Rarely does mention of the pharmaceutical industry conjure up images of smoke stacks, pollution and environmental damage.
Yet ar recent study found big pharma is dirtier than the global automotive production sector. And researchers have paid little attention to the industry’s greenhouse gas emissions. The research suggests that the amount of emissions intensity varied greatly within the pharmaceutical sector. For example, the emissions intensity of Eli Lilly (77.3 tonnes of CO2e/$M) was 5.5 times greater than Roche (14 tonnes CO2e/$M) in 2015, and Procter & Gamble’s CO2 emissions were five times greater than Johnson & Johnson even though the two companies generated the same level of revenues and sell similar lines of products.
The study found outliers too. The German company Bayer AG reported emissions of 9.7 megatonnes of CO2e and revenues of US$51.4 billion, yielding an emission intensity of 189 tonnes CO2e/$M. This intensity level is more than four times greater than the overall pharmaceutical sector.
What if we could replace some of bioreactors with plants? It certainly would be a huge leap ahead.