GlaxoSmithKline - value chain footprint

Woman and man in laboratory

GSK has set ambitious goals to reduce carbon, water and waste across its value chain – from the sourcing of raw materials and the impacts of its own labs and factories, to the use and disposal of its products by patients and consumers.

As a global healthcare company with a mission to help people do more, feel better and live longer, the rationale for an environmentally-conscious approach is clear. Environmental challenges like climate change and deforestation exacerbate health issues and undermine efforts to overcome inequalities around the world. To achieve its environmental objectives, GSK needed to measure, allocate and track emissions to isolate specific hotspot areas across the value chain.

GSK worked with the Carbon Trust in 2014 to estimate the full value chain greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint of its business. This took into account all emissions associated with the company’s activities: from the production of raw materials through to the end-of-life impact of the products it sells.

Making it work

We worked with GSK to understand how to leverage data from their existing reports. The final output was an Excel-based tool which included:

A hybrid approach to evaluating the impacts of purchased goods and services, combining existing life cycle assessment data for raw materials with economic input-output data for other areas of spend

  • Allocation of emissions between GSK business units
  • Grading the data quality of all activities and providing a summary of where better quality data is required
  • Detailed analytics to show where carbon reduction opportunities exist across the supply chain
The Environmental Sustainability Centre of Excellence within GSK has worked with the Carbon Trust on numerous projects. We have found them focused, thorough and time-effective in their execution of the project briefs. Their breadth of knowledge enabled us to collaborate successfully to build an easy to use tool to evaluate our value chain carbon footprint and update it on an annual basis.

Richard Henderson, EHS Performance and Reporting Lead, GSK

Positive outcomes

Since the completion of our work, GSK has used the tool on an annual basis to calculate and update its value chain footprint. This has enabled GSK to report and track results with confidence, both internally and externally, against its corporate goals. 

The model has given GSK the information and data to prioritise interventions in key areas throughout its value chain for carbon reduction. This has led to a series of targeted initiatives at different points across the value chain, working with suppliers, partners and employees to reduce their environmental impacts, to support existing sustainability efforts within GSK’s own operations.

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