Actelion’s primary environmental sustainability goal is to reduce our environmental impact so as to help ensure a safe and healthy environment for present and future generations. Due to the nature of our activities, our environmental footprint is not as substantial as in other industries. However, we take our responsibility very seriously and are continuously working to further reduce the environmental impact of our operations. In October 2016, Actelion concluded an agreement with the Swiss federal government whereby the company has undertaken to reduce CO2 emissions from its headquarters by 16% by 2020.
Since 2010, Actelion has been participating in the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), measuring, managing and sharing information on our environmental performance at our headquarters in Switzerland, as well as larger operating sites around the globe. We have made some major progress on our reporting and are pleased to be able to include, for the first time, all affiliates in our carbon footprint for 2016. The company’s total carbon footprint (scope 1 and scope 2) amounted to 4.4 million kilograms. For comparative purposes, the major sites we reported in previous years had a carbon footprint of 3.2 million kilograms.
The bulk of Actelion’s carbon emissions stem from our headquarters in Allschwil, Switzerland. Since January 2014, the energy supplied to headquarters has been obtained entirely from hydropower and solar power. This has resulted in a substantial decrease in our carbon emissions.
In 2016, we also installed Telepresence systems at our main locations in Switzerland and the US. These systems provide users with an immersive, life-like video conferencing experience that increases engagement and quality of collaboration. The easy-to-use systems bring together teams working remotely, thus rapidly building relationships and trust while reducing travel‑related emissions and costs.
Although our business is not water-intensive, we are continuously working to minimize the use of this precious resource. Water is used for a variety of purposes, such as laboratory experimentation, drinking water, facility cooling, and cleaning and maintenance operations. Our facilities are built to the latest standards and include many features designed to minimize water use (e.g. tap sensors). The increase in water usage stems mostly from increased research activity (including more people), a long hot and dry spell in 2016 which resulted in more water used for cooling as well as increased watering of outside areas.
We strictly adhere to all regulations concerning water quality and potential impacts on water resources.
We work to eliminate waste as far as possible. When this is not possible, we aim to reduce waste and recycle so as to mitigate environmental impacts.
Actelion’s hazardous waste (as defined by local regulations) stems from our research activities in Switzerland. It is sent off-site for recycling, reuse, treatment or disposal. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), used in our research facilities, may have a negative impact on the environment. To minimize emissions of VOCs, our high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) units and waste hoods are equipped with special absorbing filters which can retain VOCs.
Most of our non-hazardous waste – plastic, cardboard, paper and other commercial waste – is generated in our offices and catering facilities and is recycled whenever possible.
"I enjoy working for Actelion because innovation is not just in the science; it's a part of everything that we do in all departments to bring meaningful drugs to patients."