March / April 2023

Sustainability: A Priority for Emerging Leaders

Emerging Leaders Editorial: Zen-Zen Yen

Sustainability is a buzzword that has been tossed back and forth across industries for decades. For a while, it was seen as something that consumers didn’t really care about, but now the reality is different. According to a 2022 study, nearly 80% of consumers think about sustainability when purchasing products. Sustainability efforts can range from a specific product to an entire brand, or even an industry as a whole. In the pharmaceutical industry, there is a lot of work to be done when it comes to sustainability, but the time is now.

When considering the younger generations such as millennials and Generation Z, sustainability becomes even more critical. As these generations gain more buying power and become more influential, this trend will only continue to rise, but it doesn’t stop there. During our last ISPE Germany/Austria/Switzerland (D/A/CH) Affiliate Board meeting, our Emerging Leaders (EL) representatives decided to take the train rather than fly despite the difference in the trip’s duration because they saw it as a sustainable action.

Sustainable Values

For companies to be competitive in the most demanding hiring markets, they have to feature values in alignment with the best candidates. Strong future leaders are often willing to sacrifice pay to work at a company that aligns with their sustainable values. While only 17% of baby boomers have taken a job because the company championed sustainability, nearly 40% of millennials have chosen a job for that very reason.2 To stay competitive and attract top talent, organizations of all types have to put sustainability at the forefront of their business.

Takeda is taking sustainability to heart; it is building its first zero-energy facility in Singapore.3 The building, which will greatly expand Takeda’s manufacturing capabilities, is the first net zero carbon emissions structure of its kind in the biotech industry in Singapore. Having already achieved carbon neutrality in 2020, Takeda is a model organization to look to for inspiration and practical implementation ideas when it comes to sustainable business practices. While big changes can have a big impact, operating with sustainability in mind does not have to mean constructing a new set of manufacturing buildings; instead, organizations of any size can incorporate small daily practices that, when combined, can make a massive difference. Opportunities to reduce the impact on our planet can be found in all technical areas.

A Differentiating Factor

In addition to the idea of planet preservation, sustainability is a differentiating factor for companies nowadays. Today, consumers notice when an organization aligns with their values. It’s not just about having the best product anymore; it’s about having the best product and making it in a way that people can feel good about supporting, or joining as an employee.

As Emerging Leaders are increasingly conscious about sustainability, I want to drive our engagement in the technical communities to increase awareness. Because I believe that collaboration and different perspectives are key for providing the best solutions for our patients, our engagement as Emerging Leaders with ISPE’s Communities of Practice (CoPs) is one of my key priorities for this year. We will bring those groups together on 23 March 2023 in our first Emerging Leaders CoP Day–Meet the Leaders of the ISPE Technical Communities to kick-start and increase our visibility and engagement.

Our industry serves the health and safety of patients around the globe, and we can’t do that without factoring sustainability into the very fabric of our operations.

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