GlaxoSmithKline's increased sales result in bigger carbon footprint

GlaxoSmithKline's carbon footprint has increased by 7% from 2010 levels due to increased sales of the company's inhalers.

The use and disposal of inhalers account for approximately 35% of GSK's value chain carbon footprint

The use and disposal of inhalers account for approximately 35% of GSK's value chain carbon footprint

In its latest Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report, the company says that it has reduced the carbon footprint from energy for operations by 15% compared to 2010 but increased sales have resulted in a rise in the carbon footprint of product transportation.

The use and disposal of the company's metered dose inhalers account for approximately 35% of its value chain carbon footprint and increased inhaler sales in 2012 resulted in a 12% rise in greenhouse gas emissions from inhaler use, compared to 2010.

GSK CEO Andrew Witty said: "We recognise there is more we can do and we will continue to challenge ourselves to find new approaches to create value for both society and shareholders and to improve lives around the world. That is why we are setting out new long-term commitments which will allow those outside the company to track our progress and hold us to account more effectively."

The company says that it has a number of carbon reduction projects underway that should enable it to reach its interim target to cut the company's value chain carbon footprint by 10% to 13.5 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent by 2015.

In the report, GSK says that it will reduce its overall carbon footprint by 25% by 2020, compared to 2010, and have a carbon neutral value chain by 2050.

It will also reduce its water impact across the value chain by 20% by 2020 and reduce operational waste by 50%.

Commenting on GSK's environmental results, director of the NHS Sustainable Development Unit, David Pencheon, said: "All companies and organisations, both public and private, are closely examining how they can add social and business value while operating within financial and environmental limits".

He added that GSK had risen to this challenge by being committed to examining the environmental footprints of their products and services.

However, Pencheon stressed that GSK will need to improve the environmental efficiency of their products and services, and at the same time acknowledge that they may need to adapt their core business to move towards services that promote and protect health.

The company is also looking into the environmental impact of one of its most well-known brands, Horlicks.

Horlicks is the second largest source of carbon emissions in the company's product range, after inhalers, estimated at 800,000 tonnes CO2.

The company says that if it can cut emissions from Horlicks it will "take an important step towards meeting our climate change goals".

Leigh Stringer


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