One of Octapharma's five core values puts sustainability at the heart of our operations and serves as a foundation for sustainable business practices.
The UN’s global environmental sustainability goals are the guiding force for Octapharma’s sustainability initiatives. Our long-term focus is primarily on the global goals where we as a company can contribute the most: fighting climate change; working towards sustainable water consumption; and contributing to sustainable energy use.
Johan Lindgren, Head of Corporate Technical Organisation, explains: “On a group level, Octapharma has set four key energy and environmental goals, which are all linked to the UN Sustainable Development Goals:
Reducing the emission of greenhouse gases
Reducing energy consumption
Reducing water consumption
Reducing contaminants in the waste flow.
Each year, each of our sites sets its own actions and improvements to contribute to the corporate KPI goals to minimize its impact on climate, waste and water, thus significantly reducing the company’s global environmental impact, while also helping to double our production volumes.”
Octapharma Vienna has launched several initiatives to improve the site’s CO2e footprint and energy balance. First amongst these was the creation of the Vienna Site Energy Team (SET VIE) at the end of 2021. Led by Sebastian Ortner, with members from divisions across the site, the team aims to:
Provide ideas and suggestions on how to improve energy savings
Support the site energy manager in implementing various measures
Bring in its own department-specific expertise
Actively participate in the SET VIE meetings
Several other projects have already been implemented or developed in Vienna, including:
Replacement of refrigeration systems
At the Vienna site, machines using high global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants are gradually being replaced by new systems with natural refrigerants (e.g., ammonia and CO2). In 2022, the PSA101 facility for basic fractionation was replaced by two CO2 chillers in order to reduce the site’s environmental emissions.
Steam trap and safety valve audit
All of the approximately 650 steam traps and 50 safety valves for steam at the Vienna site are checked and maintained annually in order to avoid high energy (steam) losses.
Ethanol is recycled at the Vienna site by recovering it from the waste “mash” (an ethanol-production waste–water mixture) with the help of a rectification column (distillery). Octapharma has been making an important contribution to the circular economy and resource conservation with this ethanol recycling for many years. This year, the recycling efficiency of the plant has been further improved by the addition of several new rectification columns.
“Due to the current energy and environmental situation, it is more important than ever to drive forward appropriate measures for the ongoing reduction of our environmental emissions,” Sebastian explains.
Sustainability is central to OSA’s strategy. “We’ve been integrating sustainability into our local corporate culture for several years and we encourage colleagues across our operations to adopt an environmentally sustainable mindset,” says Amélie Blum, Corporate Social Responsibility Officer at OSA.
That mindset has driven several important initiatives in 2022, including:
Better recovery of waste: 79% of non‑hazardous waste (material and energy) is recovered at the site (compared to 50% in 2021)
Local waste treatment: 95% of OSA’s waste is treated within 20 kilometres of the site
Better management of waste collection: waste skips are now only collected on demand
Elimination of plastic bottles and distribution of reusable water bottles at the site
“Successful delivery of our environmental sustainability strategy will require leadership, innovation, investment and change,” says Yann Veronneau, Head of Technical Unit and responsible for sustainability at the French production site.
“We know that if we want to succeed, we must be sustainable,” says Jacob Bergdahl, Head of Technical Unit. “That is why sustainability is built into our business strategy.”
The core of the sustainability work is based on continuous improvement.
Since 2015, OAB has:
Reduced energy consumption by about 30% / tonne of plasma
A pre-column for ethanol distillation was installed in 2017 and production switched to LED lighting in 2019. Since 2021, energy mapping has identified future energy-saving measures.
Reduced water consumption by about 20% / tonne of plasma and worked to eliminate waterborne pollutants
Triton X-100 collection was introduced in 2018; the site optimised water consumption in cleaning processes in 2021 and transitioned to nitrogen-free pH adjustment of water in 2022.
Become a fossil fuel-free production facility
The site transitioned from an oil-fired to an electric steam boiler in 2016, moved to renewable electricity in 2018 and now uses 100% renewable electricity. OAB transitioned to 100% renewable biodiesel for backup power in 2021; heat surplus is now used for heating; and the site achieved fossil-free heating in 2022. As a result, total CO2 equivalent emissions per year have been reduced from 8,157 tonnes to 943 tonnes.
F-gas compressors were replaced with more environmentally friendly coolants in 2021.
Solar collectors were introduced in the Arlanda Stad Logistic centre during 2022. The installation will cover 40% of total energy demand in the logistics centre.
“Today, Octapharma AB has a functional environmental management system and an established environmental and energy group that works systematically at a site-wide level,” adds Jacob.
Octapharma Springe, like all Octapharma sites, evaluates the materials and processes used to manufacture our products and proactively seeks to reduce their environmental impact.
“We are united by a desire to push the boundaries of manufacturing to deliver life-changing medicines in a way that is respectful of our planet,” says Ralf Brinkmann, Head of Technical Unit at Octapharma Springe. “By embedding sustainability in everything we do – from production facilities to the patient – we are helping to strengthen healthcare systems so that they are more accessible and resilient.”
This integrated sustainable approach has already achieved a reduction of 900 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year through the use of an exhaust gas neutralisation system for cleaning waste water. Other significant initiatives include: heat recovery from ventilation systems; the use of heat pumps in central cooling; the use of NH3 (ammonia) as a natural refrigerant; and the consistent replacement of conventional lighting with LEDs.
“We are actively working on the development of a more sustainable energy supply by using renewable energies such as wind and solar power,” adds Ralf. “Ultimately, this will enable us to generate steam without burning fossil materials.”