Alkermes' Approach to Environmental Protection and Sustainability

Dec 14, 2022 1:00 PM ET

Originally published in Alkermes 2021 Corporate Responsibility Report

Environmental Protection and Sustainability

We strive to conduct our business activities in a manner that minimizes the environmental impacts of our operations and promotes effective stewardship of environmental resources. We are committed to complying with applicable laws, rules and regulations and operating with the highest standards of conduct. All Alkermes facilities are subject to routine regulatory inspections in respect to EHSS to confirm compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

We strive to maintain a culture of sustainability throughout our organization and work collaboratively across internal stakeholder groups and functions to identify ways to mitigate risks, increase operational efficiencies and reduce our environmental impacts, including those related to resource use, waste management and climate change.

In 2020, we engaged an independent third party to conduct a focused survey of leaders across our operations functions— including representatives from our R&D, manufacturing, quality, external operations and supply chain, EHSS and engineering teams—designed to identify the environmental focus areas of highest importance to our business operations. Based on the results of this survey, we identified the following key environmental focus areas:

  • Energy Usage, GHG Emissions and Renewables
  • Waste Optimization
  • Pharmaceuticals in the Environment
  • Water Conservation
  • Sustainability in the Supply Network

In 2021, we established a global, cross-functional sustainability steering team to further develop and enhance our focus on these areas.

Energy Usage

We continually monitor and review our energy usage in order to identify opportunities for further optimization and reduction. Our activities in support of this objective include:

  • Analysis of data and trends from electricity and natural gas monitoring systems at our facilities;
  • Replacement of legacy equipment with more energyefficient alternatives;
  • Incorporation of sustainable design and building techniques into new facilities to promote less energy use; and
  • Assessments of options to procure and further integrate renewable energy sources into our operations.

A forum of engineering leaders from each of our sites meets regularly to develop best practices for our facilities and utility systems. A sub-team of this group is responsible for integrating sustainability principles and practices into the design of our capital projects, monitoring company-wide energy audits and developing multi-year plans for energy reduction initiatives.

Our overall energy use in 2021 increased by 7% as compared to 2020 in absolute terms. Three key factors contributed to this increase:

  • Our new 230,000 square foot, LEED® Silver-certified1, facility in Waltham, MA was in operation for all of 2021, compared to only eight months of operation in 2020.
  • Energy usage at our Athlone, Ireland facility increased due to increased demand for, and increased manufactured volumes of, VUMERITY®, a key product manufactured at the site.
  • Salesforce activity increased as in-person interactions resumed, resulting in, among other impacts, a 29% increase compared to 2020 in fuel usage by our commercial team’s fleet of vehicles.

While these changes were significant, their impact on our overall energy consumption was partially mitigated by ongoing energy efficiency initiatives across our facilities, including energy audits that highlighted opportunities for immediate efficiency improvements, phased capital investments, procedural improvements and behaviorchange initiatives.

GHG Emissions and Renewables

Alkermes recognizes the serious environmental, economic and societal impacts caused by climate change. Our environmental sustainability efforts include proactively taking action to reduce GHG emissions from our operations.

In 2021, increased absolute energy usage related to our operational growth resulted in a 15% increase in absolute combined Scope 1 & 2 GHG emissions for reasons outlined in the previous section. However, our combined Scope 1 & 2 GHG emissions per $M revenue in 2021 decreased by 3% and is 43% lower than it was in our baseline year of 2015. This reduction in carbon intensity underscores our focus on energy reduction measures that will support production of our medicines in a more environmentally efficient manner.

In addition to our focus on energy efficiency in our facilities and operations, we also encourage employees to use more sustainable forms of transportation when commuting to work, including by providing shuttle bus service between our Waltham, MA site and public transportation locations and installing charging stations for electric vehicles at our Athlone, Ireland facility.

Water Conservation

We recognize that water is a scarce and invaluable resource that we must endeavor to conserve and use efficiently and sustainably. We have implemented programs across our organization to assess, reduce and optimize our water consumption, and we examine opportunities to further conserve water on an ongoing basis. As a result of these efforts, overall absolute source water usage at our facilities decreased 7% in 2021 compared to 2020, and decreased 32% compared to our 2015 baseline measurement year, despite the opening of our new Waltham, MA R&D and office facility. Overall water use per floor space (cubic meters per m2) decreased by 10% compared to 2020 and was 54% lower than our 2015 baseline measurement year.

Pharmaceuticals in the Environment

We understand the significant potential impacts that pharmaceuticals can have on the environment. We maintain strict internal protocols to adhere to the parameters of our applicable licenses and permits, mitigate the impacts of our operations on natural resources such as surface water and groundwater, and assist us in effectively controlling our air and wastewater emissions.

As part of our development and manufacturing scaleup of new, proprietary molecules, we have implemented programs to enable us to understand and mitigate associated environmental impacts. For example, we partner with third-party experts to identify practices to assist us in characterizing and understanding appropriate eco-toxicology and safe discharge limits.

We have implemented science- and data-driven environmental risk mitigation strategies and continually evaluate opportunities to improve our emissions control systems in order to better protect the environment and enhance the environmental sustainability of our operations.

Waste Optimization

All Alkermes facilities have comprehensive waste management plans in place and we strive to reduce our generation of waste at each source. Our waste streams are fully segregated, and disposal methods are carefully evaluated to support compliance with statutory and permit requirements and to minimize our environmental impacts.

For non-hazardous waste, we actively seek to eliminate landfilling where practicable and pursue recycling, composting and/or other re-use opportunities. We also employ other forms of responsible disposal, such as treatment in third-party “waste-to-energy” facilities.

For hazardous waste, we recognize that landfill is not an environmentally responsible disposal route. We actively explore recycling opportunities for our hazardous waste and, when feasible, select disposal routes that include potential energy recovery benefits.

Our waste vendors are carefully selected and vetted, in an effort to promote utilization of responsible waste disposal routes only. Through our working relationships with these vendors, we are able to identify and implement new opportunities for responsible waste disposal and further reduction of waste materials.

Key waste optimization highlights at the enterprise level included:

  • Of total waste generated in 2021, 92% was either recycled (63%), processed in a waste-to-energy facility (16%) or incinerated (13%).
  • Of total hazardous waste generated in 2021, 96% was either recycled or processed in a waste-to-energy facility and the remainder was incinerated.

Key waste optimization highlights at our manufacturing facilities included:

  • Wilmington, OH facility: Approximately 98% of hazardous waste was recovered and recycled; the remainder was incinerated.
  • Athlone, Ireland facility: No waste was sent to landfill; 100% of non-hazardous waste and 92% of hazardous waste was either recycled or processed in a waste-to-energy facility; the remainder was incinerated.

1 Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)

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