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Companies’ responsibility under a new spotlight – increased emphasis on sustainable business choices and the energy revolution

More than ever, companies are now expected to stand for their values. In addition to societally responsible actions, the crisis in Ukraine increases the need for energy transition in Europe and using fossil-free energy, writes Tuula Lehto, Vice President, Communications and Sustainability.

22.3.2022

In recent weeks, corporate responsibility has been a more widely debated topic due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Stakeholders’ trust and companies’ credibility are now measured against new standards. Oriola does not have business outside Finland and Sweden, but we have also wanted to help how we can. Together with pharmaceutical company Mölnlycke Finland, we have shipped wound care products to support Ukrainian people. In this devastating situation, people’s willingness to help has been a source of hope.

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The crisis has also been a tough lesson of the meaning of energy self-sufficiency in Europe. Increasing it requires new thinking in terms of energy production, and especially energy consumption. Energy transition needs users to actively choose fossil-free energy. This makes our ambitious goal of carbon neutrality even more important.

Our long-term goal covers both direct and energy related emissions (scopes 1 and 2), from our own operations and indirect emissions in the supply chain (scope 3). In 2021, we committed to achieve carbon neutrality in our own operations sooner, by 2025. During the year, our initiatives resulted in an important shift in our carbon footprint. The share of energy related emissions decreased from 14% in 2020 to 2% in 2021. This achievement was due to increasing the share of renewable electricity to 100% at Group-level, and switching to renewable district heating at our distribution centre in Finland in mid-2020. As much as 95% of Oriola’s total energy consumption now comes from renewable or carbon-neutral sources.

In a distribution company, the transport of goods plays a major part in decreasing emissions in the supply chain. Substituting fossil-based fuels in transport is a big challenge for the whole logistics sector. Our entire transport network is handled by partners, and the latest figures show improvement. For example, in Sweden the share of renewable fuels in Oriola’s goods transport is around 40%. In Finland, the share of biofuels has increased from 40% to nearly 95% over the past two years in our pharmacy deliveries in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area. We continue active collaboration with our partners to find ways to further reduce transport emissions.

In addition to environmental topics, our responsible role in the healthcare value chain is at the core of our sustainability work. To learn more about our achievements in securing pharmaceutical deliveries and availability, please visit the society section of our sustainability pages, which have been updated with our full sustainability information from 2021, including the GRI supplement.

Last year’s results show that we are on the right path with our sustainability impact. This spring we are reviewing our roadmap and target for the next strategy period. I’m confident that together with our employees, customers and partners, we are continuing our important work for a healthier tomorrow – for both people and planet. This also means standing together with the entire world for the new sustainable business standards.

Other key highlights of our sustainability work in 2021:

  • Our performance in sustainability targets was linked to the margin of Oriola’s new revolving credit facility. The key performance indicators are the reduction in CO2 emissions in our own operations and increase in recycling rate.
  • The recycling rate increased to 79% (74% in 2020) due to, for example, the collection of plastic packages and cardboard boxes in dose dispensing units in Finland and Sweden.
  • Our employees’ commitment to ensure pharmaceutical safety and medicine availability regardless of the pandemic situation, including COVID-19 vaccine distribution in Finland.
  • Oriola’s sustainability work was recognised in external ratings: we achieved the second highest score B in CDP’s climate change programme and the silver medal in the EcoVadis Sustainability rating, where we were rated among the top 15% of all companies worldwide.
  • Oriola received ISO 14 001 environmental management standard certification for its distribution and warehouse sites in Finland – now all our distribution operations and warehouses are certified in both operating countries.

Tuula Lehto works at Oriola as Vice President, Communications and Sustainability.