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Business & Profession Business and Innovation, COVID-19, Health Economics and Policy

Sustainability: A Message from Siân Boisseau

sponsored by Santen Pharmaceuticals

What is your vision for sustainability in eye care?

Santen’s values are rooted in the potential of the natural world. Our team has great appetite for achieving global environmental sustainability goals, which are also critical to future-proofing the benefits Santen brings.

Santen’s ‘Vision for Earth 2050’ targets were set in line with the 1.5 °C Paris Agreement target, focusing on reducing CO2 emissions, water, and plastic use.

What steps has Santen taken towards achieving your sustainability goals?

Next year we’ll launch the first plant- derived eye drop bottle for a number of our eye drop medications, which will reduce our reliance on non-renewable resources. The polymer is sugar cane-derived yet possesses the structural integrity of traditional plastic to ensure the medication reaches the patient in good condition.

Other priorities include reducing the impact of transport use on our carbon footprint – switching to hybrid/electric fleet vehicles, reducing business travel, particularly by air, and decreasing wholesale delivery frequency.

We now measure the footprint of our congress presence since events are relatively high-impact activities. We are applying the reduce, reuse, recycle principle, alongside a move to selecting suppliers with strong environmental credentials.

We are just starting our journey, but change takes time. By having conversations and setting expectations around environmental and social impact, we create more awareness and demand, which will lead to change in the market.

Which technological advances and innovations have affected your sustainability goals?

As part of an internal leadership innovation program, we will review carbon emissions from our upstream supply chain. These findings will inform our carbon reduction program.

Business travel is a significant contributor to our carbon footprint, but the pandemic has changed our outlook on face-to-face versus virtual events. With creative use of virtual event technology, we have achieved more and reached more healthcare professionals than we thought possible a few years ago, while dramatically reducing air travel. We now carefully assess when face-to-face is necessary.

What strategies will you employ to achieve your goals?

Just as our business is driven by a clinical evidence base, we must treat our environmental sustainability similarly. Not only must we harness the huge enthusiasm across the business in a measurable way, the marketplace will also soon demand more of us as suppliers and we must prove our actions are real and effective – this level of robustness is essential.

Additionally, collaboration is key. Our Santen company values recognize the need to leverage external strengths, which are critical to devising the innovations needed to meet our goals, just as we do to progress our portfolio. Environmental sustainability is a complex area so we must embrace the wisdom of experts, as well as grow our expertise in house.

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