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April 29, 2022

The E in ESG: how CROs aim to leave a positive ecological mark

Clinical Trials Arena reviews publicly available ESG reports to see how CROs are looking to make improvements to their environmental impact.

By Urtė Fultinavičiūtė

Installing LED lights, pushing for reusable water bottles, and reducing travel to cut carbon emissions – these are the overarching approaches that contract research organisations (CROs) have embraced in an effort to improve their ecological impact. These are noted in reports from CROs Parexel, ICON and PRA Health Sciences. As Clinical Trials Arena combed through publicly available CRO reports on their Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) strategy, we discover certain companies have additional plans in a bid to help the planet.

IQVIA looks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

In IQVIA’s ESG report, it states it is looking to reduce its total Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions across Scope 1, 2 and 3 emission categories. Scope 1 and 2 covers direct onsite or indirect purchased energy emissions, and Scope 3 is linked to indirect emissions across the supply chain, such as travel.

Further, the CRO has implemented the My Green Lab program, and transitioned its Scotland laboratory to 100% renewable energy supply last year. My Green Lab is a nonprofit that improves sustainability of scientific research and identify areas of improvement. IQVIA intends to roll out the program across the other labs in 2022.

Labcorp makes strides with recycling

CRO Labcorp introduced Go Green Teams to drive local and global sustainability efforts which would help grow the company’s sustainability efforts. Specifically, the UK Go Green Team implemented a polystyrene recycling program. With new recycling equipment, polystyrene waste is compressed into small briquettes collected every few months and recycled to be used for construction.

The company also outlined its efforts for ethical use of animals in research. Labcorp’s animal welfare efforts extend to animal-related suppliers, vetted to see if they match up the CRO’s qualification process.

Medpace use solar power

Last year, CRO Medpace started a capital project of installing solar generating capabilities in its Cincinnati headquarters. The company estimates it will generate nearly 900,000 kWh of solar power annually. This compensates a portion of its electrical consumption with the zero-emissions power generation.

Syneos conscious of green property footprint

The most recent publicly available sustainability report from Syneos health is from 2020, which notes it has plans of increasing its green property footprint. The CRO occupies around two million square feet of space globally, and 32.4% of which are green-certified properties. It was revealed in the 2020 report that they would open new offices in 2021. The two large office locations which would increase its green footprint to 50%. The newest ESG report will be published this summer.

According to GlobalData’s CRO Activity and Intel Report, clinical trial service providers PPD, Sarah Cannon Research Institute, and ICBio Clinical Research are also in the top 10 list of most used CROs in Q1 2022. ICON completed its acquisition of PRA Health Sciences in Q2 2021.

Clinical Trials Arena reached out to PPD, Sarah Cannon Research, and ICBio for them to provide their ESG reports but did not respond in time for deadline. This article will be updated once they do.

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