Navigating sustainability more confidently to champion a greener future for all

Published: 31-Oct-2023

No longer just a buzzword, sustainability is now a powerful call to action. As the global community unites in pursuit of a brighter world for people and the planet, nutraceutical businesses find themselves at the forefront of this transformative journey

Trying to safely and effectively achieve global human health, while minimising any impact on the planet, is like walking a tightrope. However, there are actions that organisations can take to become more environmentally responsible.

In this Q&A with Dr Kevin Robinson (KSR), Luis Solera (LS), CEO at Bioiberica, details how life science companies are blazing a trail to championing sustainability.

In addition to illuminating the unique challenges that businesses face in the human health and nutrition sphere, he shares invaluable strategies to navigate the complexities of sustainable initiatives and unveils Bioiberica’s bold plans to craft a greener future. 

KSR: What are some of the key initiatives that businesses can employ to shape a more sustainable future for people and the planet?

LS: To create a sustainable future, businesses must take a multifaceted approach. First, it’s essential to reduce their overall carbon footprint. This can be achieved by embracing renewable power sources, improving energy efficiency and minimising waste.

Navigating sustainability more confidently to champion a greener future for all

For example, investing in energy efficient technologies or processes and implementing waste reduction programmes helps to reduce their carbon footprint. 

Companies should prioritise the responsible sourcing of materials and ensure that their supply chains adhere to sustainable practices too. Fostering a culture of responsibility among employees and stakeholders can help to engrain these systems within a business.

Lastly, collaboration with like-minded organisations and supporting local communities can contribute to a more prosperous future. It really does take an “all hands on deck” approach. 

KSR: What are the biggest obstacles to achieving corporate sustainability goals?

LS: Initiating — and achieving — sustainability goals is no mean feat. First and foremost, it requires a long-term commitment and investment. Transitioning to sustainable practices can involve upfront costs (in technology, infrastructure and training, for example) and it may take some time to see any benefit.

Supply chains can also be complex in this industry, involving various suppliers and raw materials that often operating on a global scale. As a result, ensuring sustainability throughout the supply chain can be even more challenging.

Some businesses can be deterred by this, even though the long-term savings and benefits can be substantial. My greatest advice here is to remain patient. 

Aligning sustainability objectives with regulatory compliance can be equally tricky and time-consuming. Companies within the human health and nutrition industry must adhere to strict regulations worldwide regarding product quality and safety, and any sustainability initiatives must also be compliant.

In addition, measuring and reporting progress — accurately — is a hurdle that many businesses face. Companies need effective metrics and reporting systems to assess the environmental and social benefits of their efforts.

My recommendation is to ensure that robust metrics and transparent reporting procedures are in place from the beginning to effectively track and communicate sustainability achievements.

KSR: What are your top tips to break down barriers to progression?

LS: There are many ways to approach the hurdles linked to corporate sustainability goals; for me, though, breaking down barriers requires leadership, commitment and collaboration. Here are some of my top tips for players in the industry.

  • Leadership loyalty: Sustainability should be a top-down commitment. These sorts of initiatives often require a significant shift in company culture and processes. When leaders in a business prioritise and champion greener policies, the more likely they are to become ingrained in corporate culture. 
  • Set clear goals: Define specific, measurable and time-bound objectives. Having clear targets makes it easier to track progress and adjust if required. 
  • Engage stakeholders: Get employees, suppliers, customers and the wider community involved in your sustainability initiatives. Their insights and support are invaluable. Although a challenge in itself, educating and training your workforce (and stakeholders) to embrace these changes is essential.
  • Assess, adjust, improve: Sustainability is an ongoing journey … and we’re all learning! There will be mistakes along the way and circumstances will change. With this in mind, my advice is to regularly review and refine your strategies to adapt to any changes, emerging challenges and new opportunities.

    To support our own business at Bioiberica, we’ve developed a sustainability policy based on ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance). ESG is a set of standards that measures a company’s collective impact on society, environment and how transparent and accountable it is. By implementing a strategy based on ESG, we’re able to demonstrate that we’re adapting our processes to meet environmental legislation. 
  • Remain transparent: Communicate openly and honestly about your sustainability efforts and progress. That’s the good, the bad and the ugly. Businesses within the human health arena will appreciate all sustainability stories, including your successes, challenges and lessons learned. Open communication also nurtures collaboration with industry peers; and, who knows, maybe you will gain some valuable insights, expertise and support in return? 

KSR: How is Bioiberica contributing to a greener future?

LS: As a corporation, we’re acutely aware of the impact that our operations have on the environment, and deeply committed to creating a positive influence on the planet to ignite a more promising future for people, animals and plants.

We’re investing in sustainable practices across all of our processes, from the sourcing of raw materials (responsibly) to reducing energy consumption and waste generation. 

Navigating sustainability more confidently to champion a greener future for all

A key avenue through which we manifest this commitment is by actively contributing to the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs).

As part of this pledge, we are steadfastly working towards a substantial reduction of 30% in our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030 — and striving for complete climate neutrality by 2050. 

Embedded in the core of our manufacturing processes is our circular economy model. At Bioiberica, we’re experts in making the most of each and every one of the raw materials we work with to minimise resource waste.

During the manufacturing process of our pharmaceutical and nutraceutical products for human health, we also obtain other valuable coproducts for animal feed production and agriculture.

We have meticulously designed our production systems to minimise water consumption, energy usage and the utilisation of auxiliary raw materials.

Since 2006, we’ve successfully reused approximately 21% of our purified wastewater, channelling it into various activities across our manufacturing operations.

But our aspirations don’t stop there; we want to boost this reuse to 50%. Additionally, we have set our sights on achieving a major milestone in our energy sourcing practices by 2024, at which point we plan to power our electrical supply with 100% renewable sources. 

The key takeaway?

Sustainability isn't just a trend. It's a fundamental shift in how we envision progress. Companies like Bioiberica are a catalyst for change, championing a greener, more equitable world for all.

If there’s one takeaway message for businesses in the nutraceutical industry, it’s this: by embracing and addressing environmental challenges, setting clear sustainability goals and fostering a culture of environmental consciousness and responsibility, they can and will pave the way for a more resilient future. 

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