Tracking GSK’s value chain emissions and reductions year on year

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How can the biopharma industry take control of its value chain emissions? 

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 pharmaceutical 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 wanted to create a consistent approach to calculating the full carbon impact of its value chain. In 2014, it turned to the Carbon Trust to create a tool in line with international standards. Since then, we have been working on an annual basis to update the tool and integrate the results within a Power BI dashboard to support GSK in tracking their emission reductions on a yearly basis.

Value chain footprint

A company’s value chain footprint covers emissions produced by company’s activities across the full value chain. It covers the emissions generated by suppliers, distributors and consumers, e.g., through the purchase of services and goods, business travel and waste in operations. It also encompasses activities like leased assets, transport and distribution, the use and disposal of sold products and the impact of any investments. The Greenhouse Gas Protocol’s Scope 3 Standard has identified 15 categories across upstream and downstream activities.

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A tool to evaluate the carbon impact of procurement decisions

We worked with GSK to understand how the company can best leverage the data from its existing reports. The final output was an Excel-based tool which evaluates the carbon impact of GSK’s global value chain. The tool combines existing life cycle assessment data for raw materials that GSK purchases with economic input-output data for other areas of spend. The outputs are then integrated within a Power BI dashboard to allow for the visualisation of emission hotspots and track reductions annually. The tool:

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Allocates emissions between GSK business units to identify key hotspots and inform individual reduction initiatives.

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Grades the data quality of all activities. From this, the tool flags areas where better-quality data should be collected.

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Features analytics that highlight where carbon reduction opportunities exist across GSK’s value chain.


Increased confidence in GSK’s full value chain footprint and subsequent climate action 

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 operations.