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Published on February 19th, 2015 | by Guest Contributor

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Apotex: How One Pharmaceutical Company Is Taking Steps Toward Real Sustainability

canadian pharmaceuitical company apotex

As readers, we are well aware of the urgent importance of sustainability and living green.  In our personal lives, we actively find ways to be greener and more sustainable, whether that’s maintaining a compost pile in our backyards or discovering new ways to reduce our electricity consumption.

That’s fine and good, and we are doing our part.  But, sometimes we may feel our efforts are all for naught, especially when we look at large businesses that produce lots of waste and yet choose not to adhere to environmental programs.

We know that sustainable business practices are an essential part of making our communities greener and more environmentally friendly.

The good news is that Environment Canada, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the US and other similar organizations continue to communicate to small and large companies that sustainability is not only good for the environment, it also makes excellent business sense.

Back in 1993, the EPA published a comprehensive guide – Business Guide for Reducing Solid Waste – that laid out how businesses could reduce their waste and, in turn, how this could save them money.  A lot has changed since 1993, but encouraging businesses to implement environmentally friendly policies still remains a crucial element of the green movement.  By the same token, businesses that choose to go green by, for example, enforcing recycling programs in their companies or reducing waste from their packaging process, end up with large budgetary savings.

It’s interesting to note that the EPA’s guide mentions how Johnson & Johnson realized dramatic savings when it began implementing recycling and waste reduction programs.  Taking a cue, other healthcare businesses have not only chosen to implement sustainable practices, but have had the determination and capability to continue to enforce these practices within their own companies.

In the province of Ontario (Canada), a not-for-profit organization exists called the Recycling Council of Ontario, or RCO. One of the organization’s main purposes is to encourage waste reduction, diversion and recycling in businesses in the Ontario area.  As part of the initiative, every year RCO hosts the Ontario Waste Minimization Awards, a ceremony that recognizes organizations that have demonstrated exceptional results for that year in the area of waste reduction and diversion.

When most people think of truly green organizations, they don’t first think of a pharmaceutical company.

However, a strong message was sent when RCO presented Apotex Inc., Canada’s largest generic pharmaceutical drug maker, with a Silver Award in its ceremony last year.  In fact, this wasn’t the first year that Apotex received a Silver Award from the Recycling Council of Ontario – the company also received the award a year earlier, in 2013.

There is no doubt about it, the RCO offers a significant and collective voice on the state of recycling and waste management in Ontario.  So, to be awarded by the RCO in its annual ceremony truly says something.

Why was Apotex Recognized by RCO?

Because over the years, Apotex has made a firm commitment to reduce its waste in all of its company areas, from its manufacturing facilities to its office and administrative facilities.  And over the past two years, the company has redoubled its efforts toward waste reduction and its recycling programs.

The company has done that by introducing new company-wide green programs, like its “Bring Your Mug to Work” and “Waste-Free Lunch” campaigns that encourage Apotex employees to reduce their personal waste.  Apotex also continues to support its LEAN Documents Group, which in its efforts to LEAN out internal processes will also reduce the company’s amount of printed material.

Apotex also happens to promote a glass recycling program in its labs and each year actively communicates the importance of Earth Week, Water Reduction Week, and other international and national green campaigns.

This is what’s distinguished Apotex among its peers as a healthcare company that’s serious about being sustainable and green.

Yes, the pharmaceutical industry is not known for being particularly green.  But, over the past two years, Apotex has shown that a pharmaceutical company can develop much better practices when it comes to environmental responsibility.

This post was generously sponsored by Apotex.


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