UCB’s management has set the ambitious goal to develop and produce medicines for people with severe diseases in the most environmentally sustainable way possible. Inspired by the Paris agreement, UCB decided to accelerate the implementation of its Environmental Strategy (also called Green Strategy) by setting three ambitious targets to reach by 2030. One is related to climate change. UCB is commited to reducing carbon emissions by 35% by 2030 and offseting the other 65% in order to reach carbon neutral operations by 2030. By 2050, carbon emissions should be reduced by 70%, the remaining 30% will be offset.
By setting clear, absolute targets to measure progress, focusing on the activities they can control directly, and involving everyone – from management to every single employee, from R&D teams to Production units. UCB signed the Science Based Targets Engagement Letter demonstrating that the company is committed to achieving the ambitions set forth in the Paris Agreement of the Conference of the Parties (COP21). This commitment is not new; since 2015, the group’s overall energy consumption has been reduced by 27%. In the year 2018, 6 653 Gigajoules of energy saving were realized at the sites in Bulle (Switzerland), Braine l’Alleud and Zhuhai (China).
Two examples are highlighted below:
Temperature regulation in freezer room
The use of -80 °C freezer is high energy-consuming. The heat generated by these freezers tends to accumulate in the room dedicated to these equipment, generating greater energy consumption to be able to maintain their setpoints. Initially, the heat generated by these freezers was recovered in the HVAC system and discharged directly into the atmosphere. In order to reduce the temperature of the room, a heat recovery system was installed directly behind the -80°C motor and the room air renewal system was optimized. Thus, the heat recovered makes it possible to heat other rooms on the 2nd floor of a biopharmaceutical pilot plant on site. The recovered heat as well as the decrease of the temperature of the room allows UCB to save about 1140 € in electricity and 768 € in gas per year.
Installation of a cogeneration plant at the Braine site
UCB Belgium decided to invest in the installation of a cogeneration plant at its Braine site. A 800 kW electric unit is operational and producing ~10% of the annual electricity consumption of the site. The cogeneration unit is one of the larger green projects of UCB Belgium which is contributing for a reduction of about 850 tons of CO2 which equals 8% of the CO2 reduction objective of the UCB Braine site.
A cogeneration unit is the combined production of electricity and heat: the natural gas engine actuates the alternator producing electricity; the heat generated by the engine (like in a car) and the combustion gasses, will be transferred to the heating circuit of the building.
This UCB green strategy also includes the target to reduce water consumption by 20%, and waste generation by 25% by 2030. The general Green Strategy goals are described on: https://www.ucb.com/our-company/green-strategy