Sustainability crucial for pharma’s supply chain future

Evidence of sustainability metrics is expected to be important for companies in the pharmaceutical industry in the next few years, according to sustainability results of the CPHI Annual Survey 2023.

Sustainability crucial for pharma's supply chain future

According to sustainability results from CPHI’s Annual Survey 2023, sustainability goals and metrics are now being implemented across the pharma supply chain, with the rate of adoption accelerating quickly.

Most contract development and manufacturing organisations (CDMOs) are expected to use them within the next two years. This is a significant shift from last year’s survey when the expectation was that changes would take up to five years, the data showed.

The new findings are announced at this year’s CPHI Barcelona (24 to 26 October 2023), with 93 percent of executives stating that ‘visibility on supply chain partner’s sustainability record’ is either ‘extremely important’ or ‘important’.

Implementing ESG measures

“The rate of change is increasing rapidly and we expect this to be one of the biggest themes for manufacturing in 2024,” stated Silvia Forroova, Director of Partnerships & Sustainability at Informa Markets. Sixty percent of executives forecast that innovators will require CDMOs to implement sustainability metrics (eg, full waste recycling, green power use, low PMI targets, and/or green chemistries) as a part of contracts with the next two years. A further 20 percent anticipate that CDMOs will be expected to show environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals as part of any supplier deals. Only 20 percent believe that only ‘cost and capabilities’ will remain an innovator’s single factor in assigning new contract decisions. 

“The 2023 CPHI event in Barcelona is our greenest to date, but we are also increasingly using the event as a platform to centralise debate, propagate best sustainability practices, and help our partners accelerate towards greener manufacturing methods,” commented Forroova.

Sustainability in the global pharmaceutical industry

Earlier this year, CPHI also launched its first sustainability report. This evaluated the sustainability developments across supply chain partners and details global initiatives currently underway. The Barcelona event is hosting a dedicated sustainability track on 25 October, as well as its first ever Sustainability Centre (Hall 8 F30).

“The trend in the industry is very clear, and we are seeing all supply chain partners exploring more efficient manufacturing processes… which also often brings cost benefits, as a more efficient process is typically cheaper,” Forroova added.

Further analysis of the findings released from CPHI Barcelona showed that only nine percent of the pharma companies stated they had ‘no current green manufacturing activities’.

At forty percent, the most popular initiatives currently in use across the industry are: ‘waste and water reduction programmes’. Other initiatives commonly being harnessed by the industry were: ‘process improvement working groups’ – including green chemistries, metal catalysis, continuous processing (33 percent); ‘manufacturing equipment optimisation’, eg, intelligent energy programmes and machine learning for process efficiency (32 percent), and ‘decarbonising company supply chains’ (29 percent).

CPHI Barcelona 2023 – Event preview