Healthy Planet, Healthy People: a Pathway for Green Transition in the Biopharmaceutical Ecosystem
Brussels, 26 October 2021- On the 25th of October, as part of its 25th Anniversary programme, EuropaBio and member Novartis invited the healthcare community and relevant stakeholders to focus on the green transition and how it will shape healthcare for us all.
Event speakers were:
• Carmen Laplaza, Head of Unit, Health Innovations and Ecosystems, DG Research and Innovation
• Montserrat Montaner, Chief Sustainability Officer, Novartis
• Jutta Paulus, Member of the European Parliament, Group of the Greens, Germany
• Dr. Wouter De Soete, Manager Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Pharmaceutical Engineering & Manufacturing, University of Ghent
• Kristin Schreiber, Director, Directorate Ecosystems: Chemicals, Food, Retail, Health, DG Grow, European Commission
Dr. Claire Skentelbery, Director General, EuropaBio moderated the discussion.
The event was kicked off with opening comments from Jutta Paulus, MEP, Group of the Greens. Mrs Paulus stressed the importance of better preparedness for the next pandemics and, at the same time, lowering our impact on biodiversity and the environment. According to MEP Paulus, only when we find a more sustainable way to manage wastewater and animals and produce materials, including biopharmaceuticals, can we protect ourselves from further environmental damage.
Montse Montaner, Chief Sustainability Officer of Novartis continued the discussion, with some key Novartis priorities regarding sustainability of biopharmaceuticals. She stated that Novartis has a goal to minimise impact on the planet, reach carbon neutrality across the value chain by 2030 and become net zero by 2040. Novartis also aims to be water sustainable and plastic neutral by 2030.
Carmen Laplaza, Head of Unit, Health Innovations and Ecosystems, DG Research and Innovation, pointed out that the tendency of pharmaceutical manufacturing leaving the European Union, creates vulnerabilities in the supply chain which needs to be addressed, not only from the environmental point perspective but also taking into account economic and health related issues. She stated that various EC instruments in the context of Horizon Europe such as collaborative grants, partnerships and missions are addressing these ongoing challenges.
Wouter De Soete, Manager of the Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Pharmaceutical Engineering & Manufacturing, University of Ghent, highlighted that integrating sustainability aspects early in the biomanufacturing process helps to position sustainability not as a burden but rather as an opportunity for business and innovation. He also stressed the importance of the knowledge triangle, a key ingredient to creating local ecosystems that can attract investments.
Kristin Schreiber, Director, Directorate Ecosystems: Chemicals, Food, Retail, Health, DG Grow stated that the European Commission is looking at the co-creation process together with industry, public authorities and social partners to establish green and digital pathways for the different ecosystems. She added that the sustainability aspect must be very much in the forefront and include a much better understanding of the cost long-term benefits.