Safeguarding the environment
Bachem takes responsibility for future generations by a careful handling of resources, and avoiding environmental risks. The Group has excellent environmental figures, with a comparatively low environmental impact as well as a level of resource consumption relative to economic output. The company’s goal is to continually improve its ecological performance, and to develop and implement new approaches for enhancing employees’ environmental awareness. The environmental parameters are measured at the four largest production sites of the Bachem Group. Here, the company employed 1,469 people in 2020 (compared to 1,200 in the previous year).
Energy Consumption and GHG Emissions
Bachem has set a goal of halving its greenhouse gas emissions per FTE by 2026 and achieving climate neutrality by 2030. Representing an important environmental impact, energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are monitored at all major sites. Bachem UK is an example. The tracked energy consumption per employee recorded a substantial 11% year-on-year decline to 113 GJ per employee whereas the CO2 emissions per employee dropped by 13%. As Bachem is growing fast, an increase in energy consumption and GHG emissions can be expected in coming years. However, adequate measures shall reduce relative values per employee. In 2020, an ambitious multi-year plan at Bachem’s Swiss sites was launched to reduce the increase in annual energy consumption by over 10,000 GJ, and in CO2 emissions by over 600 tons.
The focus in monitoring and reducing resource consumption is on water as a vital natural source. Systematic control and analysis of annual water consumption is in place, and corrective actions are taken in function of results. Moreover, employees are trained to use all resources responsibly. By that means total water consumption per employee could be kept constant at 106 m3 as compared to the previous year’s figure.
Bachem focuses to safeguard the environment through regular HSE routine inspections and environmental audits. Except at Bachem UK, where peptides are manufactured at small scale using automated equipment and closed processes, emissions are monitored. All emissions tracked were reduced in relative terms during the reporting period, from a slight 1% decrease in volatile organic compounds (VOC) emission to a reduction by more than half of the SO2 emissions to 0.21 kg/employee.
Waste and Recycling
It is Bachem’s ambition to efficiently and effectively manage the transport and disposal of effluents and waste in order to maximize safety and minimize environmental impacts. Bachem works closely with relevant local authorities where the Group’s plants are located. Wastewater is pre-treated to meet regulatory standards and discharged to publicly owned treatment facilities for final treatment that meets all state and federal requirements. Moreover, Bachem works diligently to reduce waste from its facility by using efficient capture and disposal or recycling procedures. Still, after a substantial decline last year, the volume of special waste disposed of per employee rose due to the significantly increased production output by 24% to 9,270 kg, close to the 2018 level of 9,965 kg.
Bachem undertakes continuous efforts in redesigning processes to minimize the use and generation of hazardous substances, thereby reducing its environmental impact. The Company develops more environmentally friendly alternatives to established peptide manufacturing technologies to complement and extend its technology platform. In total, 10 processes were under investigation and adjusted in 2020 in order to improve process efficiency and environmental friendliness. Relevant findings are published and presented at international conferences to support scientific progress. For part of this work, Bachem has partnered with other companies in the industry to join forces. These activities allow Bachem to support customers with the development of efficient and more sustainable manufacturing processes. Further significant progress is expected in the licensing agreement with Jitsubo for a more environmental-friendly technology as alternative to solid phase peptide synthesis (SPPS, Molecular Hiving™ ). Another example is a collaboration with Novo Nordisk to develop alternatives to certain solvents with greener alternatives. Bachem is an associate member of the American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute Pharmaceutical Roundtable to exchange information and ideas with other companies engaged in Green Chemistry, and to contribute to the goals of the American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute.
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