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Meet the 2023 FOYA Social Impact Category Winner: Takeda SA

Marcy Sanford
Meet the 2023 Social Impact Category Winner: Takeda SA

The 2023 Facility of the Year Awards (FOYA) Social Impact category recognizes companies that accelerated a shift to sustainable facility design, intended to ensure the effective use of energy, minimize waste, reduce carbon footprint, incorporate green manufacturing techniques, and reduce environmental impact.

2023 Social Impact Category

About the Company: Takeda is a global values-based, R&D-driven biopharmaceutical leader committed to creating better health for people and a brighter future for the world. For more than 240 years, Takeda has focused on delivering transformative treatments in the therapeutic areas of gastrointestinal and inflammation, rare diseases, plasma-derived therapies, oncology, neuroscience, and vaccines.

Project: Sustainable Manufacturing of Plasma-derived Therapies

Caring for Patients | Caring for the Planet

Takeda’s manufacturing site in Lessines, Belgium, produces several plasma-derived therapies, one of which is used for adults with clinically evident lung emphysema due to severe congenital deficiency of Alpha1-Pl (alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency). People born with a lack of this naturally occurring protein will suffer from a progressive destruction of their lung alveoli and even loss of lung tissue, resulting in severe and end-stage lung disease, emphysema. While it is very energy-consuming to produce these therapies, Takeda paid special attention to the facility’s design to optimize the processes and to make them, and the site, as energy efficient as possible in keeping with their commitment to minimize environmental impact and progress towards future sustainability goals.

In addition to creating an environmentally friendly facility, Takeda strives to include environmental sustainability in the company’s culture, through employee awareness and volunteer opportunities, by working closely with the local community, and by regularly participating in events to spread the word on how environmental sustainability can be leveraged on a production site. Takeda also surrounds itself with professional organizations such as ‘Reseau Nature’ and suppliers to help the site reach its goals in reducing its environmental impact.

Why They Won:

Preserving Natural Resources: The wastewater treatment system at the site has reduced freshwater withdrawal by 60% or 36 million liters of freshwater saved annually at the alpha1-antitrypsin facility alone and 400 million liters for the entire Lessines production site. Takeda is the first pharmaceutical company worldwide to have implemented this water preservation project, in collaboration with a Belgian start-up Ekopak, on a large scale. Their overall goal is to reduce freshwater withdrawal by 90% by 2027 (the equivalent of 600 million liters of freshwater). The site has also a strong waste reduction culture and they are constantly analyzing their recycling program and looking for new reusable opportunities.

Net-zero: The manufacturing facility has an electricity consumption of 4,2GWh/year which is covered by 100% renewable electricity: solar photovoltaic panels, biogas, and in the near future geothermal energy and wind turbines, all produced mainly on-site. Takeda has reduced CO2 emission by 861 tons. Over the past five years the entire Lessines production site has reduced its operational carbon footprint by 45% or the equivalent of 5,500 tons of CO2. By 2026, the site will produce 80% of its electricity consumed on-site and aims to be a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions site by 2030.

Optimized Facility Design and Integration: The HVAC system is designed to recover 90% of the air from GMP rooms, drastically reducing the energy consumption for humidity and temperature regulation. The layout and design of the rooms are flexible, allowing further expansion with minimum or no impact on its operations. Furthermore, the manufacturing area is built to allow access to the technical areas behind and between the rooms from a non-classified corridor. This eliminates the need for complex procedures for maintenance, allowing a quick response time in the event of technical failure. Air-controlled pass-boxes enable waste to be discarded quickly and avoid circulation through classified environments. The building is equipped with a smart Building Management System (BMS) that helps further optimize energy usage. All steam condensates are re-used to pre-heat water in the central water production system.

Factory of the Future: Digitalization is another keyway Takeda is improving processes, supporting employees, and reducing the site’s environmental impact. The manufacturing facility is operated fully paperless. Takeda collects all necessary information through the MES (Manufacturing Execution Systems). The use of tablets for remote control of the manufacturing process reduces paper usage by approximately 100,000 pages of paper per year at full capacity (around 300 pages of paper to produce one lot).

Locally Focused: Takeda took action to preserve biodiversity on the site and is in the process of obtaining the Réseau Nature label from Natagora, an association for the protection of nature, active in Brussels and Wallonia. Three rare local species were found on-site: the Blue-winged Oedipod (cricket), the Wandering Andrene (solitary bee), and the Heleborine Epipactis (flowering plant). Takeda took specific action to protect and sustain their presence. For the past three years, Takeda has planting melliferous plants and indigenous trees, built three ponds, installed beehives, flower meadows, and even started its own vegetable and herbs garden. Employee wellbeing is a key priority for Takeda and the site has an inspirational garden where employees can take part in activities such as football, basketball, paddle tennis, and yoga.

Sustainability Sharing: Takeda is proud to report that they have seen an increasing number of job applications from people who have seen its sustainable initiatives in the media or by word-of-mouth. Takeda also has participated in best practice exchanges with other companies to promote its sustainability efforts and lead by example. For example, following the water recycling project, companies such as UCB, GSK and Novartis decided to launch feasibility studies at their own sites.


Attend the 2023 Facility of the Year Awards Celebratory Reception and Banquet on 15 October at Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA held in conjunction with the 2023 ISPE Annual Meeting & Expo.

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Apply for a chance to join this prestigious list of innovative game-changers and let ISPE honor your organization as a 2024 FOYA program winner. Applications must be submitted by 4 December 2023.

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