Going Green: How Celgene Is Taking Action To Slow Climate Change

Celgene is going green and making progress in reducing carbon emissions.

Around the world, companies are increasing their efforts to cut their greenhouse gas emissions. These efforts are crucial in the fight to slow the effects of climate change. Corporations in the United States have been asked to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 1.2 gigatonnes by the year 2020. A joint report from the World Wildlife Fund and the Carbon Disclosure Project shows that reducing carbon emissions by three percent every year could save U.S. businesses over $780 billion over the next decade.

In the United States, some of that effort has started to pay off: as of early 2013 the country’s CO2 emissions had decreased by nearly 13 percent since 2007, and total energy use was reduced by approximately five percent over the past half decade. The European Union is also working toward reducing its carbon footprint by increasing its share of renewable energy and aiming to cut carbon emissions by 20 percent by the year 2020.

As the U.S. Department of Energy raises the cost of producing carbon byproducts by 60 percent and the European Emission Trading Scheme tries to manage climate change issues on the continent, Celgene has been successful in reducing its carbon footprint. Celgene’s absolute emissions, according to its 2012 Investor Carbon Disclosure Project Report, decreased last year compared to the previous year.  Reduction activities, including the Pay for Performance Program, which rewards green-minded business practice, as well as efforts to regulate climate control in Celgene buildings, have contributed to the overall decrease in emissions.

“As a company whose mission is to improve the lives of patients around the world, we also believe that we need to play an active role in bettering the communities—in fact, the world—around us,” said Vince Barilla, Celgene vice president, Facilities. “By working to better our environmental impact, we are able to support this philosophy directly.”

The company has participated in the Carbon Disclosure Project since 2009 by measuring, managing, disclosing and sharing environmental performance information from company sites in the United States and Switzerland. While Celgene’s electricity consumption has increased over the years, alongside its growth, its oil consumption is being phased out, contributing to the reduction in overall energy expenditure. Celgene has also formed a climate change business strategy for reducing carbon emissions. “We are growing as an organization and taking our responsibility seriously,” said Douglas MacGorman, director of Engineering, Construction and Carbon Management.

The buildings of Celgene International Headquarters in Boudry, Switzerland were designed with sustainable development in mind. In addition to having reinforced thermal insulation, high efficiency heat production and an energy efficient ventilation system, the Boudry site also collects rainwater to use in the toilets and uses roof solar panels to provide hot water.

Celgene’s Summit, N.J. headquarters has already planned for upgrading the direct digital controls and building management system, upgrading lighting and replacing existing motors with National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) rated ones to reduce natural gas and electricity emissions. The Boudry facility, which is a state-of-the-art Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) facility, has set annual energy savings objectives and has reduced heating in corridors and staircases and reduced hot water flow rate and optimized temperatures in data centers.

In addition to sustaining the measures that have already been achieved, Celgene has plans to take additional steps in the coming years. The company will be constructing a new building in Summit with the aim of creating it as a LEED accredited facility. It will have skylights to let in more natural light and a system to collect rainwater to be reused for landscaping needs. The new building in Summit will be the third facility in the United States, after the San Diego and San Francisco locations, to hold LEED accreditation.

MacGorman believes that paying attention to the effects of climate change is important. “In order for us to be good corporate citizens and help protect the environment for the future, we have to take responsibility for what our corporation does.” Celgene has already achieved some success in reducing its carbon emissions and plans to sustain its previous efforts while moving ahead with more significant ones in the coming years.