One of our primary sustainability goals is to reduce our environmental impact to help ensure a safe and healthy environment for present and future generations.
Due to the nature of our activities, our environmental footprint is not as substantial as in other industries. However, we take our responsibility very seriously and are continuously working to further reduce the environmental impact of our operations.
Agreement with the Swiss federal government
Idorsia has entered into an agreement with the Swiss federal government whereby we have undertaken to meet targeted reduction of our carbon emissions and increase energy efficiency at headquarters.
Reducing of our carbon usage
In 2019, we have optimized the heat consumption in all our buildings and restored our wood chip burner used for heating purposes, thereby reducing our oil consumption by 93% compared to 2018.
As a result, 1,809 MWh of wood chips (2018: 129 MWh), mainly consisting of wood by-products, have been used. The wood chips have been delivered by a regional supplier, further reducing the impact on our environment.
The use of the wood chip burner and optimizing the heat consumption led to a substantial reduction of our carbon emissions at headquarters by almost 60%, totaling 497 tons CO2 in 2019 (2018: 1,184 tons). The carbon emissions were composed of 2,220 MWh of gas (2018: 2,500 MWh) and 18,400 liters oil (2018: 258,020 liters).
Increasing our energy efficiency
In addition, we have optimized our energy efficiency. All our electrical supply at headquarters has been obtained from hydropower and amounted to 10,519 MWh in 2019 (2018: 10,500 MWh). This represents a slight increase in absolute values year-on-year, but a substantial increase in efficiency given that we increased our workforce and added more workspaces.
Minimizing water consumption
Although our business is not water intensive, we are continuously working to minimize the use of this precious resource. Water is used for a variety of purposes, such as laboratory experimentation, drinking water, facility cooling, cleaning, and maintenance operations. Our facilities are built to the latest standards and include many features designed to minimize water use (e.g. tap sensors).
We strictly adhere to all regulations concerning water quality and potential impacts on water resources.
In 2019, we have taken several steps to reduce our water consumption, for example, by implementing a new process for all humidifiers used in our labs and office spaces. As a result, Idorsia's water consumption at headquarters amounted to 19,260 thousand m3 in 2019 (2018: 24,317 thousand m3).
We work to eliminate waste as far as possible. When this is not possible, we aim to reduce waste and recycle to mitigate environmental impacts. Idorsia’s hazardous waste (as defined by local regulations) stems from our research activities in Switzerland. It is sent off-site for recycling, reuse, treatment, or disposal.
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), used in our research facilities, may have a negative impact on the environment. To minimize emissions of VOCs, our high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) units and waste hoods are equipped with absorption filters which retain VOCs.
Most of our non-hazardous waste – plastic, cardboard, paper and other commercial waste – is generated in our offices and catering facilities and is either recycled or incinerated, with strict air pollution control. The heat from the incineration process is being used to generate electricity.
In 2019, Idorsia's headquarters generated 136.45 metric tons of hazardous waste (Updated number for 2018: 133.59 metric tons), and 99.86 metric tons of non-hazardous waste (2018: 92.98 metric tons). With 101.6 metric tons, chemical hazardous waste was the main contributor (2018: 98.7 metric tons), due to our research activities.