop solar array at its regional distribution centre in York, Pennsylvania. Almost 11,000 solar panels will generate approximately 3.4 million kWh of energy a year, enough to completely meet the building’s energy needs, and saving 1,800 tonnes of CO2 per annum.

• A unique ‘canal water cooling’ system at GSK House, to use canal water as a heat sink for the chiller system that supports its IT data centres

• Innovative energy efficient LED lighting has been installed at five sites and is saving more than 143 tonnes of CO2 per year.

• Business Travel. GSK has made a significant investment in videoconferencing systems, with over 500 videoconference rooms in 65 countries. In 2010, there was a 40% increase in the use of videoconferencing compared to 2009.

• Between 2007 and 2009, reductions to electricity use alone reduced their carbon footprint by over 50,000 tonnes.

Harry Morrison, general manager at the Carbon Trust Standard said: “Climate change is a global challenge so it is right that companies act to address their whole global carbon footprint. This is a first and we are confident that GSK’s international lead will be followed by other companies, both large and small, that operate around the world.”

GSK joins a burgeoning group of over 500 organisations to demonstrate their contribution to meeting our climate change goals by achieving the Carbon Trust Standard. According to a recent Carbon Trust survey, 90% of consumers believe all UK businesses should reduce their emissions by 3% year on year in order to meet the UK’s target of reducing carbon emissions by 80% by 2050.

Recent research from Defra found that businesses voluntarily reporting their greenhouse gas emissions experience benefits such as cost savings, improved green credentials, and better relations with investors and customers.

The Carbon Trust recently launched its Carbon Citizenship website, with the aim of informing the general public about the risk of climate change, the role of business, and the task ahead of the UK in order to meet its 2050 climate change targets.

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