The initiative, which aims to reduce GSK’s carbon footprint by 25 percent by 2020, against a 2010 baseline, asks more than 500 of its suppliers to its manufacturing and R&D divisions globally to share and take forward practical ideas to improve energy efficiency and reduce environmental impacts.
GSK spends more than £2 billion ($3 billion) buying materials, and with more than 40 percent of its carbon footprint coming from the procurement of those materials, collaborating with suppliers to find solutions is critical, the company says.
Matt Wilson, head of GSK’s Global Environmental Sustainability Centre of Excellence, says the company established that 65 percent of its suppliers did not have a program in place to reduce energy costs. Additionally, no one single supplier had more than a 1 percent impact on GSK’s carbon footprint. This meant that the company had to help “an enormous number” of its suppliers reduce their carbon footprint to, in turn, reduce GSK’s.
To tackle this issue, the company set up a GSK Supplier Exchange with 2degrees, a collaboration platform for sustainable business. GSK collects carbon, water and waste data via Ecodesk, a collaborative database available through the supplier exchange platform, from more than 200 of the largest materials suppliers covering some £1 billion ($2 billion) of the spending on raw materials used in manufacturing and R&D. The Exchange enables suppliers to disclose data and share best practice and expertise to reduce impacts and source solutions.
GSK also runs energy reduction workshops at supplier sites. This has helped the largest energy users in its supply base identify and implement energy saving opportunities where, on average, they can save 5,000 metric tons of CO2 and reduce energy costs by 20 percent to 30 percent.
GSK publically recognizes its suppliers’ efforts to reduce their environmental impacts through the GSK Supplier Environmental Sustainability Award. Packaging supplier Albéa, which supplies GSK with tubes for its toothpaste, was the first to win the award for its energy efficiency program. GSK will be running the award again later this year.
GSK is one of 57 global companies, funds and associations that signed a letter to support a “robust 2030 energy and climate policy framework and energy security strategy that is fully in line with Europe’s long-term climate objectives and that can deliver a global climate change agreement at the 2015 Paris CoP.”