GlaxoSmithKline targets carbon hungry Horlicks

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has identified its Horlicks brand as the second largest generator of carbon emissions from its entire product range.

The consumer healthcare giant has been measuring both the direct and indirect carbon impacts across all of its product divisions and found that the coal-fired processes used to manufacture the malted milk drink were mainly responsible for this.

As a result, GSK plans to replace its fossil fuel powered plants with locally sourced biomass wherever possible to mitigate these impacts.

The company’s supply chain sustainability leader Matt Wilson, who was speaking at the 2degrees supply chain event in London today, told delegates that the impact of its supply chain operations “drives a third of our footprint”.

Around 80% of GSK’s overall carbon footprint comes from indirect emissions with 40% of this resulting from the use phase of its products, such as propellants in inhalers – its biggest carbon impact product.

Wilson said the company was working to develop lower-emission alternatives to current inhaler technologies, such as the use of dry powder which contains no propellent.

The majority of GSK’s inhalers now contain hydrofluoroalkanes (HFAs), which have a lower climate change impact, and the company is exploring ways to reduce further the amount of HFAs released.

Wilson also told delegates that it was GSK’s ambition to be “top level carbon-neutral” by 2050 and it had put in place staggered targets to help reach this goal – mainly to reduce its carbon footprint by 10% by 2015 and by 25% by 2020.

Maxine Perella

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