Protecting the environment

Protecting the environment is a growing challenge and a priority for the Virbac Group. Beyond initiatives deployed at the subsidiary level, our ambition is grounded in proactive efforts to reduce the environmental footprint of all our activities and products. 


GROUP GOVERNANCE AND ENVIRONMENT POLICY

From an organizational point of view, the creation of a Corporate EHS department, reporting to the chairman, supports this route. One of this department’s initiatives involves re-framing the scope and methods of reporting, a prerequisite for gaining a Group-wide perspective of exposure to environmental risks.

Virbac is also committed to developing a training and awareness program dedicated to environmental issues for both existing employees and newcomers. External stakeholders were also involved in the effort, with the inclusion of environmental clauses in supplier assessment questionnaires. These initiatives, in conjunction with the roll-out of audits throughout an expanded range of subsidiaries (Mexico, Taiwan, United States, Australia, New Zealand, Uruguay, Vietnam and Chile), demonstrate this quest for consistency in the deployment of a Group-driven strategy.

SUSTAINABLE USE OF RESOURCES

In an effort to optimize the resources we use, we seek to control the consumption of energy, water and materials used in our manufacturing processes.

OUR KEY OBJECTIVES

  • reducing energy consumption by 5% by 2025.
  • controlling water withdrawals.
  • reducing the overall share of materials, including all packaging placed on the market.

OUR ACTION PLANS

Energy

For several years, Virbac has been working to reduce energy consumption by replacing equipment for better efficiency, thermal insulation and optimizing air conditioning. We have also introduced consumption indicators as close as possible to the end-users for better control of energy expenses. At all of our industrial sites around the world, we seek to take energy consumption into account by using the Best available techniques (BAT) applicable to our business, whether in the choice of new equipment or through ongoing monitoring.
A few examples of our work:

Virbac in France

We rolled out an Energy savings plan (ESP) with three main components: improved temperature management, in particular for the storage of raw materials and finished products at Carros, the installation of a heat recovery unit at the water treatment plant and, finally, the installation of additional insulation on all steam circuits.

At the Carros industrial sites, we implemented this approach as part of an industrial performance plan, which enabled us to reduce consumption at the main site by 9%.  In addition, in November 2017, the commissioning of the heat recovery unit at the Carros water treatment plant helped reduce our gas consumption. Through these various projects, we have reduced our electricity consumption by 37% over the last 11 years.  

Virbac Australia

Thanks to the installation of solar panels and optimized power management, the Australian sites in Penrith and Crockwell have reduced their electricity consumption by 28% over a seven-year period. Gas consumption was also reduced over the same period by 32% with the implementation of an optimized maintenance plan for industrial boilers.

Reducing the energy intensity of its activities and products is clearly a competitiveness lever, placing Virbac on a virtuous path, which, in turn, will help reduce its overall emissions of CO2.

Water

Virbac also strives to lower water consumption at equivalent activity volumes by setting up recycling or production facilities for various BAT-compliant grades of water. Therefore, reduction in water consumption at French sites (representing more than 50% of the Group’s production) reached almost 12% over the past 11 years. 

We integrate the environmental context of the areas in which we operate into our analyses. Apart from the site in South Africa, located in a water stress zone using the criteria of the FAO (Food and agriculture organization) and the WRF (Water risk filter), none of the Group’s production plants are situated in water stress zones identified as such.

Raw materials and packaging

Always with a view to the sustainable use of resources, we are committed to optimize our  consumption of active ingredients, excipients and packaging items, thus avoiding product wastage or the multiplication of packaging and wrapping. 

We have also given new impetus, with the help of our strategic suppliers, towards innovation capable of reducing packaging. This involves optimized supply management to limit warehousing and internal movements. We are also making progress to optimize the flow and timing of shipments. Finally, we have launched a project to minimize wastage at all stages of the industrial process. 

Primary packaging that comes in contact with medicines is subject to strict pharmaceutical industry quality standards that limit the use of materials originating from recycling channels. On the other hand, we are focusing on eco-design principles for secondary or tertiary packaging, right from the research and development stage, in partnership with our suppliers. These efforts enabled us to reduce the packaging on the new petfood packaging by 40%, and to use recycled materials for 100% of the overpack boxes used at the main production site in France. 

OUR RESULTATS

Performance indicators 2018 2019
Gas consumed (MWh) 33,101 32,515
Electricity consumed (MWh) 50,060 47,76
Water withdrawn from sources (m3) 237,46 234,691
Volume of packaging placed on the market (tons) 4,682 4,555

As a result of action plans carried out at several industrial sites, particularly in France at the Carros site, the quantity of gas fell slightly (-2%) and more significantly for electricity (-6%). Total energy consumption in relation to activity fell by 5%.Following actions to optimize the cleaning of production equipment at the St. Louis site in the United States (-19%) and Guadalajara in Mexico (-29%), the Group’s water consumption decreased slightly.

ENVIRONMENTAL DISCHARGES

As part of its veterinary medicine manufacturing business, Virbac uses substances that present health, fire and/or explosion, air pollution and spillage risks during the various phases of the development and marketing process, from R&D to manufacturing, storage and transport.

To limit these risks, which could cause harm to people, property and the environment, the Group complies with the safety measures prescribed by the laws and regulations in force, implements good manufacturing and laboratory practices, and ensures its employees are trained. Virbac’s manufacturing sites and research and development facilities are also regularly inspected by the competent authorities. 

Due to the nature of its pharmaceutical manufacturing activity (especially containment technologies), Virbac does not generate any visual, noise or odor pollution. We therefore focus on the real consequences of our business (atmospheric emissions, effluents or hazardous waste resulting from our activities or products) by investing increasingly in environmental protection: taking into account HSE impacts in the management of industrial projects, improving the environmental performance of existing facilities, etc.

In addition, the Group’s environmental principles are adapted to each country in accordance with local regulations. Here again, the objective is to identify good practices at the subsidiary level to be consolidated within the Group context.

OUR KEY OBJECTIVES

  • limit the volume of water discharged and its COD content (Chemical oxygen demand).
  • reduce by 5% the total amount of waste generated by 2025.

OUR ACTION PLANS

Effluents

For effluents as for other discharges into the environment, our aim is to facilitate the consolidation at Group level of the various local initiatives and subject to specific regulatory frameworks, particularly with regard to optimizing the cleaning frequency of our facilities. In this regard, the Group’s oversight leads to conservative guidelines. For example, many sites must recover and treat a large portion of their process water discharges to hazardous waste standards.

Following the example of the new Ph regulation station on one of the Carros industrial sites in France, we are making regular investments in all our facilities to treat the wastewater coming directly from our activities, and the cleaning of equipment, as efficiently as possible. Our objective in this area is to reduce the proportion of COD, the main pollutant in discharged industrial water.

Hazardous waste

In addition to continually seeking to control the volumes generated and improve collection for treatment and maximum recycling, Virbac tracks all hazardous waste up to the point of disposal:

  • soiled packaging;
  • laboratory, production, medicinal or infectious wastes; 
  • chemical effluents (mostly incinerated and therefore thermally utilized or recycled for solvent recovery). 

Controlling waste volumes also begins at the research and development stage by considering treatment application methods so as to limit wastage and residues that could harm the environment (targeting/optimizing sprays, for example).

OUR RESULTS

Performance indicators 2018 2019
COD (tons) 121 93
Volume of hazardous industrial waste (tons) 2,966 2,493
Volume of ordinary industrial waste (tons) 2,270 2,376

The quantity of COD discharged decreased significantly (-23%). This was due, on the one hand, to an improvement in the quality of water discharge at the Carros site in France, and on the other hand to a decrease in the quantity of COD discharged at industrial sites in the United States following the optimization of the number of cleaning operations between different batches of manufactured products.

The total quantity of waste generated fell by 7%, most notably for hazardous industrial waste (-16%), mainly due to improved productivity at Australian and American sites, but also to the optimization of processes in Australia and France, which had a negative impact on the quantity of non-hazardous waste generated (+5%).

CLIMATE CHANGE

The risks linked to the effects of climate change encourage Virbac to contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

For Virbac, the direct and indirect emissions of greenhouse gases (scope 1 and 2) represent emissions related to the consumption of the various forms of energy (in this case, gas and electricity) on all industrial sites worldwide, as well as the greenhouse gas emissions related to refrigerants.

Other indirect greenhouse gas emissions (scope 3) correspond to emissions related to the transport of finished products from all sites to the end customer.

OUR KEY OBJECTIVES

  • reduce greenhouse gas emissions from scopes 1 and 2 by 10% by 2025.

OUR ACTION PLANS

Greenhouse gas emissions

Scope 1 & 2: direct and indirect emissions (industrial site consumption and GHG related to refrigerant gases)

Actions:

  • optimization of energy consumption: insulation of installations, energy recovery system on the effluent treatment plant for biological production units (Carros), solar boiler for industrial hot water (Mexico), extension of plans to replace lighting with LEDs on almost all industrial sites;
  • with regard to refrigerant gas emissions: reinforcement of maintenance plans at industrial sites in Australia and France, as well as a program to replace the most polluting fluids with lower CO2 emissions.

Scope 3: emissions from the transport of finished goods 

Actions: 

  • the new calculation method implemented in 2018 has enabled us to improve the reliability of the data from the subsidiaries data according to the emission coefficients provided by the French environment and energy management agency (Ademe, see website www.bilans-ges.ademe.fr);
  • transport of finished goods: destination grouping;
  • employee transportation: inter-site shuttles, outside shuttles, incentive policies to limit the carbon impact of company vehicles, carpooling, etc.

OUR RESULTS

Performance indicators 2018 2019
Scope 1 & 2 GHG (tons CO2 equivalent) 23,681 22,200
Scope 3 GHG (tons CO2 equivalent) 16,927 27,790

Scope 1 & 2 emissions have decreased by 6% over one year and by nearly 8% since 2017, as a result of reduced energy consumption over the same periods (by 4% and 5% respectively), and action plans on the management of refrigerants and the installations using them allowing a reduction of 6% between 2017 and 2019.

As of 2018, the Group has improved the harmonization of the calculation of Scope 3 emissions (from the transport of finished products only), which has led to greater accuracy in most subsidiaries, particularly in the United States, Vietnam and, to a lesser extent, Uruguay and Australia. The change in 2019 data versus 2018 reflects this more
accurate view.

Innovating responsibly

Strengthening employee engagement

Ensuring the quality of products and services


Download the Statement of non-financial performance

CSR strategy and indicators