GSK plant in Ireland making headway on reducing carbon footprint

The GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) plant in Dungarvan, Ireland, is making measurable headway in reducing its carbon footprint and appears to be on track to reach its goal of nipping two-thirds of its emissions over the next two years.

Since GSK began the initiative in 2011, the Irish facility that manufactures a variety of over-the-counter pharmacy and oral care products including Panadol, Polygrip and NiQuitin was able to increase product volume by 10%, while reducing its overall energy usage by 17.4%, Waterford Today reported. Focusing on just 2014, the plant trimmed carbon emissions 7.4%, which beat GSK's target of 6% for the year.

The plant was able to reduce its carbon footprint by upgrading to LED lighting, adopting better air handling unit technology and practices, chilled water improvements and installing measurement and control functions, the newspaper said.

"While energy efficiency projects will reduce carbon emissions by a certain amount, in order to reduce energy emissions further, we will be implementing a number of renewable energy options this year," Pat McLoughlin, vice president and site director of the facility, told Waterford Today.

As part of its efforts to reduce its global carbon footprint, GSK and several other drugmakers have also been flirting with continuous process manufacturing. Earlier this year, the company said it would invest up to $50 million in a Singapore plant to upgrade it to handle continuous process manufacturing, which requires radically smaller plants and, further, promises to radically lower operating costs.

- check out the Waterford Today story