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Trends in Pharma

MphaR Green Initiative

Written by Natalia Denisova, PhD VP, Head of Medical Affairs MphaR
March 9, 2023

Global warming

Earth’s global average temperature in 2021 has been crowned as the sixth warmest on record, according to independent analyses done by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Carbon dioxide (CO₂) levels and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere rose around 180 mega tonnes (Mt) above in 2021 as it set its own records against the pre-pandemic period 2019. Moreover, Carbon dioxide emissions rose to 6% increase that gravely affected the global economic output. As a result, climate change is affecting every country on every continent. It is disrupting national economies and affecting lives. Weather patterns are changing, sea levels are rising, and weather events are becoming more extreme.

Civil aviation – which includes all passenger and cargo flights – accounts for 2% of annual global greenhouse gas emissions. This might look small, but this comes from only the 5% of the global population who can afford to fly. A transatlantic round trip can emit greenhouse gases equivalent to 1.6 tonnes of CO₂ per person.

Greenhouse gas emissions from the aviation sector are a substantial contributor to global warming. If the aviation industry were a country, it would place sixth in emissions, between Japan and Germany. Left unchecked global aviation will generate an estimated 43 metric giga tons of carbon dioxide emissions through 2050, constituting almost 5% of the global emissions allowable to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius. This is because air travel does not only emit CO₂: it affects the climate in several more complex ways. As well as emitting CO₂ from burning fuel, planes affect the concentration of other gases and pollutants in the atmosphere. They result in a short-term increase, but a long-term decrease in ozone (O3); a decrease in methane (CH4); emissions of water vapour; soot; sulphur aerosols; and water contrails. While some of these impacts result in warming, others induce a cooling effect. Overall, the warming effect is stronger.

Pharma Industry and impact on Carbon emission

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) formally published a declaration for climate and ecological emergency as it caters to provide a healthy environment for a healthy and safe future. As a result, this society is wholly committed to taking action to tackle the climate and ecological emergency. Alongside that, many other pharmaceutical companies and organizations were invited to attend advisory boards, steering committees, and other successful scientific events. This means if we count with an average 750 km/h flight velocity that makes a total of cca 7 454 tons of CO₂  kg of CO₂ per year.

Global efforts and commitments to control Global Warming

The UN SG states that 2021 is a “make or break year” to confront the global climate emergency and bring out a change. In BiH, ahead of COP26, the UN is mobilizing support for climate action. Furthermore, the United Kingdom, in partnership with Italy, hosted the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow on 1st – 12th of November 2021.
The COP26 summit will bring parties together to readily accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

As countries move toward rebuilding their economies after COVID-19, recovery plans can shape the 21st-century economy in ways that are clean, green, healthy, safe, and more resilient. The current crisis is an opportunity for a profound, systemic shift to a more sustainable economy that works for both people and the planet. The UN Secretary-General has proposed 6 climate-positive actions for governments to take once they go about building back their economies and societies:

  1. Green transition: Investments must accelerate the decarbonisation of all aspects of our economy.
  2. Green jobs and sustainable and inclusive growth.
  3. Green economy: making societies and people more resilient through a transition that is fair to all and leaves no one behind.
  4. Invest in sustainable solutions: fossil fuel subsidies must end, and polluters must pay for their pollution.
  5. Confront all climate risks.
  6. Cooperation – no country can succeed alone.

To address the climate emergency, post-pandemic recovery plans need to trigger long-term systemic shifts that will change the trajectory of CO₂ levels in the atmosphere. Governments around the world have spent considerable time and effort in recent years to develop plans to chart a safer and more sustainable future for their citizens. Taking these on board now as part of recovery planning can help the world build back better from the current crisis.

Pharma’s contribution to reducing the Carbon emissions

2020 proved to be the year without extensive travelling. However, it did not affect the business result of any Pharmaceutical Company. However, after the lockdown was lifted, Pharmaceutical Companies were able to exhibit their utmost dedication and skills to save the environment more efficiently in 2021 as the lockdown has been uplifted which ushers a series of more effective ways to serve the climate. Many Global Pharma Companies made the commitment to reduce in the future unnecessary travelling to provide their contribution to the Paris Agreement and the commitment done by the Governments of many countries Worldwide.

MphaR commitment through the project Green Initiative

MphaR is developing different digital platforms to be used by Pharmaceutical Companies to keep the commitment to reduce unnecessary travelling for employees and HCPs. Learn more

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