Grünenthal Headquarter

Planet – The environment we depend on

To reduce our impact on the environment wherever possible, we need to engage our employees, partners and customers in our efforts to use resources sustainably and reduce waste.

Overview of measures

  • To improve efficiency and reduce energy consumption, we collect and analyse data from our production sites
  • Zero waste from our production sites is sent to landfill.
  • At two of our production sites, we have switched to 100 percent renewable electricity.
  • We have carried out a full environmental impact assessment and greenhouse gas inventory for all our operational activities and across our supplier base.
  • On this basis, we are embedding our #Planet Roadmap to become more sustainable. This involves engaging all our employees to take responsibility for our impact on the environment, use resources sustainably and avoid waste.
Male hands holding a globe

Impact initiative: Driving Environmental Sustainability

A sustainable business is a business that takes care to minimise its impact on the environment. The world’s limited resources are becoming increasingly depleted, and the environmental footprint of humankind is already more than the planet can sustain. That is why we take responsibility for our impact on the environment.

We follow leading international standards for environment, health and safety. We collect and analyse data from our production sites to improve efficiency and reduce energy consumption, and we send zero waste to landfill. We also maintain the environmental management standard ISO 14001 at all operational sites. Our sustainability ambitions ensure that we focus our activities on minimising our environmental impact. We report progress towards these targets in our annual Responsibility Report.


Material Topic Our Ambitions / KPIs for 2022
Environmental Excellence Strategy Defining the environmental strategy and establishing the roadmap of environmental initiatives for the complete scope of Grünenthal’s operations, supplier production and patient / after-use value chain of our products by the end of 2022.
  Introducing a comprehensive environmental management system for Grünenthal by the end of 2022.
Responsible Use of Resources
Annual reduction of 3 percent in normalised energy consumption (kWh/produced unit or volume per site).
Annual reduction of 3 percent in normalised waste (tons/produced unit or volume per site).
  Reduction of 3 percent in CO2 emissions per site per year (CO2e/produced unit or volume per site).
  Reduction of 2 percent in water consumption per site per year (m3/produced unit or volume per site).
  Working with key suppliers to achieve commitment to using 100 percent renewable power, and implementing an energy reduction standard by 2030.
Our Impact on Climate
Achieve net zero emissions for Scope 1 and 2 by 2030.
  Develop a climate strategy to reduce our carbon footprint by the end of 2023.

Our Milestones:

My Green Lab Certification

In December 2022, Grünenthal’s Research labs at the company’s headquarter in Aachen received My Green Lab® certifications after a comprehensive assessment of current practices such as cold storage, lab infrastructure, employee awareness and sustainable purchasing practices.

My Green Lab is a non-profit organisation whose programme is recognised by the United Nations Race to Zero campaign as a critical measure of progress towards a zero-carbon future. It is considered the gold standard for laboratory sustainability best practices worldwide.

... Discover more: Green Labs – committed to Science & Sustainability

Zero waste to landfill

In 2020, we set ourselves the ambitious goal of sending zero waste from our manufacturing facilities to landfill. Just one year later, we achieved that goal. By separating waste in the production area, raising awareness and exploring new ideas, we now reduce, reuse and recycle more waste. The remaining waste that cannot efficiently be recycled is sent for incineration.

... Discover more: Grünenthal’s manufacturing sites now send zero waste to landfill
Grünenthal site Mitlödi

Switching to green energy

Our production site in Mitlödi, Switzerland, is powered by 100 percent renewable energy from a local hydropower plant. Built underground, the state-of-the-art facility generates and stores renewable energy by pumping water from Lake Limmern to Lake Muttsee. As a next step, we are exploring the possibility of installing a heat pump powered by green electricity. This would enable us to meet our heating needs while cutting our use of natural gas.

... Discover more: Grünenthal’s site in Mitlödi is powered by green energy

Planting trees

Alongside improving the environmental impact of our own operations, we launched our global #TreesForOurPlanet reforestation initiative in 2021. During the first year, our teams planted more than 10,000 trees worldwide – far exceeding our target of 7,500. In 2022, Grünenthal employees overachieved our goal of 7,600 by planting over 11,000 new trees. This makes a powerful contribution to tackling climate change because forests capture and store large volumes of carbon from the air. Looking ahead, #TreesForOurPlanet now aims to plant at least 30,000 trees by 2026 as a key part of our deep commitment to protecting the environment for future generations.

... Discover more: "Trees For Our Planet" project in 2022

Lighting the way to sustainability

It is a simple step, but one with a big impact - by swapping thousands of traditional incandescent light bulbs for LED bulbs at our sites, we are cutting our annual energy use and reducing emissions. At our headquarters in Aachen, Germany, for example, this will save approximately 205,000 kilowatt-hours a year. Many of our manufacturing sites are now lit with LED bulbs, and we will continue until we have replaced 100 percent of the traditional bulbs across our business.

... Discover more: LED bulbs as a shining example

Grünenthal relies on solar power for its corporate headquarters

Our Aachen R&D and production site is soon home to the region's largest solar power plant. With over 4.000 solar panels, we will generate enough energy to power 500 households. Our goal is to reach net zero emissions by 2030, and this solar power plant will play a key role in reducing up to 366 tonnes of CO2 annually.

... Learn more about our initiatives to reduce our environmental footprint in our german press release

Reducing our impact on the environment by improving the way we use energy

Energy consumption is the dominant contributor to climate change, accounting for around 60 percent of total global greenhouse gas emissions. To minimise our emissions, we collect and regularly analyse data from our production sites so that we can continuously improve resource efficiency and reduce our energy consumption.

Energy use at our sites

  2020 2021 Percentage Change
Aachen Site 105 109 4%
API Site (Aachen) 228 149 -35%
API Site (Mitlödi) 53,967 51,639 -4%
Origgio Site 13,592 13,921 2%
Quito Site 237 198 -16%
Santiago Site  315 253 -20%

Calcuations are based on energy consumed (kWh) per type of production output, e.g. kWh/1000 packs produced or kWh per tonnes produced.


Total Energy Consumption1
  2020 IN kWh 2021 IN kWh CHANGE IN %
Total energy consumption 132,471,725 127,628,001 -4%
thereof from non-renewable sources 115,060,298 110,950,645 -4%
thereof from renewable sources 17,411,427 16,677,356  -4%
Electricity consumption 25,252,821 23,583,365 -7%
Heating consumption (measured at one manufacturing site) 8,500,000 8,300,000 -2%
Cooling consumption validated values to be expected in the course of 2022
Steam consumption

1 Calcuations are based on energy consumed (kWh) per type of production output, e.g. kWh/1000 packs produced or kWh per tonnes produced.


Managing water and waste

The reduction and safe handling of wastewater and solid waste are part of our company’s daily operations. Each production site has personnel dedicated to these processes. Through our environmental management systems, we ensure that waste is sorted to maximise recycling and that disposal routes comply with national legislation.

For example, our site in Switzerland achieves a recycling rate of over 80 percent for the solvent tetrahydrofuran.