CSR and Sustainability Forum

A roundup of developments in corporate social responsibility and sustainability from the bio/pharmaceutical industry, its suppliers, and other public and private organizations.
Mar 02, 2011
By PharmTech Editors

BASF launched its SELECT (Sustainability, Eco-Labeling and Environmental Certification Tracking) Eco-Label Manager, a database created to strategically manage eco-labels, environmental claims, directories and ratings systems by allowing the user to search, analyze, and compare these programs in a structured and consistent format. The tool is designed to help users to understand and manage classifications issued by the federal government, large retailers, trade associations, and third-patry organizations relating to environmental classifcations. Currently, the tool includes 100 programs for review, primarily associated with North America, but is continuing to add programs from all regions globally. Examples include Built GreenCanada, a residential construction checklist and energy-rating system; US Green Building Council LEED programs; and the Green Guides, a set of guidelines established by the US Federal Trade Commission to help manufacturers make clear and substantiated marketing claims.

Dow Chemical’s St. Charles Operations in Louisiana announced a three-year sponsorship of the Audubon Nature Institute's Whooping Crane Recovery Program, which plans to restore the endangered whooping crane to its native Louisiana environment. Based on Audubon's Mississippi Sandhill Crane breeding program, the program will rely on natural breeding and assisted reproductive technologies to restore the native species to the Gulf region. The program will establish a nonmigratory flock at White Lake in Vermillion Parish, marking the first time the species has lived in Louisiana since the 1930s. Additionally, Audubon Nature Institute will sustain a captive population of 135 birds. The program will include animal care and husbandry, collaboration with international agencies, and laboratory research.

Global Impact, whose mission is to assure help for the world's most vulnerable people, has selected the humanitarian-relief organizations Partners In Health and Millennium Promise to join its alliance of internationally focused charities. Global Impact has raised more than $1.3 billion for relief and development programs since it was founded in 1956. Global Impact raises funds for international relief and development charities. Each Global Impact member is evaluated before being invited to join. Partners In Health works in 12 countries around the world to provide quality healthcare to people and communities devastated by joint burdens of poverty and disease. Partners In Health is focused on three goals: to care for patients, to alleviate the root causes of disease in patients' communities, and to share lessons learned around the world. Millennium Promise is a nonprofit organization that supports achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals to halve extreme poverty by 2015. Millennium Promise oversees the Millennium Villages project, which supports integrated social and business development services for more than 500,000 people in rural communities across 10 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has received the 2010 Environmental Stewardship Award from the industrial-services company Nalco in recognition of GSK's ongoing efforts to reduce its climate-change impact and energy and water use. The Environmental Stewardship Award recognizes exceptional performance in achieving sustainability objectives and financial goals. In 2006, GSK set targets to reduce its water consumption by 2% per year by 2010. By 2009, water consumption had been decreased 15%. In addition, in 2007 GSK launched a climate change program for its operations, setting targets to reduce energy use by 45% per unit of sales by 2015, using 2006 figures as a benchmark. The annual environmental return on investment that GSK has achieved from using Nalco's sustainable solutions includes: more than 325,000 cubic meters (85.8 million gallons) of water savings; 4.1 million kWh of energy savings; and 2000 metric tons of carbon-dioxide reduction. The award selection committee included Nalco representatives and input from the Water Innovation Alliance.

Procter & Gamble (P&G) will seek LEED certification for all new sites. P&G's Taicang plant in China, which broke ground in February 2011, is the first P&G manufacturing site to pursue LEED certification, with several additional new P&G sites currently working toward the same distinction globally. Established by the US Green Building Council, LEED is a program for the design, construction, and operation of high-performance green buildings. All new P&G sites, including those in the US, which are currently in design phase or early construction, are working toward achieving LEED certification. In countries where equivalent programs are available, P&G is also committing to meet all local certification standards.

In other news, P&G also was recognized by the humanitarin-relief organization Families in World Vision for P&G’s  Children's Safe Drinking Water Program in Rwanda for delivering clean water. The program recently marked its three billionth liter of clean drinking water in the developing world. Recently, World Vision and P&G brought PUR packets to remote villages in southern Rwanda. In the village of Mirama, Claudine and Simon Ngendahimana, a family of subsistence farmers, were among those who received the PUR packets that marked the three billionth liter milestone. World Vision has partnered with P&G around the world, including in Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Kenya, and Haiti. Most recently, in response to the 2010 Pakistan flood, P&G provided 1.1 million PUR packets that World Vision distributed in the most severely affected flood regions. World Vision estimates that more than 2.7 billion people live without access to safe water. World Vision works s to meet water and sanitation needs in developing communities. The humanitarian organization responds to urgent water needs through P&G PUR packets and also digs wells and boreholes to sustain communities long term.

The SustaiNext Summit, which is supported by the Sustainability Collaborative, a cross-functional coalition of representatives from industry, academia, government and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), will be held March 22 and 23 at Drexel University in Philadelphia. SustaiNext is a two-year initiative supported by the Sustainability Collaborative that was launched in December 2010 at Rutgers University. The goal of SustaiNext is to stimulate regional partnering to help organizations, companies, and individuals to integrate sustainability principles while realizing economic growth. Participants in the Sustainability Collaborative network include representatives from business, which include companies, such as representatives from Johnson & Johnson, Merck & Co., Eli Lilly, Amgen, Wal-Mart, Kimberly Clark, Microsoft, DuPont, PepsiCo., 7th Generation, Lockheed Martin, Saatchi & Saatchi, and Terra Cycle. Participants in the Sustainability Collaborative network from academia include representatives from Drexel, Yale, Philadelphia University, Catholic University of America, Bard College, Penn State, University of Florida, Rutgers University, University of Maryland and Ohio State University. Participants in the Sustainability Collaborative network from NGOs include representatives from the Environmental Defense Fund, National Science Foundation, Environmental Working Group, Beyond Benign, Second Nature,  AASHE, and the Ecology Society of America.
Information about Sustainability Collaborative and the SustaiNext Summit on March 22–23 can be found here.

In early February 2011, John Ruggie, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Business and Human Tights, concluded the consultation period on the draft guiding principles for the Implementation of the UN Protect, Respect and Remedy Framework. The guiding principles provide practical advice to governments, companies, and other stakeholders on how better to protect individuals and communities from the adverse human-rights impacts of business activities. Ruggie will finalize his recommendations and submit them to the Human Rights Council for consideration at its June 2011 session.The special representative received feedback on the draft guiding principles from Nov. 22, 2010, to Jan. 31, 2011. Submissions came from governments, individual companies, business associations, civil society, investors, academics, international organizations, law firms, and interested individuals. In January, Ruggie also received feedback from governments in an informal session with the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The special representative's mandate was created in 2005 to move beyond what had been a divisive doctrinal debate over the human-rights responsibilities of companies, according to a UN press release. Ruggie's goal was to build shared understanding and consensus among stakeholders by holding consultations around the world and by conducting extensive research. Out of that process came the Protect, Respect and Remedy; Framework, which was unanimously welcomed by the Human Rights Council in 2008. The council asked Ruggie to continue working in the same manner to operationalize the framework. The guiding principles were developed in response to that request.

The Green Chamber of San Diego County became a national organization, US Green Chamber, to provide education, advocacy, and visibility for businesses to grow through environmentally and socially responsible practices. Plans are underway for US Green Chamber programs in education, advocacy, and member networking. A membership directory, calendar of national events, and distance-based learning through webinars are among the tools the organization would like to make available to its members. Information about the US Green Chamber may be found here.