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Our Company Green strategy

UCB Green Strategy

At UCB, we take our responsibility to the planet very seriously. Our goal is to develop and produce medicines for people with severe diseases in the most environmentally sustainable way possible.

This means reducing our carbon footprint, our water consumption and our waste production across the company. We have set clear, absolute targets to measure our progress, focusing on the activities we can control directly.


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Our environmental commitments picture: reduce 35 CO2, 20 water and 25 waste
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Our approach

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UCB applies a precautionary approach in innovation and in the development of new products. We consider not only the benefits of our products but also the potential health and environmental risks in a scientific and transparent manner.

To reduce our impact, we work in 7 key areas:

  • Ensuring legal and regulatory compliance
  • Using natural resources responsibly
  • Enhancing energy efficiency while minimizing carbon footprint
  • Promoting green chemistry
  • Controlling and reducing air emissions
  • Actively managing waste streams
  • Applying greener lifecycle management principles.

Sustainability and Stewardship

UCB is committed to improving its carbon footprint, energy efficiency, water conservation and waste control. This benefits our company both environmentally and economically, creating a positive result for local communities. The commitment is illustrated by a transparent reporting system and growing engagement with suppliers and contract manufacturing organizations (CMOs).

Our efforts are in line with the ambitions set out in the ‘Paris Agreement’ agreed by world leaders at the 21st session of the UN Conference of the Parties (COP21). We established a multi-disciplinary team to review climate-sensitive manufacturing and behavioral outcomes, potential impacts and strategies to reduce or mitigate risks, while considering business continuity and transparency. This detailed, analytical approach is yielding results in our target areas.



Saving energy
Cutting carbon emissions is central to our green strategy. Our ambition to become carbon neutral by 2030 relates in first instance to the activities we control directly. However, more than half of our total carbon footprint is produced by our suppliers and contract manufacturing organizations (CMOs). That is why we work closely with these partners to ensure they are transparently reporting energy use and making every effort to reduce energy consumption.

Our production sites consume a lot of energy. We view this as an opportunity to make a meaningful impact on our CO2 output. Since 2015, UCB reduced overall energy consumption by 27%; usage of gas and electricity was reduced by 29% and 26% respectively. These absolute reductions were partly due to divestments.

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Changing our energy consumption since 2015:

  • Overall energy consumption ↓27%
  • Gas usage ↓29%
  • Electricity usage ↓26%

Energy saving initiatives in 2018 saved 6 653 GigaJoules. Energy saving projects were completed at the sites in Bulle (Swizerland), Braine l’Alleud (Belgium) and Zhuhai (China).

Key contributors were an optimization of the Multicolumn Continuous Chromatography (MCC) equipment used at the chemical production plant in Bulle and energy efficiency gains in the distribution of fluids at the chemical production plant in Braine l’Alleud and in the microbial inactivation process at the bioplant in Bulle.

In 2018, 92% of the electricity consumed by UCB originated from renewable sources, with six UCB sites relying fully on? electricity generated from renewable sources, i.e., Bulle (Switzerland), Monheim (Germany), Atlanta (U.S.), Slough (U.K.) Braine-l’Alleud and Brussels (Belgium). Electricity sources include solar, wind and hydropower, as well as, biomass.

UCB generated 2 641 GigaJoules of electricity through solar panels installed in Braine-l’Alleud and Bulle, an increase of 59% compared to 2015 due to the installation of additional solar panels in Braine l’Alleud.

In addition, we are working with our employees to achieve significant savings on business travel and? to reduce commuting.

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Carbon compensation
To complement our efforts to reduce energy consumption and? to use as much as possible energy generated from renewable sources, UCB embraces carbon compensation.

Forests are natural ‘sinks’ for carbon, absorbing tons of greenhouse gases every year. By investing in forestry, we can help to balance our overall carbon? impact.

Conserving water
Water is a precious resource. It plays a vital role in our production process and in climate control for our products. Water consumption at UCB facilities decreased by 1% in 2018 and we will continue to strive for greater efficiency.

Reducing waste

In 2018, waste generated at the UCB facilities decreased by 24% compared to 2015. UCB globally managed to recover 92% of its waste, predominantly through recovery of waste as a fuel to generate energy, and the recovery and regeneration of solvents. This percentage of recuperated waste steadily improved by more than 5%, when compared to 2010.

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