Lif’s work towards sustainable health – an interview with Bengt Mattson
The pharmaceutical company Läkemedelsindustriföreningen (Lif) is one of Uppsala Health Summit’s sponsors in 2023. Lif is the Swedish Association of the Research-Based Pharmaceutical Industry with about 90 members and associate partners. In this interview, Bengt Mattson, Policy expert at Lif, introduces us to the pharmaceutical industry’s sustainable manifesto for sustainable health and reminds us of international partnerships role in advancing the industry’s sustainability efforts.
How does the pharmaceutical industry contribute to sustainable development, especially when it comes to minimizing its negative impact on the environment and climate?
“The pharmaceutical industry’s work integrates all three perspectives on sustainability: 1) environmental sustainability, 2) social sustainability, and 3) financial sustainability. The pharmaceutical industry’s work is based on Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), focusing on goal number 3, 'Good health and well-being'. The main mission of our industry, and of the entire health and healthcare sector, is to provide medicines and adequate care. However, this must, of course, be done in consideration of the other SDGs in the social dimension, where we in many cases have direct positive contributions, as well as in the environmental dimension where we must ensure the least possible negative contribution”, says Bengt Mattson.
Bengt Mattson explains that three environmental areas are mainly in focus:
- Circular economy
- Reduced climate impact
- Reduced emissions of pharmaceutical substances and other persistent chemicals to the environment
Can you provide specific examples of initiatives or practices in the pharmaceutical industry aligned with the SDGs?
“Lif launched its sustainability strategy in May 2022, including a sustainability manifesto with nine clear commitments to contribute to sustainable health. The strategy and the manifesto include many international collaborations, mainly with the three European pharmaceutical industry associations – AESGP, EFPIA, and Medicines for Europe. Also, in these collaborations, the main focus is circular economy, reduced climate impact, and reduced emissions of pharmaceutical substances to the environment. At a public webinar on November 22, Lif will present results from a survey by the member companies on how the work to live up to the manifesto’s nine commitments is going”, says Bengt Mattson.
How does the pharmaceutical industry deal with environmental issues related to pharmaceutical production and waste management, especially concerningchemical contamination?
“Here, the work is carried out in broad cooperation at the European level. The industry has developed an entire framework called 'Eco-Pharmaco-Stewardship,' which includes a guide for pharmaceutical companies on Manufacturing Effluent Management", says Bengt Mattson.
Read more about the framework and guide in these reports:
Can you provide insights into how partnerships and collaborations advance the industry’s sustainability efforts, particularly with respect to chemical contaminants?
“Collaborations and partnerships are essential for success in all aspects of sustainable development, as clearly stated in SDG 17 “Partnerships for the Goals.” The industry has many collaborations with our various stakeholders, both nationally and internationally,” says Mattson.
Read more about Lif, our sponsors, and sponsor opportunities here.