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Bayer Invests €100m Into Making Consumer Heath Brands Sustainable

Executive Summary

Bayer is reinvesting 2% of its Consumer Health division’s sales to drive the sustainable use of the company’s OTC brands and “help create a world where people can live healthier lives.”

Bayer AG is investing €100m ($113m) in its Consumer Health division to “enable sustainable innovation, production and consumption” of major OTC brands like Aspirin, Bepanthen, Claritin and Elevit.

Equating to 2% of the division’s sales, Bayer said the investment will help “drive the sustainable use of the company’s products and help create a world where people can live healthier lives.”

“The climate crisis impacts every family around the world, particularly those in underserved communities and is one of the biggest global health threats of our time,” commented Bayer Consumer Health president Heiko Schipper.

“Through this investment and our commitment to expand access to everyday health for 100m people in underserved communities by 2030, it’s our aim to help create a healthier world for all,” added Schipper, who is also a member of the Bayer management board and current president of the Global Self-Care Federation.

Three-Pronged Strategy

The €100m cash injection will further Bayer’s “three-pronged science-based action plan” to become climate neutral by 2030 and net zero by 2050, the company said.

Specifically, it will help the company move forward on its pledge to make 100% of Bayer Consumer Health’s packaging recyclable or reusable by 2030 and include consumer-friendly recycling information in all OTC products.

Within the same timing, the division’s packaging will also include an average of 50% recycled content and 100% of purchased paper will be sustainably sourced, it added.

Bayer has already started converting paper packaging across global brands – including Aleve, Claritin, Iberogast and Redoxon – to using certified paper from responsibly managed forests, Bayer explained, and implemented programs to transition to digital marketing and reduce the footprint of the division’s printed promotional materials.

Going forward, 100% of new product development projects will be assessed for sustainability performance across health, the environment and access and shipping boxes will include 80% recycled content by the end of 2021.

Turbo Charge

At a group level, Bayer is also “turbocharging” its commitment to net zero, the company continued.

In line with the group’s overarching commitment to climate neutrality by 2030 (Scopes 1 and 2) and net zero across the entire value chain (Scopes 1, 2 and 3) by 2050, Bayer Consumer Health is taking specific actions to increase energy efficiency and go renewable, it reported.

Progress to-date includes reducing Bayer Consumer Health’s carbon footprint across its production facilities through energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, which it said has contributed to a 30% reduction in carbon emissions between 2019 and 2020.

Over two-thirds of the energy consumed at three Consumer Health production sites in Germany, Guatemala and Spain is now generated from renewable sources, Bayer said.

However, Bayer cannot address global warming alone, noted Schipper. “No single entity can win the fight against climate change,” he commented. “We must come together under a shared vision to advance sustainable personal healthcare around the world.”

That is why Bayer Consumer Health recently helped develop and sign the Global Self-Care Federation’s Environmental Sustainability charter, which enables the firm to “work across competitive lines to encourage industry-wide environmental progress focused on delivering carbon emission reductions and more sustainable packaging,” it said. 

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