Industry Facts

Five facts about sustainability in the pharma industry

1. As of 2023, the pharmaceutical industry was accountable for 4.4% of all worldwide emissions, however if no changes are made it is anticipated that its carbon dioxide emissions will triple by 2050.1
2. The pharma industry produced 48.55 tonnes of CO2 equivalent for every $1m in revenue, as of 2019. This is 55% more than the automotive industry’s 31.4 tonnes per $1m in revenue.1
3. Many companies are collaborating with the NHS and other health systems to become more sustainable, and to align with the NHS’s goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2045.2
4. There is a great emphasis on making pharma manufacturing more sustainable, for example through cleaner production methods and the use of green chemistry principles.2 Many companies are also exploring using renewable energy sources for their manufacturing facilities.
5. Although it is not a well-known fact, many pharmaceutical products are derived from oil and other carbon-based natural resources.3 This refinement to medical-grade quality requires a large amount of energy that is overwhelmingly produced by burning fossil fuels, which hugely contributes to the industry’s emissions.3