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More efforts for the environment – Orion is scaling up its goals and committing to protecting biodiversity

Orion has made more ambitious commitments to reduce its carbon footprint and maintain biodiversity. The company is also proceeding well on its target to achieve carbon neutrality in its own operations by 2030, which was set in 2021.
2/15/2023 Author / Essi Kähkönen, Matleena Inget, Valtteri Manninen
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In recent years, Orion has reduced its carbon footprint and other environmental impacts through systematic work. At the same time, the company has progressed towards its ambitious goal of carbon neutrality in its own operations.

In November 2022, Orion decided to commit to even more ambitious and more extensive environmental targets. It is committed to setting science-based targets to reduce emissions throughout the value chain of its business operations, thereby contributing to limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees.

Orion is also committed to working to ensure that neither its business operations nor value chain contribute to nature loss.

“Climate change and nature loss are huge challenges that call for hard work and cooperation. We want to be part of the solution,” says Noora Paronen, Head of Corporate Responsibility at Orion.

The majority of emissions are generated outside Orion’s own operations

Paronen says that Orion has now identified its most significant sources of emissions – not only in its own production, but also throughout the value chain.

“Being aware of the sources of our emissions helps us achieve our goals. We have made good progress towards carbon neutrality in our own operations, and next we will increasingly focus on reducing emissions throughout our value chain,” says Paronen.

To succeed in this, Orion is committed to setting science-based emission reduction targets for the entire value chain as part of the collective effort to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. The aim is to achieve these targets by 2030.

Orion has calculated the emissions arising from its own operations and its partners’ activities. The result was surprising but clear.

“According to the calculation, our operations account for 4% and our partners’ operations for 96% of the climate impacts of our entire value chain. This is why reducing emissions throughout the value chain is important to us.”

Raw materials and energy use under scrutiny

In Orion’s value chain, the most significant climate impacts are related to purchased raw materials, packaging materials, active pharmaceutical ingredients and finished products. These climate impacts are strongly linked to energy use in the value chain. Climate impacts also arise when raw materials and goods are transported.

“To contribute to the global effort to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, it’s important to push and encourage our partners throughout our value chain to invest in reducing the climate impacts of their own operations,” Paronen points out.

According to Paronen, partners should at least improve their energy efficiency and accelerate the transition to carbon-free energy.

Partners in climate action

Orion will have its own and its partners’ climate targets reviewed by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) within two years. The SBTi helps companies set science-based targets for reducing emissions, thus promoting climate action in the private sector.

“Next, we will determine science-based climate targets for our value chain and promote our partners’ participation in climate efforts. We will also double-check to ensure that our existing emission targets are aligned with science.”

What else will Orion do to ensure that its own climate targets are met?

“In terms of energy, we must raise the bar even higher, although we only use carbon-free electricity in our production operations. For example, steam generation needs to be electrified. That requires investments from us.”

In 2022, Orion acquired the animal health business of Belgian Inovet. According to Paronen, its energy use and emissions must also be taken into account in the Group’s climate targets.

Orion works to prevent nature loss

In addition to climate targets, Orion is committed to working towards maintaining biodiversity. The company is working to ensure that its business operations and value chain do not contribute to nature loss.

“Our work here is also based on strong scientific evidence. We are exploring what measures we can take to promote biodiversity. First, we need to identify the main impacts of our own production and our partners’ operations on biodiversity, from sourcing raw materials all the way to the finished product, or how we minimise environmental pharmaceutical residues during the life cycle of medicines, for example,” says Paronen.

Orion started the process to identify biodiversity impacts in the value chain in 2022. The work continues in 2023.

Although the path to solving the crisis is still unknown, Orion is working with other operators in its industry to bring about the necessary change. The company is looking for solutions in green chemistry, among other fields.

“Our long-term work to promote green chemistry will be reflected in more sustainable manufacturing methods for pharmaceutical ingredients and medicines in our production processes,” says Paronen.