At Orion, we invest in environmental responsibility throughout the product lifecycles. The most significant environmental impacts of our operations arise from the use of materials, energy and water. The emphasis of environmental management is on the efficiency of materials and energy use, emissions into air, wastewater and the procedures for selecting and managing suppliers and partners.


Our responsibility as a company is to recognise and manage our impact on the environment and drive the reduction of our business’s environmental burden. Orion’s environmental, health and safety policy defines the Group-level commitment on how we manage environmental matters and promote the well-being of our workforce. Our EHS Management System for managing, monitoring and developing environmental matters also comprises energy efficiency, process safety and occupational health and safety. The EHS Management System ensures effective management and compliance with valid legislation, and also with other regulations and requirements concerning our operations.

The environmental management system is built upon the principles set out in the ISO 14001 environmental standard. In the development of energy efficiency, we apply the principles of the ETJ+ energy management system and practices consistent with the ISO 50001 standard. In the management of occupational health and safety we apply the ISO 45001 standard. The management of EHS matters is monitored through annual internal audits. We are committed to continuously improving our performance in environmental, health and safety matters and strive to achieve the high objective we have set for managing them.

Environmental aspects, our approaches and targets

We have identified the most significant environmental aspects for the Orion Group and its businesses. These relate to the consumption of raw materials, energy and water, emissions into the air and waste water, and the amounts of waste created by our operations. In addition, climate change is a relevant risk globally and also for Orion’s business operations. Orion’s most significant environmental aspects and the related approaches to continually improve our performance in them are as follows:


Material efficiency

  • We know the most central material flows in our production operations. We identify the items in need of development in order to minimise our waste flows. We forward our recyclable surplus materials for further recovery.
  • We manufacture our products right the first time.
  • We reduce the proportion of hazardous waste of our total waste.

Waste water management

  • We know the quality of our waste waters.
  • We reduce the environmental burden on waterways caused by our operational sites by minimising the residues of harmful chemicals in our waste waters.

Energy efficiency

  • Our target is to improve the efficient use of energy and reduce our energy consumption applying practices determined in our Energy Management System.
  • We participate in the energy efficiency programmes pursued by industry associations relevant to us.

Emissions into air
and climate change

  • We contribute towards the prevention of climate change by reducing our greenhouse gases, CO2e and VOC emissions.
  • Our target is to achieve carbon neutrality in our own operations by 2030.


Managing sustainability of our suppliers
  • We  expect our suppliers to demonstrate their commitment towards Orion’s Supplier   Code of Conduct and our own requirements. We are committed to improving the   management and monitoring of environmental, health, safety and ethical issues  in the supply chain. 


We continuously measure and monitor matters related to the environment. Environmental responsibility is included in the strategic KPIs monitoring the implementation of our Group strategy.

  • Energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions: We are committed to the extension period of the joint Energy Efficiency Programme for members of the Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK). Under the new programme, the savings target for 2025 is 7.5% of energy consumption in 2016. For Orion, this means a saving target of slightly over 12 GWh. In addition, our target is to achieve carbon neutrality in our own operations by 2030. 
  • Proportion of hazardous waste of our total waste: Our goal is to reduce the amount of hazardous waste in particular, but also our levels of total waste at the same time.

Reducing pharmaceutical residues

At Orion we focus our particular attention to the drug residues in the environment.

Pharmaceuticals may end up in the environment in various ways, due to effluents from manufacturing facilities, medicines consumed by patients and then excreted, or the improper disposal of unused and expired medicines.
At Orion, we evaluate the potential environmental impact of our products with lifecycle thinking, starting with the product development stage. We conduct an environmental risk assessment on all new products, as required for market access, to identify any risks that the substances included in the products could cause when released into nature, and ways to prevent these risks in our own operations. We are constantly assessing the environmental impacts of our manufacturing activities, and when manufacturing active pharmaceutical ingredients, green chemistry is the aim. Shortening and lightening the processes related to pharmaceutical production also reduce the amount of chemicals used.

Reducing the environmental impact of the production of pharmaceuticals and controlling risks at factories is essential. We have succeeded in reducing our pharmaceutical residues from production significantly by developing its wastewater management system.

This process is based on a separate drainage system, in which wastewater containing compounds unsuitable for a biological treatment plant or posing a risk of environmental impact are separated from the rest of the wastewater. The high-risk wastewater is directed to special tanks and treated as appropriate. The extra water is evaporated as efficiently as possible, and the residues are incinerated responsibly as hazardous waste.

Being responsible does not just mean continuously improving our own operational site processes but also being committed to rigorously managing and monitoring the sustainability of our global supply chain. We have set strict requirements ensuring that materials are only purchased from responsible suppliers. Pharmaceuticals in the environment is one criterion considered in the procurement process. We do this through assessment questionnaires, by undertaking risk-based sustainability audits, and by ensuring that necessary corrective actions are agreed upon with suppliers and followed up afterwards.

Most of the pharmaceutical residues in the environment are caused by the use of medicines. They end up in the environment as excretion and via wastewater from showering. Our key focus is to provide patients with effective and safe medicines in the right way when they need them. Medicines only help patients if they are taken according to a prescription by a healthcare professional. The issue is complex: medicines are an integral part of the well-being of people and animals, but they clearly impact the environment.

Ensuring effective EHS management

Effective EHS management is the key to ensure continuous improvement on environmental performance of our operations through more efficient use of resources and reduction of waste. The Group’s EHS (environment, health and safety) policy determines our commitment to the well-being of the environment. EHS management system guides our operations in all production sites. We have clear procedures for operating our EHS management system and for predicting, preventing and observing exceptional events and situations and for taking corrective action.

We have regular EHS risk assessments for the identification of potential shortcomings and nonconformities. We have an overall assessment of the EHS and energy management systems by the Group management in annual management reviews. We have development programmes with objectives, action plans and progress monitoring. We collect data systematically and evaluate items within the scope of the EHS and energy management systems.

We hold regular internal EHS audits, and we have sustainability audits conducted by regulatory authorities and our collaboration partners at our sites. We also receive notifications and concerns regarding environmental harm and safety from instances outside our company, such as collaboration partners or neighbours.

Our EHS information system records observations, follows up with corrective action and shares information across the organisation. It gathers information on safety and environmental observations, injuries, audits and inspections as well as on corrective action related to these notifications. The system aims to bring forth a consistent EHS operating model for the whole group. By observing our operational environment, we can prevent hazardous situations and improve our performance.

Monitoring our environmental performance

Measuring our performance is vital in managing sustainability. We have identified the most significant environmental aspects of our businesses and determined our approach to improve our performance in them. Monitoring and reporting our environmental performance for some items is obligatory based on requirements specified in the environmental permits. More importantly, gathering data and assessing indicators is a tool for us to improve our own performance.

We operate in compliance with environmental laws, permits and other environmental requirements. We aim for the highest standards in the industry with respect to the environment.

Location-specific environmental permits determine the acceptable maximum levels of emissions into the air, soil and water, as well as the methods and scopes for the measurement, monitoring and reporting related to environmental impacts.