Environmental Protection & Sustainability at Alkermes

Nov 21, 2023 11:30 AM ET

Originally published in Alkermes September 2023 Corporate Responsibility Report

We strive to conduct our business activities in a manner that minimizes the environmental impacts of our operations and promotes effective stewardship of environmental resources. We are committed to complying with applicable laws, rules and regulations and operating with the highest standards of conduct. All Alkermes facilities are subject to routine regulatory inspections in respect of EHSS to confirm compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

We strive to maintain a culture of sustainability throughout our organization and work collaboratively across internal stakeholder groups and functions to identify ways to mitigate risks, increase operational efficiencies and reduce our environmental impacts, including those related to resource use, waste management and climate change.

Following a 2020 survey of leaders across our operations functions to identify the environmental focus areas of highest importance to our business operations, we identified the following key environmental focus areas:

  • Energy Use, GHG Emissions and Renewables
  • Waste Optimization and Circular Economy
  • Pharmaceuticals in the Environment
  • Water Conservation
  • Sustainability in the Supply Network
  • Biodiversity

In 2021, we established a global, cross-functional sustainability steering team to further develop and enhance our focus on these areas, and in 2022, we began to work with Sustainserv, an independent consultant, to help us further advance our environmental sustainability strategy and associated disclosures.

Energy Usage and GHG Emissions Highlights 

Alkermes recognizes the serious environmental, economic and societal impacts caused by climate change. We continually monitor and review our energy usage in order to identify opportunities for further optimization and reduction. Our activities in support of this objective include:

  • Analysis of data and trends from electricity, natural gas and processed gas monitoring systems at our facilities;
  • Replacement of legacy equipment with more energy- efficient alternatives;
  • Incorporation of sustainable design and building techniques into new facilities to promote less energy use; and
  • Assessments of options to procure and further integrate renewable energy sources into our operations.

A group of engineering leaders from each of our sites meets regularly to develop best practices for our facilities and utility systems. A sub-team of this group is responsible for integrating sustainability principles and practices into the design of our capital projects, monitoring company-wide energy audits and developing multi-year plans for energy reduction initiatives.

Our overall energy use increased sequentially by 4% in 2022, and in turn our combined Scope 1 & 2 GHG emissions (absolute) increased by 2%. Combined Scope 1 & 2 emissions per $M revenue were 40% lower than our baseline year of 2015. The increases were primarily due to increased commercial activities (and corresponding gasoline usage) related to the launch of a new proprietary product, increased diesel usage at one of our facilities as part of an electrical supply upgrade and increased process gases and refrigerants emissions related to required system repair and maintenance.

These increases were partially mitigated by our continued assessment and implementation of opportunities to improve our energy use and reduce GHG emissions at our facilities including:

  • Our Dublin offices and Athlone facility were supplied by 100% renewable electricity generation in 2022; and
  • At our Athlone facility, a dedicated chilled water unit was installed as part of a process upgrade. This upgrade allowed the site’s baseload chiller to operate more efficiently, saving an estimated 1,175,150 kWh annually.

As part of an upgrade to our Athlone facility completed in 2022, the facility now provides additional Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations.

For the third consecutive year, the electricity at our Athlone facility was verified by Captured Carbon, an independent provider of energy services in Ireland, as being sourced from 100% renewable electricity generation in 2022. This achievement underscores our continued commitment to reducing our environmental impact and implementing sustainable business practices.

Water Conservation Highlights 

We recognize that water is a scarce and invaluable resource that we must endeavor to conserve and use efficiently and sustainably. We have implemented programs across our organization to assess, reduce and optimize our water consumption, and we examine opportunities to further conserve water on an ongoing basis.

Despite these efforts, overall absolute source water usage at our facilities increased 15% in 2022 compared to 2021, primarily due to groundwater well repair work at our Athlone facility. However, even with this increase, our overall absolute source water usage decreased 22% compared to our 2015 baseline measurement year and the majority of the water used in such repair work was recovered and recycled.

Case Study: Protecting Local Ecology 

In 2022 and early 2023, our Athlone facility designed, constructed and commissioned an enhanced Fire Water Retention Facility, which, in the event of a major incident, is designed to contain contaminated firefighting water and help protect the local environment. The project was completed in response to revised national guidance from the Environmental Protection Agency of Ireland, who consulted on the project.

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