GSK announces major renewable energy investment and low carbon inhaler programme alongside Life Sciences sector Race to Zero ‘breakthrough’ at NYC Climate Week
- Company announces £50m investment in renewable energy and carbon reduction at major UK and US manufacturing sites as CEO Emma Walmsley takes part in opening event for New York Climate Week today
- New R&D programme also announced to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from rescue metered dose inhalers, responsible for 45% of GSK’s carbon emissions
- Announcements made alongside Life Sciences sector Race to Zero ‘breakthrough’ with 20% of industry now committed to net zero carbon emissions by 2050
- New programmes support delivery of GSK goals of achieving net zero impact on climate and net positive impact on nature by 2030
GSK has today announced significant updates on efforts to achieve the company’s environmental goals, including major new investment in renewable electricity at global manufacturing sites in the UK and US and a new initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its rescue metered dose asthma inhalers which account for almost half of the company’s carbon emissions.
These investments, which also coincide with confirmation today of the global pharmaceutical and medical technology sector reaching its Race to Zero ‘breakthrough’ target of 20% of major companies (by revenue) committing to net zero carbon emissions by 2050, were announced as GSK Chief Executive Officer, Emma Walmsley, participates in the opening event for New York Climate Week.
GSK investment in sustainable energy
GSK is announcing that it is reducing use of carbon in manufacturing through a major £50m investment in UK and US manufacturing sites to secure renewable power generation to support the target of sourcing 100% of global electricity usage from renewables by 2025.
At its Irvine manufacturing facility in Scotland, the largest consumer of energy in the GSK global network, the company will invest in a long term project for 2 new wind turbines (8 MW) and a 56 acre, 20 MW solar farm through a new 20 year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with partner, The Farm Energy Company. The project will save 10,000 tonnes of CO2 p.a. and make a major contribution to reaching 85% on-site energy generation (55% from renewables).
GSK Irvine is a dedicated β-lactam manufacturing site, delivering a secure and sustainable global supply of active ingredients for GSK antibiotics. The facility accounts for 40% of the CO2 emissions of GSK’s UK manufacturing facilities due to its large-scale fermentation and distillation operations.
In addition, at Oak Hill in New York, a major manufacturing facility in GSK’s Consumer Healthcare network, GSK is confirming today that through new investment in solar energy production, it will achieve the landmark of converting 70% of power consumption to solar energy by the end of 2021.
GSK currently estimates that it has reduced carbon emissions in its operations by 10% over the last year, including switching to renewable energy for its Wavre vaccine site in Belgium.
Greenhouse gas reduction programme for GSK rescue metered dose inhalers
GSK also announced today that it has initiated an R&D programme to redevelop and redesign its rescue metered dose inhalers, building on its existing GSK low carbon maintenance therapy options. A new lower greenhouse gas propellant is now in pre-clinical assessment, with the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its inhalers by 90%. 45% of GSK’s carbon emissions come from asthma patients using our metered dose inhalers for rescue medication. If successful, this initiative would result in significant investment in a major new manufacturing facility for the production of these new inhalers. This work is part of a range of initiatives GSK has put in place applying scientific innovation to assess and where possible, reduce the impact on climate and nature of GSK products.
GSK Chief Executive Officer, Emma Walmsley, said: “The science is clear that nature loss and climate change are already harming human health, so we must act now to protect and restore the planet’s health if we are to protect and improve people’s health. At New York Climate Week and COP26 later this year, we must redouble our collective efforts to address climate change and nature loss, and that’s why I’m delighted with the new steps we are announcing today, which are a major part of delivering GSK’s commitment to have a net zero impact on climate and net positive impact on nature by 2030.
For GSK, our sustainability commitments are an integral part of our strategy, making our business more resilient, protecting our operations and ultimately helping us to achieve health impact on a global scale while delivering returns for our shareholders.”
Sector Race to Zero progress announced
New York Climate Week also sees confirmation of the pharmaceutical and medical technology sector reaching its Race to Zero breakthrough target of 20% of major companies (by revenue) committing to net zero carbon emissions by 2050. To build on this sector milestone, GSK will look to drive further progress by working with industry suppliers to support this ambition and join the Race to Zero. This recognises the fact that while good progress is being made, a significant proportion of industry carbon footprint is beyond the operations of pharmaceutical companies themselves, requiring partnership across the supplier and partner landscape to achieve sector Race to Zero targets.
GSK is a science-led global healthcare company. For further information please visit www.gsk.com/about-us.
Cautionary statement regarding forward-looking statements
GSK cautions investors that any forward-looking statements or projections made by GSK, including those made in this announcement, are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those projected. Such factors include, but are not limited to, those described in the Company's Annual Report on Form 20-F for 2020 and any impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.