The importance of sufficiently eliminating harmful greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to limit global temperature to the 1.5-degree rise proposed in the Paris Climate Agreement is well understood by leaders in the pharmaceutical industry. And despite the recent pandemic that forced the industry to develop and deliver treatments and vaccines all over the world, the issue of reducing emissions has remained high on industry leaders’ agendas.

Industry awareness of the issues

A 2021 GlobalData poll among readers of Pharmaceutical Technology, found that 43% of respondents agreed environmental issues were the most important aspect of ESG that pharma companies needed to address. At the same time, a benchmarking survey conducted in late 2021 by South Pole1 confirmed the intensity of emissions in the pharmaceutical industry remained high, putting it down to a host of factors, among them raw materials in manufacturing and shipping, and the utilization of temperature-controlled logistics using electronic components.

Whether through its R&D activities, production, transport, logistics or other supply chain operations, there are many stages at which carbon emissions are generated in the pharmaceutical sector. A study by the Booth School of Engineering Practice & Technology, McMaster University, in 2019, published in the Journal of Cleaner Production2, showed that emission intensity in the pharmaceutical industry is approximately 55% higher than that of the automotive sector. COVID reminded us that this industry plays an essential role for humanity. However, yearly $34bn worth of medication gets wasted due to temperature fluctuations3. This wastage contributes significantly to GHG emissions.

The road from ambition to action

Evidently, there is a lot of ambition within the pharma sector to deliver on climate goals, but there is also room for improvement and action. This is particularly true for the more emissions-intense activities within the supply chain, including cold chain logistics. Recognition of the scale of this challenge and the ambition to stop the massive amount of wastage is what drove Swiss company Berlinger to pioneer the cold chain monitoring with a sustainable innovation.

Berlinger has positioned itself as a primary enabler of pharma companies and their supply chain partners in rethinking the cold chain. Independent and family-owned since 1865 and serving temperature monitoring in global health for over 30 years, the company specializes in manufacturing innovative solutions for monitoring temperature-sensitive goods in the pharmaceutical and medical industries.

At Berlinger, sustainability is a key part of the strategic vision. The company has taken action across all areas of its business to reduce its environmental impact. A sustainability process for product development and system design was established and Berlinger’s SmartSystem, the first climate neutral product available for cold chain monitoring of pharmaceutical products, was born.

Learn how Berlinger came about its innovation process, the five steps of sustainability-driven innovation and collaboration and how it can reduce emissions in its customers’ business cases in the white paper.

Linda Schwär, VP Marketing, Berlinger & Co. AG, explains what the new SmartSystem platform means for the industry, “Through its cycle of innovation, Berlinger has proven that increasing the visibility of the supply chain with Modular Real-Time, reducing CO2 emissions and lowering costs are not mutually exclusive. Through creative thinking, Berlinger has brought all three goals together in a platform that has been awarded the Climate Neutral Product label from South Pole.”

Download the white paper to learn more.



3 Supply Chain Dive, “Why cold chain tracking and IoT sensors are vital to the success of a COVID-19 vaccine,” Deborah Abrams Kaplan, August 11, 2020