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Innovation & sustainability in the chemical-pharmaceutical industries

Innovation & Sustainability

Innovation & sustainability in the chemical-pharmaceutical industries

scienceindustries is committed to an innovative and sustainable research and production location in Switzerland. Together with its member companies, the Chemical, Pharmaceutical and Life Sciences Industry Association focuses its activities on a sustainability strategy with six key topics.


The chemical, pharmaceutical and life sciences industry takes responsibility for promoting sustainability for current and future generations. With their research, innovative products and services, scienceindustries members make a significant contribution to sustainable development on a daily basis. The Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) defined by the United Nations and the 2050 net-zero target for greenhouse gas emissions are key points of reference.

As a strategy for the future, sustainability combines economic success, social responsibility and ecological balance: scienceindustries and its members see sustainability along these three dimensions as an essential component of the industry's long-term success. With this in mind, they have been implementing the international Responsible Care® initiative in Switzerland since the 1990s with the aim of achieving continuous improvements in environmental protection, health and safety. Chemical companies and associations in over 50 countries support this initiative.

With this position paper in three chapters, scienceindustries emphasises the high relevance of the overarching topic of sustainability and the commitment of its members, from research and development to industrial production and the circular economy.

Commitment "Sustainability as a core concern"

Our research and development enables innovative products and processes. This enables us to provide solutions for the major challenges of our time, both now and in the future, and thus make a relevant contribution to our society.

The protection and regeneration of the environment play a key role in this. This can be seen not least in the self-imposed and ambitious sustainability goals of our member companies.

With our environmental and socio-political ambitions, we are committed to Switzerland's prosperity, competitiveness and attractiveness as a business location. scienceindustries, as a representative of the chemical, pharmaceutical and life sciences industries, plays an important role in shaping optimal framework conditions

Key topics of our members

Our industries' commitment to sustainability is based on the 2030 Agenda, which was adopted by all member states of the United Nations in 2015 and represents a plan for growth and prosperity for people and the planet now and in the future. At the centre of the agenda are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), which represent a call to action for all countries as part of a global partnership.

Our industries see themselves as part of the solution and contribute to the achievement of the UN SDGs with a focus on ten SDGs - whereby all commitments are of equal importance - and the six priority topics of nutrition, health, education, resources, climate and biodiversity. These key topics represent central points of reference for the chemical, pharmaceutical and life sciences industries when designing, managing and communicating activities. The position paper highlights this contribution using examples of existing initiatives and commitments.

Demands: Enabling innovation & sustainability

Sustainability encompasses three dimensions that must be given equal consideration: environmental, economic and social. Finding the right balance between them is an important challenge in policy design.

Regulatory frameworks for sustainability must enable the chemical, pharmaceutical and life sciences industries to drive their commitment and succeed in all three dimensions of sustainability. In order to achieve a long-term positive impact, the chemical-pharmaceutical industry believes that the following elements are necessary on the part of policymakers.

  • Technology openness and promotion (e.g. for new biotechnological processes or carbon capture and utilisation/storage)

A society's openness to scientific and technological developments is the basis for framework conditions that promote innovation. A successful, future-orientated framework for sustainability should enable the development and use of new technologies and innovative solutions.

This presupposes that science and scientific findings are at the centre of political decision-making. Similarly, consumer recommendations and guidelines should always be based on scientific evidence and solid, regularly updated data.

  • Security of supply: energy, medicines, food

Energy: To ensure that Switzerland's energy supply remains secure in the future, policymakers must think more broadly about the future of energy and enable a technologically broad-based, affordable and innovative supply that also takes into account the expansion of renewable energies and future technologies.

Medicines: The pharmaceutical industry is making great efforts to ensure that the population has good access to innovative as well as proven, safe and effective medicines and vaccines. However, fair framework conditions are needed, without which the current supply disruptions will unfortunately continue to increase.

Nutrition: Thanks to innovations in the areas of breeding, seeds, crop protection, production processes and digitalisation, sustainability and productivity are no longer mutually exclusive in modern food production.

  • Removal of regulatory hurdles to the implementation of the circular economy

scienceindustries believes that closing the resource cycle, where it makes overall sense (according to the three dimensions of sustainability), is a promising approach to conserving primary resources and reducing environmental impact. In order for the circular economy to realise its full potential, innovation-friendly framework conditions and the rethinking of existing systems are key.

  • Future-oriented chemicals strategy

scienceindustries supports the protection interests of the federal government. At the same time, scienceindustries advocates framework conditions that guarantee economic freedom of action in the long term. Important elements of this are the anchoring of the risk approach, the reduction of administrative costs when handling chemicals and the avoidance of ineffective regulatory instruments such as unilateral export bans. Above all, however, Switzerland still needs an independent chemicals strategy that is tailored to the needs of industry and society.

  • Promotion of education, research and innovation

scienceindustries wants to promote the willingness to innovate in society. By this we mean:

  • Ensuring comprehensive freedom of research and technology
  • Promoting technical and scientific education at all educational levels with future-proof training that is geared towards the needs of industry
  • Securing qualified specialists and promoting young talent in the chemical, pharmaceutical and life sciences sectors
  • Ensure sufficient and constant funding for universities and research institutions
  • Ensure access to European research programmes for universities and companies
  • Improve the attractiveness of the clinical research centre
  • Promote understanding for the protection of intellectual property
  • Opportunities of digitalisation

Digitalisation is increasingly shaping social and economic life today. It has also found its way into the healthcare sector and is expected to bring considerable benefits in the future, from efficiency gains to improvements in healthcare services. scienceindustries is in favour of accelerating the pace of digitalisation, particularly in the healthcare sector. In the interests of citizens, patients and healthcare in general, the topic must be given high priority and the pace of implementation of these digitalisation efforts in particular must be accelerated as a matter of urgency.



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