A new perspective on supply chain sustainability in the wake of COVID-19
Supply chain sustainability has been a hot topic among industry professionals for decades, but the COVID-19 pandemic has catapulted the issue into the mainstream. Disruptions to medicine supply during the pandemic have shone a spotlight on the complex global supply chains used in pharmaceutical production and exposed a fragility and lack of visibility across the chain.
Meanwhile, the societal and environmental impacts of supply chains have seen increased discussion. Intricacies of global supply chain networks have been condensed into digestible infographics on social media. Global demonstrations against human rights abuses related to the supply chain also abound. The result: the general public is more aware than ever. These revelations have resulted in increased pressure on organizations to publicly uphold responsible, transparent practices throughout the supply chain.
Increasing sustainability and resilience
The impact and ongoing uncertainty of COVID-19 has highlighted the urgent need for review and reform across multiple industries, and prompted action from global organizations. In 2021, the UN’s Sustainability Goals were updated in light of recent events—sustainable consumption and production patterns included.
Research by Teva Pharmaceuticals places consumer sustainability concerns at the forefront. They report that 65% of European patients value environmentally sustainable production methods, while 84% want governments to focus on manufacturing investments in their region in a bid to minimize over-dependencies on countries outside of Europe. They report, too, that consumers rank these commitments as critical to a sustainable future.
Stakeholders’ growing scrutiny around pharmaceutical manufacturing sustainability is bolstered by a report published by Sapio Research in the US, which discloses that 87% of respondents do not have end-to-end supply chain visibility. When setting sustainability goals, organizations must consider the impact throughout their supply chain beyond just emissions. Monitoring other social and environmental issues affecting the pharmaceutical industry – toxic materials, corruption, water usage – is vital.
End-to-end visibility through the supply chain supports net-zero targets. But not only that, employing sustainable, transparent practices enables an organization to build resilience against future threats - whether another natural disaster, policy changes, or a supplier liquidation.
Many pharmaceutical companies now have stringent Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policies in place to address issues through their supply chain. But can they be certain that their supplier factories are operating under the same conditions?
The Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Initiative (PSCI), a non-profit business membership organization, was founded to promote responsible supply chain management across the industry.
The Pharmaceutical Industry Principles for Responsible Supply Chain Management set out relevant practices across five key areas: ethics, labor, health and safety, environment and management systems. All businesses operating within the pharmaceutical supply chain are expected to uphold these principles.
Ensuring sustainability throughout the chain
Leveraging our network of specialized pharmaceutical auditors, Bureau Veritas’ PSCI audit services verify that all businesses operating within the pharmaceutical supply chain comply with sustainability requirements. As supply chains continue to come under scrutiny from increasingly aware consumers, an accredited third-party audit provides a distinct advantage in a competitive market.