AboutZoos, Since 2008


Bio­di­ver­sity should be fos­tered by phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies recent study reveals

pub­lished 28 July 2011 | mod­i­fied 21 April 2012

The way the world’s lead­ing phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies exploit nature is a major risk to them as it will increase bio­di­ver­sity loss and degrade the ecosys­tem ser­vices, a recently pub­lished study reveals.

The phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal sec­tor is depen­dent on bio­di­ver­sity and ecosys­tem ser­vices. Not only 25 to 50% of the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals is derived from active ingre­di­ents from nature, but the use of clean water and inert raw mate­ri­als such as fish oils, soya and pal­moil are inevitable in drug manufacture.

More­over, the impacts from over­ex­ploita­tion of nat­ural resources like active ingre­di­ents that can­not be read­ily syn­the­sised, pal­moil and soy­bean pro­duc­tion, and water pol­lu­tion due to drug man­u­fac­tur­ing leads to envi­ron­men­tal degra­da­tion, which is back­fir­ing at the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal companies.

The past 50 years a sig­nif­i­cant shift in pop­u­la­tion, con­sump­tion pat­terns and nat­ural resource extrac­tion by human beings has been recog­nised. This led to unprece­dented rates of bio­di­ver­sity loss, which is 1001,000 times faster in recent decades than the nat­ural rate. We are expe­ri­enc­ing unprece­dented rates of bio­di­ver­sity loss. Sixty per­cent of the ecosys­tem ser­vices, such as fresh­wa­ter, fish­eries, pol­li­na­tion and cli­mate reg­u­la­tion, are either degraded or in decline. Pre­dic­tions are that this trend will worsen. The impli­ca­tions for soci­ety, includ­ing busi­nesses are clear con­sid­er­ing that all busi­nesses rely directly or indi­rectly on bio­di­ver­sity and ecosys­tem ser­vices, accord­ing to The Eco­nom­ics of Ecosys­tems and Bio­di­ver­sity (TEEB) review. TEEB esti­mated the eco­nomicim­pli­ca­tions of these trends to be in the region of US$ 2 to US $4.5 tril­lion in 2008 (3.37.5 per­cent of global gross domes­tic prod­uct or GDP). In addi­tion, the World Eco­nomic Forum (WEF) placed bio­di­ver­sity at the nexus of a wide range of global risks includ­ing food secu­rity, water man­age­ment, poverty alle­vi­a­tion and cli­mate change.

In 2010 Robeco, the Dutch asset man­ager, iden­ti­fied the sus­tain­abil­ity of bio­di­ver­sity and ecosys­tem ser­vices as a poten­tial risk for the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal indus­try. They com­mis­sioned a broad review of 10 major global phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies with the aim to raise aware­ness on the mat­ter and get insight on how these com­pa­nies are address­ing this risk. The aware­ness of these risk with their port­fo­lio com­pa­nies are key for Robeco to pre­serve share­holder value. The study con­ducted by KPMG, Bio­di­ver­sity and ecosys­tem ser­vices: Risk and oppor­tu­nity analy­sis within the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal sec­tor, shows that all com­pa­nies reviewed have started to acknowl­edge the busi­ness impli­ca­tions of declin­ing bio­di­ver­sity and ecosys­tem ser­vices. Although com­pa­nies are doing envi­ron­men­tal risk assess­ments, bio­di­ver­sity and ecosys­tem ser­vices are not part of it yet. Such assess­ments are para­mount, because their nat­ural resources and there­fore their sup­ply chains could dry up. These assess­ments “ should address the sourc­ing of inert and active ingre­di­ents from nature in drug dis­cov­ery, devel­op­ment and man­u­fac­ture as well as the direct oper­a­tional foot­print of man­u­fac­tur­ing sites,” accord­ing to Ms Grigg, co-​author of the study.

(Source: web­site Robeco, 21.07.2011)

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