COP28 Blue Skies

Over a two-year period, Chiesi's scheme recycled 52,148 inhalers

Chiesi Limited’s Take AIR scheme was an inhaler recycling scheme supported by University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust and Leicestershire and Rutland Local Pharmaceutical Committee (LPC).  

The challenge:

Approximately 73 million inhalers are prescribed in the UK every year, with the vast majority disposed of in landfill. The propellant gas used in some inhalers is a known greenhouse gas, which, when disposed of through domestic waste, can be released into the atmosphere where it can remain and potentially contribute to global warming.

Chiesi Limited began a collaboration with the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust (UHL) and Leicestershire and Rutland Local Pharmaceutical Committee (LPC) in 2021, forming Take AIR (Action for Inhaler Recycling). Take AIR was the first scheme of its kind that allowed people to dispose of and recycle empty, unwanted, or out-of-date inhalers through the post.

Pharmacies provided pre-paid, pre-addressed envelopes to patients, which they could use to recycle their inhalers. All inhaler types could be returned, and most were recycled at an energy-from-waste facility. Propellant gas from pressurised metered dose inhalers was extracted for reuse in non-pharmaceutical industries, including refrigeration and air conditioning.

Between February 2021 and February 2023, 52,148 inhalers were returned, saving 305.3 tC02e from entering the atmosphere.

[Created 22 November 2023]

GSK is working to have a positive impact on biodiversity at their sites

Human health relies on the fundamentals of nature: clean air and fresh water. Making nature easily accessible where we live, work and play also improves mental and physical wellbeing. As part of their goal to have a net positive impact on nature by 2030, GSK is committed to achieving net positive biodiversity at all their sites by 2030.

At their Stevenage site, they have already established a baseline of the species and habitats at the site and created a plan to deliver a 39% increase in biodiversity, including grass, wood, and heathlands. This pilot project will be rolled out, ensuring all GSK sites have measurable and realistic biodiversity plans in place by 2025.

COP28 GSK Heath
COP28 GSK Rewables

GSK is moving to 100% renewable energy by 2025

As part of GSK’s commitment to a net zero impact on climate, they have set a target to transition to 100% renewable electricity by 2025. In September 2021, they announced a major £50m investment at manufacturing sites in Scotland and the US to secure renewable power generation. This includes a twenty-year power purchase agreement to build, run and maintain a 28MW solar and wind turbine facility at GSK’s Irvine site. When fully operational, this project will reduce GSK’s carbon footprint by around 10,000 tonnes of carbon annually. GSK is also working on a solar farm project at its Barnard Castle Site which would generate up to 16MWp of renewable energy.

GSK is reducing emissions from inhalers

GSK’s metered dose inhalers (MDIs) for asthma and COPD account for around half of their carbon footprint. This is because the propellant used in all current MDIs contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. As part of GSK’s ambitious net-zero climate targets, they are investing in an R&D programme to transition to a next-generation lower carbon propellant. This has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from their inhalers by approximately 90%.

COP28 GSK Inhaler
COP 28 River

GSK is setting validated science-based targets for nature

With nature loss happening at a faster rate than at any time in human history, GSK is part of the first group of companies to be working to set validated science-based targets for nature. This will start with targets for freshwater and land, including water neutrality in operations and with key suppliers in water-stressed regions by 2030, and 100% of agricultural and forestry derived materials being sustainably sourced and deforestation free by 2030. This will be followed by targets for oceans and biodiversity, focused on locations across GSK’s value chain where nature is particularly under pressure.

GSK has also announced a commitment to publish TNFD (The Task Force on Nature-related Disclosures) aligned disclosures from 2026.

GSK has developed sustainable sourcing standards for key materials

As part of its commitment to a net zero, nature positive, healthier planet, GSK has developed a set of standard for suppliers who provide them with materials that are highly dependent on nature.

The standards are broken down into five separate categories: Crop, Marine, Livestock, Poultry and Processor, covering materials like lactose, gelatine, soy, palm oil, paper and sugars. The standards are designed to trace back to the materials origin, from producers (e.g. farms, fisheries, plantations) through to the next tier in the supply chain known as processors (e.g. mills, refineries).

COP 28 Forest Aerial

Last modified: 04 December 2023

Last reviewed: 04 December 2023