For Pharma and Biotech, It's Easy Being Green

Reading an article online today from the Boston Herald on how AstraZeneca is outfitting its new Waltham, Mass. R&D center with the latest and greatest green bells and whistles . . . it's good to see, but hardly surprising. We've devoted quite a bit of coverage over the last few months to how life sciences companies continue to push forward with energy saving and other green initiatives despite (and even because of) the state of the economy. This comes at a time when (and the Herald article quotes a Robert Half survey supporting this) many manufacturers in other industries are reining in their green and sustainability efforts. What pharma and biotech companies readily realize is that green initiatives pay for themselves in myriad ways. The cover story from our October issue, Pharma's Green Evolution, emphasizes this. One of those I interviewed for the story was Wyeth Pearl River energy manager Bill Edsall, who told me he's been fully supported to target not just the low-hanging fruit (HVAC in particular), but also to improve metrics and more sophisticated means of tracking and managing energy consumption. Edsall told me that he looks forward to being part of Pfizer, now that the companies' deal is complete, because Pfizer has even higher targets for carbon footprint reduction. That is, he should continue to get plenty of corporate support.

We also conducted a webcast last month on The Greening of Pharma and, while I'm biased, it really is a great program if you have time for a look and listen. (It's free with registration.) EPA's Walt Tunnessen led off the program talking about how Energy Star is supporting pharma's green efforts, followed by Pfizer's Kathy Young and Merck's Rob Colucci.  What was amazing to me as I moderated the event is how much detailed information both Young and Colucci shared about their respective corporate energy initiatives. (I particularly liked Young's discussion of the dashboard she has set up to monitor energy usage throughout the Kalamazoo facility--it's something she has piloted and hopes to pass on to other Pfizer sites.) Like any aspect of a manufacturer's operations, energy management done well can be a real competitive advantage. And so for these two professionals to freely share best practices with our audience was terrific, though as the Herald article suggests not all that unusual in the life sciences.

It's easy being green (no offense, Kermit) for life sciences companies these days . . . something to be proud of. Sure, the industry can use the good PR, but more importantly it is positioning itself for a healthier and more competitive future.





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  • <p>The processes and methods of agriculture have been refined by other mechanical and biological sciences since its inception. -<a href="">Dr. Naveed Fazlani</a></p>


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