Protecting the environment

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

 GOVERNANCE AND POLICY GROUP ENVIRONMENT

At the organizational level, the creation of a global HSE department, attached to the Group executive committee, supports this trajectory. One of this department’s initiatives involves re-framing the scope and reporting methods, a precondition for gaining an overall perspective of exposure to environmental damage risks at Group level. We have also committed to developing a training and awareness segment dedicated to environmental themes for both existing employees and for the 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 move towards consistency in the deployment of a Group-driven strategy.

SUSTAINABLE USE OF RESOURCES

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

OUR KEY OBJECTIVES

  • Reduce energy consumption by 5% by 2025.
  • Control water intake.
  • Reduce the overall share of materials, including all packaging placed on the market.

OUR ACTION PLANS

Energy

For several years, we have been working to reduce energy consumption by carrying out equipment replacement actions for better efficiency, thermal insulation and air conditioning optimization. We have also established consumption indicators that are as close as possible to end users for better control of energy expenses. At all of our industrial sites around the world, whether choosing new equipment or through constant monitoring, we strive to address energy consumption by using the Best available techniques (BAT) applicable to our activity.

Some examples of achievement in 2020:

Virbac in France

In line with the actions taken over the past several years to reduce energy consumption, in 2020 at the Carros site in France, we set up a new recovery refrigeration unit, thanks to the new mode of operation of the main warehouse's heating and cooling system. Thus, consumption decreased again by 3 points (with equivalent activity) in 2020, i.e. -40% over the last twelve years. 

Virbac Australia

After the industrial sites of Penrith and Crockwell in Australia, the installation of solar panels continues on the storage buildings of the commercial subsidiary in Barneveld, Holland. 

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

Water

We are also striving to lower water consumption at equivalent activity volumes by setting up recycling or production facilities for various BAT-compliant grades of water. Thus, the reduction of water consumption at French sites (representing more than 50% of the Group's production) reached almost 17% over the past twelve years.

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

Raw materials and packaging

Again with a view to sustainable use of resources, we are committed to strengthening the adjustment as close as possible to our consumption of active ingredients, excipients and packaging items, and thus avoiding the loss of products or the multiplication of packaging and packaging.

With the help of our strategic suppliers, we have also given a new impetus to innovation that can reduce packaging and packaging. This requires optimized supply management to limit warehousing and internal transfers. We are also progressing on optimizing flows and the speed of shipments. Finally, we launched a project to minimize waste 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, regarding products without an MA for companion animals, we integrate the principles of eco-design as early as possible into the creation process. These same principles are implemented for secondary or tertiary packaging, from the research and development stage, in partnership with our suppliers. 

In 2020, this mobilization allowed us to:

  • reduce the packaging of our dog and cat food by 40%;
  • using plant ink on four major products in our cardboard packaging for companion animals;
  • or to use recycled materials for 100% of the overpacking boxes used at the main production sites in France. 

Our other actions for the year focused on preparatory work aimed at:

  • strengthen the presence of natural ingredients in our products for companion animals;
  • raise awareness of the biodegradability of our hygiene and treatment shampoos;
  • increase the proportion of recycled or recyclable materials in the packaging of our products for companion animals.
     

OUR RESULTATS

Performance indicators 2018 2019 2020
Gas consumed (MWh) 33,101 32,515 32,338
Electricity consumed (MWh) 50,060 47,176 46,161
Energy intensity 629 600 603
Water sampled by source (m3) 237,462 234,691 226,608

Energy intensity is the ratio between energy consumption (gas and electricity) and the value added in thousands of Euros at Group level (direct labor costs + indirect production costs).

Gas and electricity consumption fell slightly by 1% and 2% respectively. This decrease in total energy consumption was 1%, which was brought back to business.
 
Our water consumption at the Group level decreased slightly more significantly, by around 3% (i.e. a decrease of 1% compared to the 2020 activity). This reduction is the result of a decrease in production activity at the St. Louis in the United States, which led to a decrease in water consumption (-16%), and to an optimization of the cleaning of the facilities, which led to a decrease of 12% at the Guadalajara site in Mexico, and 7% at the Carros sites in France. Two of our sites are growing sharply in water consumption, namely the Vietnam and South Africa sites, these increases are directly related to a sharp increase in their production. 

DISCHARGES INTO THE ENVIRONMENT

As part of our veterinary medicine manufacturing business, we use substances that present health, fire and/ or explosion, air pollution and spillage risks during the various phases of development and marketing (R&D, manufacturing to storage and shipping).

To limit these risks, which could cause harm to people, assets and the environment, we comply with the safety measures prescribed by the laws and regulations in force, implement good manufacturing and laboratory practices, and provide training to our employees. Our manufacturing sites and research and development facilities are also regularly inspected by regulatory authorities.

Due to the nature of our pharmaceutical manufacturing activity (especially confining technologies), we do not generate any visual, noise or olfactory pollution. Therefore, we are focusing on the real impacts of its activity, atmospheric emissions, effluents or hazardous waste resulting from our activities or products, by increasingly investing in environmental compliance: taking into account EHS impacts in the management of industrial projects, improvements in the environmental performance of existing facilities, etc. 

Furthermore, the Group's environmental principles are adapted to countries according to different 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 rejected and its COD (Chemical oxygen demand) content.
  • Reduce the total amount of waste generated by 5% by 2025.

OUR ACTION PLANS

Effluents

For effluents as well as other environmental releases, our goal is to facilitate consolidation across the Group of the various local initiatives carried out locally and subject to specific regulatory frameworks, in particular on the optimization of the cleaning frequency of our facilities. In this sense, our vigilance translates into conservative guidelines. For example, many sites must recover and treat a large portion of manufacturing water discharges in accordance with related standards for hazardous waste. 

In 2020, an incident on part of the industrial water networks of a production building at the Carros site in France required numerous controls and a restoration of all the networks on the site. This work continued in 2021. The studies for the implementation of a new treatment plant at the historic site in Virbac, in Carros, France, were finalized in the fourth quarter of 2020. We plan to install and commission this new station in the last part of 2021. Due to the high level of performance of this facility, we received assistance from the Agence de l’Eau Rhône, Méditerranée et Corse.

Hazardous waste

In addition to seeking constant search to control the volumes generated and improve collection for maximum treatment and recycling, we ensure traceability of all our hazardous waste up to the point of disposal: soiled packaging; laboratory, production, medicinal or infectious wastes; and chemical effluents (mostly incinerated and therefore thermally treated 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 2020
COD (tons) 121 93 81
Volume of hazardous industrial waste (tons) 2,966 2,493 2,254
Volume of non-hazardous industrial waste (tons) 2,270 2,376 2,751
Intensity of ordinary and hazardous industrial waste 40 37 38

The intensity of industrial waste is the ratio between the waste generated (banal and hazardous) and the added value in thousands of Euros at the Group level (direct labor costs + indirect production costs).


The quantity of COD released through industrial water releases decreased significantly (-13%). This is the consequence of the decrease in water consumption (and therefore discharge as seen above) but also the efforts of our industrial sites on the cleaning procedures for manufacturing tanks.

The total amount of waste generated increases by 3%, which is the result of an increase in production at the Penrith site in Australia and the destruction of finished products at the St. Louis site in the United States. On the other hand, we see a very significant decrease in hazardous industrial waste (-10%) and a significant increase in ordinary industrial waste (+16%). This mix is indeed very impacted by the implementation of a new method of treatment for the washing water of the manufacturing tanks of one of Carros' main industrial sites in France. This new sector has reduced the quantity of hazardous industrial waste generated at the Carros site by 49%. The quantity of hazardous industrial waste at the Penrith site in Australia is increasing sharply (+42%) due to an increase in production. 

CLIMATE CHANGE

The risks related to the effects of climate change encourage us to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In our company the direct and indirect emissions of greenhouse gases (scope 1 and 2) represent emissions linked to the consumption of various forms of energy (in this case gas and electricity) in all industrial sites worldwide, as well as the greenhouse gas emissions related to refrigerants. Other indirect greenhouse gas emissions (scope 3) reflect emissions linked to the shipping 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

Effects of greenhouse gas emissions from scopes 1 & 2

Action on direct and indirect emissions (industrial site consumption and GHG related to refrigerant gases):

  • optimization of energy consumption: thermal insulation of installations, the energy recovery system on the wastewater treatment station for biological production units (Carros), solar boiler for industrial hot water (Mexico), generalization of replacement plans LED lighting on almost all industrial sites;
  • concerning emissions related to refrigerant gases: reinforcement of maintenance plans at industrial sites in Australia and France, but also, a replacement program for the most polluting fluids with low CO2 emissions.

Direct greenhouse gas emissions of scope 3

Actions on emissions resulting from the transport of finished products:

  • new calculation method implemented since 2018 has enabled us to increase the reliability of subsidiary data based on emissions coefficients given by the French environment and energy management agency (Ademe), see site www.bilans-ges.ademe.fr);
  • shipping of finished products: destination grouping,
  • transporting employees: inter-site shuttles, external shuttles, incentive policies to limit the carbon impact of company vehicles, carpooling, etc.
     

OUR RESULTS

Performance indicators 2018 2019 2020
GES scope 1 & 2 (tons of CO2 equivalent) 23,681 22,200 21,007
GES scope 3 (tons of CO2 equivalent) 16,927 27,790 885
GHG intensity scope 1, 2 & 3 310 376 249

The intensity of greenhouse gases is the ratio between the GHGs issued (scope 1, 2 & 3) and the added value in thousands of Euros at the Group level (direct labor costs + indirect production costs).

Emissions from scopes 1 & 2 decreased by 5% this year. The maintenance plans for facilities using greenhouse gases that have been implemented at our industrial sites, and particularly at the Carros site in France, are the main explanations with a 55% decrease in CO2 emissions related to these facilities.

The emission coefficients given by the French environment and energy control agency changed in 2020, in particular the emission coefficients of air transport. As a result, the greenhouse gas emissions of scope 3 are in very sharp decline (-58%). Regardless of these coefficient changes, these emissions decreased by 15% for all transportation. This decrease is explained by a 22% decrease in air transport emissions in favor of emissions linked to road transport (+39%) and maritime transport (+47%).

Innovating responsibly

919447614

Strengthening employee engagement

Ensuring the quality of products and services


Download the Statement of non-financial performance

CSR strategy and indicators