Navigating India’s Green Manufacturing Odyssey
Published on 21 December, 2022 / Published by Economics Times

by Shirish Belapure

The Indian pharmaceutical industry is now a global powerhouse that plays a vital role in supplying drugs and vaccines to much of the world. While drugs remain the main focus of the pharma industry, it is now paying more attention to sustainability. The COVID-19 pandemic served as a wake-up call for businesses to focus on sustainability in environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG). With sustainability now a global agenda, it is important for India's pharma industry to get on board as well while continuing to be a provider of quality and affordable medicines to the world.

Achieving sustainability in manufacturing is now a key point in the pharma industry’s agenda. Pharma companies will now have to push themselves particularly after the SEBI has mandated the top 1,000 listed companies (including pharma companies) by market cap to provide details of their material environmental, social, governance risks opportunities and strategies to alleviate or adapt to the risks along with financial implications under a new business responsibility and sustainability report (BRSR) format by 2023. The COVID-19 pandemic provided a great backdrop for companies to assess their environmental sustainability practices. During the pandemic, companies rallied to see how they could help put an end to the growing public health threat.

Although great feats of excellence were achieved, the development and approval of mRNA vaccines for example – a great deal of waste was also produced. The world’s largest vaccination drive in India generated massive quantities of bio-waste from discarded vials. Additionally, the bulk production and usage of surgical masks, gloves, syringes, and disinfectants and storage of vaccines also contributed to global greenhouse gas emissions while improper disposal of waste such as masks also created toxic plastic wastes.

This article was originally published on Economics Times