Why delivering science-based targets are key to sustainable growth

Reducing our environmental impact supports our patients, people and planet.

Editor’s Note:
Since AbbVie first published this article in November of 2021, AbbVie has completed the development of our science-based targets. We submitted our proposed near-term 1.5°C targets to the Science Based Target initiative (SBTi) in August of 2022, and we are awaiting the validation of those targets.

By Azita Saleki-Gerhardt, Executive Vice President, Operations

Climate change is real.

As a company, we’ve taken several steps to secure our supply chain against the impacts of climate change, including making significant investments in energy efficiency, sustainability and resiliency projects. But to continue leading in our response, we recognize that we can – and should – do more. That’s why we’ve committed to achieving science-based targets for lowering emissions.

Through the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), we’ll align with the latest climate science deemed necessary to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. This process will push us as a company, and each of us as employees, to be even more ambitious in reducing our environmental impact and to invest more critically in sustainable growth.

Why we’ve made this commitment

We’re committing to a science-based target because our patients expect the best, and they trust us to provide the critical medicines they need when they need them. Climate change is making weather events more frequent and severe, and supply chain disruptions more likely. By taking actions now to lessen its effect, we can ensure our long-term resiliency and sustainability of supporting patients in the long term.

Delivering a science-based target also aligns with our values as a science-based company. Every day we follow where the science leads us. And today the climate science is clear – the ongoing and rapid rise in temperature across our planet will lead to more frequent and severe weather events such as stronger and more intense hurricanes, thunderstorms, heatwaves, wildfires and rising sea levels. Because we believe in science, we believe in doing our part to change this outlook.

The progress we’ve made towards lowering our environmental impact

Our commitment to science-based targets builds on the ongoing work we’re doing to reduce our carbon footprint worldwide. Recognizing the environmental risks associated with operating a global business, we've set ambitious, long-term environmental sustainability targets. These include targets for reducing absolute carbon emissions, water and waste generation, achieving zero waste to landfills, and increasing our use of renewable electricity.

We reduced absolute CO2 emissions by 24% in five years

In 2020, 28% of our electricity came from renewable resources.

Global waste
of our global waste was diverted from landfill in 2020.

We also recognize that packaging plays a vital role in achieving these goals; it is both the first and last thing our customers see, use, and dispose of. By 2025, our goal is to ensure every new package we manufacture abides by our philosophy of Design for Recovery; ensuring that each and every new package that leaves our doors is optimized for recovery and a minimized carbon footprint.

Internally, we’ve made progress towards achieving many of our targets. For example, in 2016, we set a target to reduce absolute CO2 emissions by 25% within 10 years. Now five years in, we’ve reduced absolute emissions by 24%.

Along with setting goals, we continually evaluate the impact of climate change on our business. In 2020, we completed a climate risk assessment across 100 critical global locations. The assessment helped us to analyze extreme weather events and other climate impacts from 2020 to 2050, which we’re using to understand short, medium and long-term risks and enhance emergency planning and preparedness.

Looking ahead, there’s still more work to do to honor our commitment to the patients we serve and to the health of our society. We look forward to working with our employees as well as regulators, policymakers, and the global community to all move towards a more sustainable future.

Media inquiries:
Antoinette Haubert
[email protected]