To Issue 146
Citation: Coutarel S, “Committed to Sustainability!” ONdrugDelivery, Issue 146 (Apr/May 2023), pp 26–29.
Sandrine Coutarel looks at Nemera’s sustainability road map and the steps being taken to achieve its aims.
“Through its roadmap and the concrete actions that follow, Nemera aims to create a strong dynamic on these four pillars within its sphere of influence.”
Since its creation, Nemera has been resolutely focused on the wellbeing of patients, true to the motto, “We put patients first”, as well as the health and safety of its employees. When Nemera developed its sustainable development roadmap, it became obvious that, to better serve these two missions, Nemera needed to think beyond them and consider its impact on the environment and society. As such, Nemera has articulated its sustainable development strategy around four pillars: labour and human rights, environmental protection, societal impact, and value chain. Through its roadmap and the concrete actions that follow, Nemera aims to create a strong dynamic on these four pillars within its sphere of influence. This cannot be done alone – it is only by creating solid partnerships with its customers and suppliers that Nemera will be able to achieve its sustainability goals.
CONTRIBUTING TO THE WELLBEING OF EMPLOYEES AND ENSURING THEIR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Of course, these are not new themes. Ensuring good working conditions that allow employees to flourish is an integral part of Nemera’s culture, prioritising the balance between the professional and personal lives of its employees. The company also aims to achieve zero injuries in its manufacturing facilities, and it is getting closer to this goal every year thanks to the strong commitment of its employees (Figure 1).
“Since 2023, 100% of Nemera’s factories have been using green or decarbonised energy.”
Training is another important part of Nemera’s people strategy. Investing in developing the skills of its employees contributes to their professional fulfilment and allows the company to constantly adapt to new challenges. Developing internal skills goes hand in hand with attracting new talent. This balance is constantly sought in order to address new challenges such, as the digitalisation of work methods.
The balance of a successful company also lies in the diversity of its employees. Nemera’s ambition is to increase the representation of women in management positions in order to have the full range of skills and qualities that both men and women can bring. It is through diversity of gender and culture that the best working conditions can be achieved. Additionally, the company conducts business in an ethical manner, implementing policies and processes to establish a framework of trust for reporting possible unethical or corrupt practices. Each report is analysed at the highest level to ensure that swift action is taken.
“Nemera favours long-term initiatives to create solid partnerships that will evolve with society.”
REDUCING ITS ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT – A KEY CRITERIA IN BUSINESS CHOICES
Nemera’s main environmental impact centres on its electricity consumption. In 2019, the company chose to find new partners to supply green or decarbonised electricity. Since 2023, 100% of Nemera’s factories have been using green or decarbonised energy. This has resulted in a reduction of more than 80% of its CO2 emissions from Scopes 1 and 2.
In parallel with the work on energy supply contracts, each of Nemera’s manufacturing plants is developing an energy-saving plan. Work on installing LED lighting and the reuse of heat produced by the machines to heat the premises has been underway for several years. Today, Nemera is making major investments in more efficient heating and cooling equipment, as well as in production machines that consume less energy. The company already has two ISO 50001 (Energy Management System) certified sites and a third will be certified by the end of 2023.
In 2021, to go even further down the road to decarbonisation, Nemera made a commitment to the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) to set its CO2 reduction targets and to contribute, on its own scale, to limiting global warming to 1.5°C in 2030 compared with the pre-industrial era. This is a very strong commitment because the company must reduce its CO2 emissions from Scopes 1 and 2 by 90% and CO2 emissions from its indirect activities (Scope 3) by 55% (tCO2/added value). Nemera is designing and developing action plans for 2023, targeting the various categories of emissions that will enable it to achieve these objectives. This is a multi-disciplinary effort that is, once again, being developed in conjunction with the company’s supplier and customer partners (Figure 2).
Another major area of development for Nemera is the eco-design of its products. Led by Insight, Nemera’s R&D team, this year, the company is going to carry out its first lifecycle analysis on one of its own products: Novelia®. The aim of this process is to quantify the environmental impact of this product and to identify the best levers for action to make it more sustainable and more easily recyclable. Given the development cycles for pharmaceutical equipment, which can take 10 years, this is a long-term task, but it is essential to complete the 2030 decarbonisation plan for Nemera’s activities.
While Nemera is free to choose how to take action with regard to its own products, it is also engaging in discussions with its CMO partners. Indeed, its development and production teams are ready to work on low-carbon resins or the reuse of production scraps on the shop floor. The company is looking forward to bringing its skills on these innovative projects for the pharmaceutical sector.
MAKING SURE NEMERA HAS A POSITIVE IMPACT ON SOCIETY
Having a positive impact on society means contributing to local development and community life. This requires looking beyond the company’s walls, engaging with local public or private stakeholders and choosing initiatives that correspond to Nemera’s values and that are meaningful for the company and its employees.
Nemera favours long-term initiatives to create solid partnerships that will evolve with society. This approach enables the company to measure its impact over several years and build strong bonds of trust with local actors.
For example, following the move of its headquarters to Lyon (France) in September 2022, Nemera signed the “Charte des 1000” in January 2023, initiated by “Le Grand Lyon” and the “Metropolitan Integration Center for Employment”. This is a strong commitment to promote the integration and employment of the most vulnerable people in Lyon (Figure 3).
“The beneficial effects of its strategy will be amplified if the company can convince its suppliers, customers and financial partners to participate in its initiatives at their own level.”
For several years, Nemera has been contributing to the “Sport dans la Ville” association. This Lyon-based association operates in neighbourhoods where employment is a significant challenge. In these areas, one in three young people has a level of education lower than the Brevet d’études professionnelles and Certificat d’aptitude professionnelle. Unequal access to diplomas and training, combined with other difficulties, such as poor social mobility and housing, excludes a growing number of young people.
Sport dans la Ville encourages the social and professional integration of these young people through sport. Nemera participates in sports events with the young people it sponsors. In February 2023, the company also welcomed 25 young people to its headquarters for a one-day seminar with several of Nemera’s managers, presenting the company’s businesses and challenges.
ENGAGING WITH VARIOUS STAKEHOLDERS TO INCREASE NEMERA’S IMPACT
Nemera’s sustainable development dynamic is not limited to its own activities. The beneficial effects of its strategy will be amplified if the company can convince its suppliers, customers and financial partners to participate in its initiatives at their own level. However, this is not an easy task, as Nemera’s strategy must be explained to its stakeholders, who must also be convinced to take part in these initiatives.
For example, with greenhouse gas emissions, Scope 1 and 2 emissions are directly linked to Nemera’s activities, and the company has a direct influence on them. By implementing actions at each of its production units and acting quickly and efficiently, Nemera is on track to reach its reduction targets for these emissions by the end of 2023.
As such, Nemera’s indirect emissions from its value chain, also known as Scope 3 emissions, will account for more than 70% of its carbon footprint by 2023. The real challenge lies here. Nemera needs to work on the carbon footprint of the products it purchases, as well as the transportation of raw materials and finished products. This requires building strong relationships with its suppliers and customers so that they accept the changes proposed by Nemera. A virtuous circle is then established, in which Nemera’s suppliers will also have to bring their own suppliers on board. This is the effect that Nemera aims to achieve.
LEVERAGING INTERNATIONAL AND SCIENTIFIC INITIATIVES TO PROVIDE TRANSPARENCY
In 2019, EcoVadis assessed Nemera’s sustainability roadmap for the first time. This allows the company to be evaluated annually by an independent third party, with its efforts translated into a score that is completely transparent. Since then, Nemera has undertaken numerous sustainability projects, resulting in a continually improving score. In 2021 and 2022, the company received a Silver rating, placing it in the top 15% of companies in the industry. With the projects undertaken this year, the company is expected to soon achieve a Gold rating and be in the top 5% of companies in the industry.
In 2021, Nemera made a commitment to the SBTi to validate its greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. This guarantees that Nemera’s aims align with the global challenge of limiting global warming to 1.5°C by 2030, compared with the pre-industrial era.
Finally, at the beginning of 2023, the company signed up to the UN Global Compact to contribute to the 17 sustainable development goals defined by the UN. The company’s next step is to analyse its strategy in relation to these 17 objectives, identify any gaps and define a higher ambition (Figure 4).
The regulations relating to sustainable development are evolving very quickly. Nemera is actively preparing for the upcoming new guidelines on non-financial reporting by companies by putting robust and repeatable corporate social responsibility indicators and data collection processes in place. The whole company will be involved, which is what makes the business so attractive.
Nemera published its first sustainability report in 2023, which is an important step for the company because it brings together all its initiatives, along with testimonials from its teams, in a single document. This report will evolve into an improved version in 2024, as the company will also be able to realize its double materiality matrix. The results will determine the architecture of the next report and the indicators will be published annually.
Nemera is at the beginning of its journey, but the involvement of its employees and management team is already clear. The company is actively working to engage its stakeholders and maximise its positive impact on the environment and society. Nemera is confident that it is on the right track in its contribution to build a better world for future generations.