Samsung Biologics, one of the largest contract development and manufacturing organizations (CDMOs) in the world, has made a concentrated effort to focus on sustainability in recent years. This effort appears to be paying off, as the CDMO has been awarded a Gold Sustainability Rating from EcoVadis, an organization that evaluates the corporate social responsibility performances of companies, with a particular focus on sustainable procurement practices.
The gold rating is an improvement from Samsung Biologics’ previous rating of silver, which it received from EcoVadis last year. Its 2022 score of 71/100 was 14 points higher than its 2021 score, and it placed the CDMO in the top 5% of the more than 100,000 companies from 200 industries across 175 countries that EcoVadis assessed.
“Achieving an EcoVadis gold rating is further indication of Samsung Biologics’ strengthened ESG focus and our commitment to working with our suppliers and industry partners to reduce our environmental impact, integrate sustainable management, and build a more transparent, responsible value chain,” said John Rim, CEO of Samsung Biologics. “Not only is prioritizing these efforts within our business the right thing to do, but it is also an important part of what we bring to our clients to help them meet their own sustainability commitments.”
What Does An EcoVadis Rating Measure?
The EcoVadis Sustainability Rating uses a set of 21 sustainability criteria to assess companies’ policies, actions, and results across four major themes: environment, labor, and human rights, ethics, and sustainable procurement. The assessment model is based on standards such as the Global Reporting Initiative, the United Nations Global Compact, and ISO 26000 (social responsibility).
Samsung Biologics manufactures biomedicines for 12 of the top 20 biopharmaceutical companies in the world, as well as many other smaller companies. Its role as a CDMO is to partner with these companies to help them develop and scale the manufacture of biologic medicines.
This development and manufacturing process involves procuring and transporting the appropriate materials, as well as utilizing sophisticated equipment such as mixers and cold chain storage refrigeration in its manufacturing facilities. In awarding Samsung Biologics a Gold Sustainability Rating, EcoVadis is recognizing that the CDMO is making strides to reduce emissions throughout the supply chain and manufacturing process.
A Sustainable CDMO
In July, Samsung Biologics released its second annual ESG report, which outlines the CDMO’s emissions reduction goals, as well as its performance on meeting sustainability goals in 2021. The report, in which Samsung Biologics pledges to be “your sustainable CDMO,” signals the company’s increased focus on sustainability since Rim became CEO in 2020.
“Under our ‘Driven. For a Sustainable Life.’ framework, we are continuously improving and committing our resources to create a sustainable environment, build a healthy society, and implement responsible business activities,” said Rim.
“The publication of our annual ESG report reinforces the progress we’ve made, while keeping us focused on the long-term goals we’ve set. Our sustainability initiatives reinforce the connection between the work we do and how we fulfill our mission, while delivering on our core values of always putting people and the environment first.”
The report noted that Samsung Biologics reduced its Scope 1 and 2 emissions, those which are the direct result of its operations, by 32.3% in 2021. The CDMO reported a commitment to reduce total Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 54.3% by 2026. It also committed to reducing Scope 3 emissions, those which are indirectly related to its business, by 25.7% by 2026. Part of this commitment involves engaging with suppliers to encourage a transition to sustainable, low-emissions methods.
To meet its emissions reduction goals, Samsung Biologics’ strategy involves taking steps such as process energy optimization, transitions to renewable energy sources at its facilities, and minimizing the use of disposables in the manufacturing process through waste management and recycling.
Samsung Biologics is also actively involved in several sustainability initiatives. It maintains a rigorous emissions reporting and analysis process in accordance with the Carbon Disclosure Project, and it’s designing a climate risk management model as part of the Frontier 1.5D initiative, which aims to limit global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
In 2021, the CDMO became the first Korean life sciences company to be listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index, and it also obtained global ISO certifications for meeting standards in energy management, occupational health and safety management, and effective environmental management.
In addition, Samsung Biologics is the sole CDMO representative in the Sustainable Markets Initiative, which connects businesses across industries with leading researchers and international organizations such as the World Health Organization and UNICEF to develop ways to incentivize sustainable approaches to management and markets. As the only CDMO involved in the initiative, Samsung Biologics is focused on building a more sustainable biopharmaceutical supply chain.
“The SMI’s mission is to build a coordinated global effort to enable the private sector to accelerate the transition to a sustainable future, with multiple industries involved in reducing greenhouse gas emissions across the world by 2030,” explained Rim in a recent interview. “We are the only CDMO represented in the SMI’s Health Systems Task Force along with AstraZeneca, Sanofi, GSK, Novo Nordisk, the WHO, the [U.K.’s] NHS [National Health Service], and UNICEF. This foregrounds our positioning as a strategic partner to pharma and a contributor to the betterment of society, global health, and the planet.”
Samsung Biologics’ ambitious emissions reduction goals and actions, along with its involvement in several broader sustainability initiatives, contributed to the increased rating assigned by EcoVadis. They also contributed to a recent recognition of the CDMO’s sustainability efforts by the Frost and Sullivan Institute, which gave Samsung Biologics the Enlightened Growth Leadership Award for its commitment to “innovating to zero.”
“We are proud to receive this award and be recognized for our efforts in proactively addressing global priorities, while securing continuous growth as a sustainable CDMO partner. We will continue to implement innovative and sound business practices throughout our value chains to build a healthier ecosystem, driving a sustainable future for all,” said Rim.
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