Tool Calculates Pharmaceutical Products’ Carbon Cost

blister pack footprinting tool

by | Aug 23, 2013

blister pack footprinting toolThe Carbon Trust and the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) have launched a spreadsheet tool to help UK companies estimate the carbon footprint of tablet medicines in blister packs.

The tool, which the organizations say is a first of its kind for the pharmaceutical sector, was funded by the ABPI, AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Janssen (J&J), Eli Lilly and Pfizer.

A range of data has been incorporated into the model, which covers carbon emissions for Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs), transport and distribution, formulation and packaging, retail and use phase and the disposal of the packaging.

The model, developed by the Carbon Trust, takes the full lifecycle of tablet medicines blister packs into account. The tool is available for free to all ABPI members and nonmembers.

It is intended to give an indicative view of the carbon impact of a particular product and allow screening of large product portfolios to identify hotspots, such as raw materials manufacture, selection of materials and transport, the ABPI says. Companies can then decide where to prioritize resource and investment in addressing the key environmental impacts by gathering more accurate, company-specific data to improve the output estimates.

Sonia Roschnik, head of the UK National Health Services Sustainable Development Unit, says pharmaceutical products account for about 20 percent of the NHS carbon footprint. The tool will help manufacturers, commissioners and providers identify areas where they can further reduce carbon emissions.

The pharmaceutical carbon spreadsheet is the latest tool launched this month to help companies’ reduce their environmental footprint. Zenith developed a greenhouse gas emissions reporting tool to help its UK customers report on fleet emissions and comply with GHG reporting regulations that will take effect in October and Microsoft launched a website to help companies better understand the environmental impact of buying, using and disposing of a PC.

Also this month, researchers at Colorado State University received a $600,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to develop measurement and assessment tools that architects and others can use to measure GHGs produced by construction activity in real time.

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