Filling Gaps During Carbon Footprint Studies to Design Green

Filling Gaps during Carbon
Footprint studies to design
Green Pharmaceuticals
November, 2013
The Challenge
• Initiatives such as the Swedish Voluntary Incentive Scheme
are focusing on eco-footprint/LCA of pharmaceuticals
• Data availability is a significant issue when estimating material
carbon footprint or Life Cycle Assessments (LCA)
• Life Cycle Assessment research has repeatedly demonstrated
that in API production, solvents play the biggest role.
• Pharmaceutical companies can access data for solvent and
other materials by taking out a license to EcoInvent or similar
database, but data gaps on research materials tend to be big.
How this challenge has been
overcome before?
• In the early 2000s GlaxoSmithKine (GSK) developed a streamlined
Life Cycle Assessment Tool (Fast Lifecycle Assessment of Synthetic
Chemistry – or FLASCTM).
• FLASCTM delivers footprint estimations in minutes by using the
available footprint data of the materials used in a synthesis. When
data is not available, FLASCTM fills the gaps using ‘average’ footprint
estimations for a particular type of chemical.
• These ‘average’ footprint numbers were derived using a statistical
methodology, and have proven to render acceptable levels or
uncertainty for more than a decade within GSK.
• A description to FLASCTM is available in IJLCA 12(4) 272-280 (2007)
How can the Roundtable help ?
• The ACS GCI Pharmaceutical Roundtable developed a PMI/LCA tool for
estimation of Process Mass Intensity and Life Cycle Assessment
• The LCA estimation is based on the methodology published by GSK.
• The PMI/LCA tool is described in OPRD, 17(2), 239-246 (2013)
• GlaxoSmithKline approved the release of ‘average’ Global Warming
Potential (GWP, carbon footprint) data so data gaps can be filled.
• The roundtable companies agreed to use the PMI/LCA tool to
benchmark their footprint.
• Companies outside the ACS GCI Pharmaceutical Roundtable can use
the ‘average’ footprint numbers in combination with data from other
sources (e.g., EcoInvent, proprietary data, literature) to estimate the
“Average” Global Warming Potential
(GWP) per chemical type
Material Type
GWP (kg CO2e / kg Process
Organic chemicals excluding
enzymes and plant extracts
Inorganic materials excluding
chemicals containing metals
Enzyme and Plant Extracts
Includes natural-derived
products and botanicals
Base Metals
Inorganic materials that contain
a metal different from lithium
Any chemical containing lithium
•These figures represent a broad range to chemicals and are only applicable to fill data gaps that will
help to provide a high-level reasonable estimation of carbon footprint of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients
when solvent data is known. These figures most likely will not translate outside the API production.
•For further explanation of categories, go to IJLCA 12(4) 272-280 (2007).
•For further explanation on how these numbers can be used go to OPRD, 17(2), 239-246 (2013).
•Acknowledgement – GlaxoSmithKline for providing the GWP information.

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