Sustainability today is an important agenda for most organisations globally. Across the board, organisations are increasingly realising that sustainability is a critical parameter to define competitiveness and gain the trust and confidence of all stakeholders.
So, what is sustainability? It means meeting our present needs in such a way that we don’t compromise on the future generation’s ability to meet theirs. For an organisation, it is an approach for creating long-term value for stakeholders from an economic, social and ecological perspective.
Aragen is a trusted R&D and manufacturing partner to the global life sciences industry. Our purpose – ‘in every molecule, is the possibility for better health’ inspires thousands of our employees to transform ideas into solutions for better health; be it for humans, animals, or plants. Since its inception 20 years ago, Aragen, formerly known as GVK Bio, has continuously expanded its service offerings. Today we are a leading R&D and manufacturing solutions provider serving clients in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, nutrition, agrochemicals, animal health, consumer goods and specialty chemicals sectors.
Sustainability highlights at Aragen
• Submitted letter of intent to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi)
• Signatory to the GRI South Asia Charter on Sustainability Imperatives
• Bronze medal from EcoVadis, the world’s largest and most trusted provider of business sustainability ratings
• 9.7 million man-hours of operations without loss-time injury
• 6074 MT reduction in CO2 emissions due to renewable energy consumption
• 11.16% of the total energy consumption is from renewable sources (green energy)
• 223 MT hazardous waste disposed in an environment-friendly manner
• 3886 MT hazardous waste recycled
• 32489 KL fresh water conserved
While we provide innovative scientific solutions to our customers, we are also committed to doing it in a safe and sustainable manner to minimise the potential impact on the environment and ensuring health and safety of our stakeholders. Sustainable development is an integral part of Aragen’s long term business strategy. By integrating environment, health, safety and sustainability management into one unified program, we strengthen the foundation for compliance, consistency, and continuous improvement.
At Aragen, sustainability is not an isolated responsibility but a collective commitment across the organisation. We have imbibed it into every aspect of our operations – following principles of green chemistry in labs and manufacturing facilities, sustainable sourcing, green supply chain, employee wellness and health, community engagement, following good governance practices, ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements, and integrating best global EHSS practices. By continuously reducing carbon footprint, recycling and reusing resources, increasing use of renewable energy, minimising waste generation, and responsible waste elimination, we aim to create a better and healthier tomorrow while helping our clients develop better and more effective products faster. Our teams continuously adopt and implement global best practices in water and energy conservation, wastewater treatment and creating a safe workplace.
Continuous process improvement initiatives and adopting operational excellence tools and techniques have helped us reduce overall waste generated across our operations. During FY21, we disposed 240 MT of hazardous waste in an environment-friendly manner and recycled 3945 MT waste. Use of different types of electrodes such as graphite SK-50, glassy carbon, platinum-plated and RVC helps in conducting oxidation and reduction reactions without generating metal waste. Using carbon dioxide as an eluent, our scientists minimise the use of solvents which reduces the consumption of electricity. Use of flow technology enables high temperature and high-pressure operations in a safe manner, improving process efficiency and yield and providing better control on impurities.
Not just in our operating facilities but even in our supply chain and logistics operations we are implementing principles of sustainability. Being a member of the Global Pharmaceutical Industry Principles for Responsible Supply Chain Management (PSCI Principles), we voluntarily support and endorse our key suppliers and service providers to align with PSCI Principles.
Aragen’s SDG focus areas:
• Good health and well-being
• Gender equality
• Decent work and economic growth
• Responsible consumption and production
• Climate action
• Partnerships for the goals
We have integrated and applied the PSCI principles in our business processes within the context of our core value “Safety and Compliance Always” and EHS Policy.
Aragen has implemented ISO 50001:2018 certified Energy Management System and has defined short and long-term targets for improving energy efficiency and increasing use of renewable energy in operations. A three-tier team, with cross functional representations and headed by Plant, Production, and Engineering heads, has been constituted to implement various activities and oversee the progress on these targets. Over the past few years, we have steadily increased the use of renewable energy in our total energy consumption. Our total renewable energy consumption is 11% of total energy consumed, an increase of 6 % since FY2018-19. We have also achieved a reduction of 6,074 MT CO2e reduction in green house gas (GHG) emissions by implementing various green initiatives.
Our operations are heavily dependent on water consumption. At the same time, we are also conscious of the need to conserve this precious natural resource. Aragen is committed to reducing freshwater consumption to the extent possible by increasing the proportion of recycled water usage. Some of the measures to reduce water consumption include installation of efficient water fixtures to reduce wastage/leakage, facility design based on flowrate, stormwater collection tanks, enhanced steam condensate recovery systems, CTI certified and VFD installed cooling towers. Through these and other recycling and reuse initiatives, we have conserved 32,489 KL fresh water. Aragen operates zero-liquid discharge water treatment plants to reduce the company’s carbon footprint and increase operational sustainability.
Aragen has submitted its letter of intent to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) and is part of a growing list of organizations that are committed to setting emission reduction targets in line with the Paris Agreement to limit global warming. It is also a signatory to the GRI South Asia Charter on Sustainability Imperatives, a framework that helps to realise the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) defined by the United Nation. We have identified six SDGs as our focus areas and have planned several initiatives to work towards these goals. These are good health and well-being, gender equality, decent work and economic growth, responsible consumption and production, and climate action. Our CSR activities are aligned to these SDGs and focus on education, community support, helping the differently abled, providing medical care, sanitisation, safe drinking water, environmental sustainability and conservation of natural resources, promoting gender equality and nurturing sporting talent.
Besides conducting voluntary tree plantation drives within and in the vicinity of all our campuses, we also regularly support the local administration in their green drives. As a part of this, we have developed parks and green belts in Begumpet area in Hyderabad and Bommasandra in Bengaluru. Ongoing campus initiatives include awareness programs on the reduction of single-use plastic, food wastage in the cafeteria, and water conservation.
Our sustainability initiatives have also earned us recognition from the industry. The manufacturing unit and research laboratory at Nacharam campus in Hyderabad have been awarded Green Company – Silver rating by CII. We have also received the bronze medal in Ecovadis global sustainability assessment.
To summarise, sustainability at Aragen is not merely responding to the need of the hour but is a sustained, long term commitment to hold ourselves socially, environmentally, and economically responsible. Our sustainability initiatives are based on three pillars - business growth, social development and environment protection. We will continue to strengthen our sustainability initiatives such that we meet the expectations of all our stakeholders – be they customers, investors, employees, community or the environment.