All of Orion’s operations are built around patient safety. Patient safety is also the priority in all of Orion’s sustainability work. In 2021, when the coronavirus pandemic showed no sign of subsiding, Orion continued its tireless commitment to secure the availability of medicines.
“We actually managed to slightly improve the availability of pharmaceutical products in Finland,” says Saara Hämäläinen, Corporate Responsibility Manager.
“This is testimony to our capability to fulfil our basic purpose even during a crisis.”
Raising the bar in sustainability
The exceptional circumstances caused by the pandemic did not undermine Orion’s ambitions to meet its sustainability commitments. For example, Orion was poised to achieve its earlier reduction target for carbon dioxide emissions, which was set at 75 percent by 2025. However, Orion decided to up the ante in 2021 and raised its targets even further.
Orion is now aiming at carbon neutrality of its own operations by 2030.
To support its growing climate ambitions, Orion launched the Raising the Bar campaign in 2021, providing a channel to present the climate actions, big and small, of Orionees.
For example, emissions are being reduced through an energy efficiency programme. The programme achieved its targets well ahead of the target year, 2025.
An important investment in the area of energy efficiency in 2021 was the local heating plant completed at Turku, which utilises the waste heat from production in the heating and cooling of production facilities.
Shifting the focus onto the whole value chain
Orion’s carbon neutrality commitment concerns the company’s own operations. However, the company is also extending its sustainability efforts outside its own domain.
“We are responsible not only for our own production but also for all the other steps in the value chain, whether to do with the development of medicines or with products that we selected for our product portfolio. Or to do with how and from where the raw materials and finished products are sourced – and that our marketing and distribution are also responsibly carried out,” Hämäläinen adds.
Orion conducted a quantitative assessment in 2021 of the carbon dioxide emissions of its entire value chain. The next step is to decide on the roadmap and concrete measures to reduce the emissions.
Orion is also implementing its culture of occupational health and safety increasingly in all its country organisations around the world. Orion completed its first Group-level human rights impact assessment in 2021.
Rooting new ways of working: sustainability belongs to everyone
Orion’s sustainability work rests on joint efforts to take concrete action. The adoption of the new approach has been enhanced with a three-year development project Sustainability in everything we do, which ended in 2021.
“Today, Orionees are more actively recognising sustainability aspects in their own work and the processes they are involved in. And they are also active in voicing their ideas, suggestions and needs regarding sustainability,” Hämäläinen says.
One example of the inclusive sustainability culture is the human rights working group, which has members from several Group organisations. The team carried out Orion’s first ever equality and non-discrimination survey. Based on the results of the survey, an Employee Resource Group was established to discuss equality and non-discrimination aspects and the ways to promote them at Orion.
Orion’s sustainability work and communication is based on legislation
The quality of Orion’s sustainability work has been noted outside the company as well: EcoVadis, a global sustainability assessment expert, awarded Orion a silver rating. The assessment covers a broad range of aspects such as the environment, human rights and labour law, as well as sustainable sourcing.
The recognition shows that Orion is firmly on the right path, but Hämäläinen wants to emphasise that sustainability work is about keeping up with an ever-changing operating environment. The legislation alone sets quite strict obligations.
“On the EU level, the regulatory framework is developing at a very high pace. In the coming years, we must be able to report on our sustainability impact in more depth, as well as sustainability risk management and progress made. In addition, questions related to the quality and reliability of our sustainability data will be of even greater interest.”
In 2022, one goal for Orion is to set clearer objectives for its sustainability work, as has already been done in the area of climate action.
“Our direction is clear – and we will be even better able to define the right measures to move in that direction,” Hämäläinen adds.
Text: Sanna Jäppinen
Orion’s sustainability report for 2021 was published on 28 April 2022.