Sustainability in the pharmaceuticals and life sciences industry

Your expert for questions

Dr. Robert Paffen - PwC

Dr. Robert Paffen
Leader Risk & Regulatory, PwC Germany

Creating value for society

The pharmaceuticals and life sciences industry is uniquely positioned to create value for society as its innovations lay the foundation for universal health and thus prosperity. COVID-19 emphasizes the central importance of the industry for society and the economy. However, it also raises expectations and sharpens the focus towards the subject of sustainability in the industry.

Pharmaceuticals and life sciences companies are already heavily regulated. The increasing focus on sustainability among governments and international institutions will see these regulations expand, be it in the form of a carbon tax, which is already under discussion, further price regulations or restrictions placed on the use of antibiotics and insecticides in the agricultural sector.

Companies that take measures now can significantly reduce future costs and risks and simultaneously increase their value. We support our clients in mastering this challenge and create sustainable value for the company, society, and the environment.

“It is beneficial for pharmaceuticals and life sciences companies to take a step towards sustainability: Firms that pursue a sustainable strategy and solidify their reputation as a sustainable company will gain the trust of governments, global institutions, and other stakeholders – partners on whom the long-term success of the industry depends.”

Dr. Robert Paffen,Leader Risk & Regulatory, PwC Germany

Your situation

Targeting new challenges 

Industry players have previously promoted sustainability in a variety of ways, e.g. by donating products, launching initiatives to increase capacities in the healthcare system or improving operational processes. Presently, new challenges must be addressed:

  • How is it possible that companies in the pharmaceuticals and life sciences industry produce more emissions than the automotive industry?
  • Are companies unlocking their full potential when it comes to manufacturing and providing access to pharmaceuticals?
  • Are you prepared to manage the volume of patient data that are generated in connection with digitalisation as well as the accompanying requirements?
  • Have you defined a holistic approach and a comprehensive strategy regarding sustainability?

Setting the correct emphasis regarding sustainability

Environment – Clean operations and supply chains:
The pharmaceuticals and life sciences industry continues to emit large quantities of greenhouse gas emissions. Adjusting production processes and supply chains would not only be good for the environment but would also enhance value. Key environmental protection challenges include high energy consumption, global supply chains, environmental pollution in connection with the production of pharmaceutical products and large quantities of packaging waste.

Social criteria – Access to human and livestock medicine; food safety:
Despite continued attention, a lot of potential remains untapped. Companies need to focus on those challenges that align with their strategy, using all levers at their disposal – from research and development to pricing strategies and capacity building. Going forward, a strong focus will be placed on developing countries with fledgling agricultural sectors and healthcare systems.

Governance – Corporate Digital Responsibility (CDR), compliance and integrity:
Compliance subjects such as product quality, transparent collaboration with healthcare professionals and patients, and combating corruption remain important. Combined with new digital aspects, the industry is currently shifting away from traditional value chains to a patient-oriented business model. Data flows play a fundamental role in this. In order to obtain a sustainable and trustworthy business model, a high level of data protection must be guaranteed. Hence, highest ethical standards must be systematically established in order to successfully drive digitalisation forward within pharmaceuticals and life sciences companies. Corporate digital responsibility and compliance are thus gaining further importance for the industry.

Our services

Combining all relevant aspects to enhance sustainability

Enhancing sustainability requires cross-disciplinary expertise and a high level of coordination to lead to sustainable value creation. Our pharmaceuticals and life sciences experts are offering proven methodologies and an extensive portfolio of services that will guide you on your journey towards sustainability:

  • Strategy: Create clarity on your sustainability strategy, ambition level, and future positioning.
  • Operating model: Integrate sustainability into your organisation, processes, decision making, and KPI systems – including leverage of digital technology.
  • "Impact measurement": Provide transparency and comprehensive, reliable data on the impact of your business activities along the entire value chain, also taking into account social and environmental criteria.

In addition, we can couple our profound expertise regarding transformation with the know-how of our industry specialists:

  • Clean Operations transformation: We provide you with concepts for supply chain considering ESG criteria as well as risks, local characteristics, the energy transition, and sustainable packaging.
  • Access to medicine and securing the food supply: We develop tailored approaches that reinforce the business strategy, build strategic capabilities, and create sustainable impact for society. This includes reporting to and communicating with relevant stakeholders and rating agencies.
  • Corporate digital responsibility and compliance: We help protect your business processes and data against external attacks and internal misconduct. To this end, we develop bespoke concepts, advise you on the use of digital tools, processes, and trainings and ensure that your digital transformation aligns with ethical standards. A particular focus is placed on transparency and the compliance function concerning the collaboration with third parties such as healthcare professionals, patients or when concluding transactions and dealing with government representatives.

Our promise

Our specialised pharmaceuticals and life sciences sustainability team will guide you through the transformation towards more sustainability:

End to end: We offer full coverage of all transformation aspects from strategy to execution – including tools, data creation, and organisational embedment.

Holistic approach: We maintain close ties to industry stakeholders, including regulators, NGOs, and global/regional forums. We can detect directional changes fast – in pharma, crop science, and animal health.

Experience: We are experienced in navigating the high complexity of the pharmaceuticals and life sciences ecosystem on a global scale.

True value: We help you create sustainable value at three levels: financial performance, social aspects, and environmental benefits.

“Sustainability doesn’t work without transparency – over the past decade, public demand that pharmaceuticals and life sciences companies exhibit transparency in their environmental, social and governance (ESG) activities, including their contribution to the local economy, has steadily increased. Companies around the world have followed this trend by working to make the collaboration with healthcare professionals and patients more transparent by publishing annual transparency reports.”

Dr. Robert Paffen,Leader Risk & Regulatory, PwC Germany
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Contact us

Dr. Robert Paffen

Dr. Robert Paffen

Leader Risk & Regulatory, PwC Germany

Robert  Kammerer

Robert Kammerer

Partner, Sustainability Services, PwC Germany

Tel: +49 1511 4265-708

Roland M. Werner

Roland M. Werner

Partner, Leiter Gesundheitswirtschaft & Pharma, PwC Germany

Tel: +49 170 7628-557