Pfizer 2011 Annual Review | Pfizer: the world's largest research-based pharmaceutical company

Environment – Pfizer's
Green Journey

We are committed to a more sustainable future. To us, advancing health includes being good stewards of the environment.

We take a strategic, integrated approach to our environmental initiatives with the goals of moderating our consumption of resources, reducing our effects on the environment and increasing our energy efficiency.

Pfizer's baseline commitment is to comply with all applicable environmental, health and safety (EHS) laws and our own internal standards. We have sophisticated approaches to assessing and managing risks designed to make certain that we have the most rigorous controls in place where they are most needed. Our approach to EHS includes extensive audits and reviews. People at all levels of the company are involved with managing environmental risk, beginning with oversight by the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors and extending through teams at each of our major sites. For more information on our EHS program including compliance and environmental remediation, please see

An Environmental Sustainability Council governs our "green journey" program and focuses on three areas key to our business: helping to mitigate climate change and its impacts; minimizing the environmental impact of our products and processes by advancing stewardship across the supply chain and life cycle of our products; and managing water resources in a sustainable way.

2011 Highlights

  • Pfizer has harnessed the power of the wind at its global supply facility in Puurs, Belgium. A 45-story wind turbine will supply 5,100 megawatts per year, or 12 percent of the electricity consumed by the Puurs site, reducing the production unit's annual carbon footprint by 2,040 tons. The wind turbine's life cycle is about 20 years, and will pay for itself in less than four years.
  • Through the efforts of Pfizer's Green Chemistry teams across the globe, Lyrica is now greener with less energy used resulting in an 80 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. Pregabalin, the active ingredient in Lyrica, is made using biocatalysis (nature's enzymes), less solvents and fewer raw materials.
  • We are committed to significantly reducing our product packing while protecting the quality of our products. We have recently debuted a folding carton using recycled cardboard, one of the eco-friendly packaging initiatives at Pfizer that help reduce the company's environmental footprint. The new packaging will gradually become standard for all Norvasc packs produced by our Illertissen, Germany, site with the intent to have all products packaged at the site (Celebrex, Cardura, Relpax, Toviaz, Mono Mack, Champix, Zeldox and Vfend) use similar packing in the future.
  • A new company initiative is helping U.S. health care professionals return empty styrofoam shipping containers for Prevnar 13. The containers maintain the product at specific temperatures, necessary to ensure product quality during shipping. Through the Pfizer ProPak Initiative, we are providing customers with directions for prepaid shipping and receiving approximately 60 percent of our outbound shipments back for recycling.
  • Pfizer Newbridge won the Irish National Sustainable Energy Award for its environmental awareness program, "You Have the Power." Since its launch in January 2011, "You Have the Power" has set the direction and goals for the site's environmental sustainability program, and has been a great source of colleague engagement through building awareness, knowledge sharing, active project participation and recognition for energy results achieved.
  • The International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering recently recognized Pfizer as its 2011 Company of the Year for Pfizer's work in providing a consistent level of leadership and support for the global pharmaceutical industry. In addition, eight Pfizer facilities were candidates for the 2011 Facility of the Year Award and two were category winners — Strängnäs, Sweden, and Freiburg, Germany. Strängnäs was recognized for Operational Excellence for its Pegasus - Bio 7 Manufacturing Facility, while Freiburg was acknowledged for Environmental Sustainability based on its Strategic Plant Restructuring and Energy Master Plan project.

Mitigating Climate Change and Its Effects

Pfizer has long recognized the risks posed by global climate change, such as more severe weather events and potential adverse impacts on human health, and has, as a precautionary step, taken significant voluntary action to reduce its own greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. We have reduced our GHG emissions by 40 percent since 2000. In 2011, we published our Climate Change position to ensure that stakeholders could easily see our perspective on this important global issue.

Pfizer has made significant progress in assessing the extent of our GHG emissions, setting reduction targets and goals, measuring changes in our year-to-year performance, and transparently reporting our results. We have been consistently recognized by the Carbon Disclosure Project for our commitment to reducing our carbon footprint.

Our GHG reduction program includes our voluntary and public commitment to reduce GHG emissions and to use cleaner energy. We have reduced our GHG emissions every year since 2000. Our current goal is to reduce CO2 emissions by 20 percent on an absolute basis from 2008 through 2012 and we are on target to achieve this. We are using cleaner energy technologies and estimate that 25 percent of our electricity comes from sources that include solar, wind, hydro and cogeneration. We work with key chemical suppliers to identify opportunities to save energy and reduce their carbon footprint.

We are proud of these accomplishments, which are the result of implementing hundreds of energy conservation and efficiency projects at our sites worldwide, building "greener" facilities, optimizing our sales vehicle fleet, and increasing use of renewable energy sources.

Product Stewardship Achievements

Pfizer’s Product Stewardship achievements include the development of greener processes, packaging improvements and reductions and waste minimization through measures such as solvent recovery.

Our industry-leading Green Chemistry Program seeks to integrate environment, health and safety considerations throughout the life cycle of our products, from discovery to commercial manufacture and eventual disposal.

We have adapted our product stewardship program with our changing footprint to ensure we understand, appropriately communicate and adequately manage risk.

Pharmaceuticals in the Environment

Pharmaceuticals have become chemicals of emerging concern to the public because of their potential to reach drinking water. Patient use of medicines is the principal pathway by which pharmaceuticals (prescription and over the counter) find their way into the aquatic environment. Typically, a fraction of the medicines taken by patients is excreted and enters waterways. To a lesser extent, pharmaceuticals can enter the environment through improper disposal of medicines and from manufacturing discharges.

Pfizer has an active program to assess and address the issues associated with pharmaceuticals in the environment (PIE) which includes detailed wastewater assessments to ensure good environmental management of our internal operations.

We have also teamed with a number of our manufacturing suppliers to evaluate their materials handling and production cleaning processes. We continue to engage our stakeholders including industry groups, the scientific community, regulatory agencies, patient groups and nongovernmental organizations to advance the knowledge of PIE. Pfizer also participates in product take-back programs in countries that operate them.

Sustainable Water Management

In many areas of the world, the scarcity of clean water presents significant challenges to public health and the environment. An important part of our responsibility as a global health care company is to seek to ensure that our water usage does not negatively affect the communities where we operate by diminishing the supplies of clean water or degrading the quality of that water.

We require our facilities worldwide to quantify water use, report performance against reduction targets, and support community efforts during drought conditions. Through our global Water Sustainability Program and following the framework under the UN Global Compact Water Mandate, Pfizer has broadened its data collection for water metrics (following GRI), set a 10 percent reduction goal from 2012 through 2016, and increased focus on water preservation projects at those sites located in water challenged areas.


For more about Pfizer's Green Journey, visit the Protecting the Environment website.

World Pharmaceutical Frontiers Magazine features Pfizer's energy and green chemistry successes in its September 2011 issue.

Global Sustainability TV features Pfizer's Green Journey—see Episode 4.

Pfizer's Green Journey: Integrating Environmental Sustainability Into Business Operations
Watch the full video on Pfizer's YouTube Channel.