The Swiss pharmaceutical industry wants to increase its competitiveness through sustainability. Generic image: Roche

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Swiss pharmaceutical industry sees sustainability as opportunity

22 September 2022 12:42

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Basel - Sustainability is a great opportunity for the Swiss pharmaceutical sector according to a new report. Companies such as Roche and Lonza are already implementing various projects. Switzerland provides good overall conditions. A cross-industry approach is now needed.

The Swiss pharmaceutical sector could play a leading role in sustainability according to a new report. This is the summary of the results from an industry conference within the context of this year’s Swiss Biotech Days in Basel, where representatives from pharmaceutical companies have discussed the opportunities and challenges of a green approach. Overall, they are convinced that sustainability could increase the industry’s competitiveness.

Sustainable projects are already underway

Several companies from the Swiss pharmaceutical industry are already supporting greater sustainability with their respective strategies. One such highlighted project is Circular Carbon for Chemistry, jointly run by Roche and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH). This aims to promote the use of biobased materials and sustainable alternatives in chemicals and plastics. Furthermore, Roche plans to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050. Meanwhile, the pharmaceutical supplier Lonza plans to obtain its electricity solely from carbon-neutral sources by 2050, for example.

Switzerland provides good basic conditions

According to the report, Switzerland provides good basic conditions for sustainable production. Sanna Fowler, Head of Divisional Projects, Biologics at Lonza, states that Swiss manufacturers are in a good position because they can use energy generated by hydropower. She adds that this means, for example, that energy-intensive production of monoclonal antibodies in Switzerland using hydropower is more sustainable than antibody production elsewhere. The extremely high innovative power of Switzerland versus other countries is also highlighted. This has the potential to revolutionize the biopharmaceutical sector.

A joint approach is needed

The report states that a cross-sector approach is required for the Swiss pharmaceutical industry to play a leading role in sustainability. This means implementing common standards and overcoming challenges together. Collaboration also helps with developing holistic sustainability solutions that cover the entire pharmaceutical value chain.

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