While climate change must be tackled at a global level, water challenges are much more localised. By better understanding our water use across the GSK value chain, we can focus our efforts in the areas where we can make the biggest difference.
The world is expected to face a 40% shortfall in fresh water supply within 10 years, exacerbating the current water crisis that many are already facing globally. In relation to healthcare, fresh water is critical to achieving universal health coverage, and for GSK, ready access to a fresh water supply enables us to produce vaccines and medicines and safeguard livelihoods.
Our water targets
We have set out the following targets:
100% of our sites to achieve good water stewardship by 2025 and reduce overall water use by 20% by 2030
Water-neutral in operations and with key suppliers in water-stressed regions by 2030
Zero impact active pharmaceutical ingredient levels for all sites and key suppliers by 2030
How we plan to achieve our water targets
Understanding our value chain water footprint
We have mapped our water footprint by establishing the volume of water we use throughout our value chain and where it is being used around the world. Our measure of water impact considers the quantity, quality, WASH risk (access to water, sanitation and hygiene) and regulatory and reputational risks across our value chain.Understanding our value chain water footprint (PDF - 74.9KB)
Water stewardship and water use
100% of our sites are now good water stewards, in line with the Alliance for Water Stewardship’s definition. This involved reducing the amount of water we use, improving water quality through minimising discharges and working with community and public sector stakeholders to address local water challenges. These plans are developed to reflect the local water basin challenges.
At all GSK sites and key suppliers-located in water stressed regions, we are committed to water neutrality by 2030. This means we go further and take collaborative action to carry out water and sanitation education and infrastructure initiatives across the basin.
We have identified several initial water basins in water-stressed regions where we have manufacturing sites, including in Algeria, India and Pakistan, which we will prioritise for investment in water neutrality in a way that is responsive to the local challenges.
For example, around our Nashik site in India, we are working with Save the Children as part of a programme to ensure that schools in India have well-maintained water, sanitation and hygiene facilities.
In collaboration with Save the Children and our Nashik GSK Site, we have engaged in the Swachh Bharat: Swachh Vidyalaya (“Clean India: Clean Schools”) national campaign in India to ensure that every school in India has a set of functioning and well-maintained water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities.
Through this partnership, we have implemented WASH projects in 20 Nashik Municipal Corporation (NMC) schools, reaching over 10,000 children, parents, teaching and non-teaching staff through behavioural change interventions and the development and repair of WASH facilities.
The project is now in its third year of implementation, making a significant contribution towards bringing positive behaviour change among project beneficiaries in terms of health and hygiene.
Our supply chain accounts for 95% our water footprint. It’s therefore important that we also engage our suppliers on efficient water usage, particularly those based in high water-stressed areas where we are aiming for water neutrality at our sites and key suppliers. We are developing a programme to partner with our suppliers, to better understand their water impact and identify ways of working together to achieve our water goals.
We realise that collaboration is key to expanding the scale and scope of our water efforts to address the magnitude of the global water crisis. We have been members of the UN CEO Water Mandate since 2009. The Mandate is a commitment platform for business leaders and learners to advance water stewardship.
Endorsing companies commit to action across six key elements and report annually on progress. In implementing water stewardship, endorsing companies also identify and reduce critical water risks to their businesses, seize water-related opportunities, and contribute to water security and the Sustainable Development Goals. Our membership of the Water Resilience Coalition (WRC) is just the beginning of many collaboration opportunities we will be exploring, in order to tackle shared water challenges and accelerate our journey towards a water-resilient future. As a member of the WRC we have pledged to achieve the following through individual and collective action by 2050:
- Net positive water impact - Achieve a measurable and net positive impact in water-stressed basins on availability, quality and accessibility through industry-leading water operations and basin initiatives
- Water-resilient value chain - Develop, implement and enable strategies to support leading impact-based water resilience practices across the global value chain
- Global leadership - Raise the global ambition of water resilience through public and corporate outreach
Pharmaceuticals in the environment
We’re committed to keeping any Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) emissions from manufacturing – including those that might contribute to antimicrobial resistance – below the predicted no-effect level for all sites and key suppliers. This means ensuring any API emissions from manufacturing – including those that might contribute to antimicrobial resistance (AMR) – are kept below levels that negatively impact human health or the environment. We carry out environmental testing on all of our pharmaceutical products and use this data to set safe discharge targets for our manufacturing supply chain. For antibiotic emissions, these safe discharge targets are industry standards agreed through the AMR Industry Alliance.
We are a partner in the Innovative Medicines Initiative project which is a leading collaboration across industry, academia, governments and others focused on the Prioritisation and Risk Evaluation of Medicines in the Environment (PREMIER). This programme is addressing the science and data gap behind safe levels of environmental risk for APIs, making environmental data on APIs more accessible and supported with credible science. The project is also supporting greener design of pharmaceuticals.
We lead the AMR benchmark, which includes recognition of our environmental risk-management approach.