In each of the Virbac group's industrial sites, resources and impacts are monitored and managed according to key indicators. They relate to energy consumption and natural resources (water, electricity, gas, fuels), emissions into water, air and the quantity of waste generated.
The scope of the principal environmental indicators covers all the major production sites, representing nearly 60% of the Group's revenue in 2017: South Africa, Australia, Brazil, the United States, France, Mexico, New Zealand, Uruguay and Vietnam (excluding Chile, which is a joint-venture). For reasons of reporting maturity, certain indicators are collected within a more limited scope and the Group is continuously working to expand this. All the exclusions or possible focus countries are specified. Note that 2017 packaging and waste data for the St. Louis site in the United States were not reported.
The Grenelle II provision on ground use has not been covered, having been deemed non-applicable to the Virbac group's activities and establishments. Finally, following the publication of the French decree of May 3, 2012 concerning the compulsory provision of financial guarantees for securing certain facilities classified for environmental protection, Virbac established, in 2016, a financial guarantee in France of €124,164.
Taking into account its activity, the Virbac group is not concerned with actions to combat food waste. The establishment of the waste collection and sorting channels described in the report on page 54 also aims to establish circular economies. It should be noted that the reuse of waste is not applicable to pharmaceuticals.
To sensitize its teams to key environmental issues, Virbac has carried out several activities within France since 2012. In concrete terms, these were the implementation of a training process for jobs subject to Environment and Security regulations, as well as the provision of welcome sheets to new employees explaining the environment and health regulations to be adhered to. Since 2013, an HSE component has been included in the welcome program for new employees. In 2015, with the creation of the HSE Corporate board and its connection to the chairman, an audit program was built. Also since 2015, the subsidiaries in Mexico, Australia, Taiwan, Vietnam United States, Uruguay, New Zealand and Chile have been audited at least once a month: an action plan for each of these subsidiaries was established, including regular monitoring by the HSE Corporate board and local stakeholders.
Minimize wastage at every stage of the industrial process
Since the introduction of the continuous improvement strategy, Virbac has stepped up the fine-tuning of its use of active ingredients, excipients and packaging. This improvement has been implemented through partnerships with dedicated suppliers and in compliance with the various regulations: from resupply of the bare minimum (reduction of stocks and internal transfers) to the shipping of finished products (in line with customer requirements) and optimized flow organization (manufacturing smoothed and tailored to demand). Finally, while taking into account regulatory obligations for the pharmaceutical industry, Virbac's innovation policy favors manufacturing products that require less wrapping and packaging.
For several years, Virbac has been working to reduce its energy and natural resource consumption by replacing equipment (better efficiency), adding thermal insulation, optimizing air conditioning and by introducing consumption indicators as close as possible to end-users (better control of energy expenditure). Compared to an identical volume of activity, the overall reduction in electricity consumption at Virbac sites in France (which accounts for more than 50% of the Group's production) reached almost 36% over the past nine years.
For many years, Virbac has striven to lower the water consumption for an equivalent level of activity by setting up recycling and production facilities for various water qualities in accordance with the BAT. Thus, reduction of water consumption at French sites (representing more than 50% of the Group's production) reached almost 21% over the past nine years.
Virbac's various industrial sites in Carros are located within the boundary of the Plaine du Var plain, an Operation of National Interest (OIN) zone. The national EPA (Établissement public d'aménagement [Public development agency]), is responsible for planning the sustainable development of the Plaine du Var (see http://www.ecovallee-cotedazur.com/). Likewise, the 4 hectares of the Penrith site in Australia are adjacent to a major waterway.
Taking into account the nature of its pharmaceutical industrial activity (especially inhibiting technologies), Virbac does not generate any visual, noise or odor pollution. Virbac is investing increasingly in environmental friendliness: taking into account EHS impacts in the management of industrial projects and strengthening of the Risk Management department. Furthermore, the Group's environmental principles are adapted in the subsidiaries, depending on the various local regulations. In many sites, such as St. Louis and Boston in the United States, Penrith in Australia and Carros in France, the majority of waste water from manufacturing is recovered and treated as hazardous industrial waste in accordance with the local regulations of the countries involved.
As part of transporting finished products while assuring end-user satisfaction, Virbac has implemented a grouping system for several national and international destinations in France and the United States, thereby reducing shipping-related CO2 emissions. For all staff at the Carros sites, Virbac provides a shuttle service to the railway station serving the industrial area. Also used for inter-site connections and the corporate restaurant, this shuttle transported nearly 4,166 people per month in 2017, an increase of 2%. This increase is due to the establishment of a second shuttle service due to a new Virbac facility in the industrial zone.
As part of a PDIE (Plan de déplacement inter-entreprises [Business-to-business transportation plan]), in 2012 Virbac was actively involved in setting up an “express shuttle” connecting different points of the city of Nice and the Carros industrial area. In 2013 and 2014, three new lines were added between the West of the department and the Carros industrial area. Since 2010 in France and 2012 in the United States, Virbac has also had in place an incentive-based policy for company vehicles geared towards limiting the carbon footprint. Still on the theme of transportation, financial incentives and reserved parking spaces are offered to employees of the new production site in Mexico who use "clean" vehicles or who carpool. The sites in Australia and France take greenhouse gas emissions into account when choosing refrigeration gases for each industrial refrigeration unit. Finally, in Mexico, a solar boiler producing industrial hot water has been installed as part of the new production unit.
The quantity of industrial water discharged by all the Virbac sites worldwide amounted to 168,535 m3 in 2017. Given the activities at Virbac's industrial sites, the main pollutant discharged into industrial waters is COD (Chemical Oxygen Demand). This indicator, monitored since 2013, shows that 172 tons of COD were emitted by the industrial sites of the entire Group in 2017. The emissions remained stable despite the gradual return to normal of the St. Louis site in the United States (+68%) and quality checks, particularly related to the cleaning of equipment. The quantity of COD emitted greatly increased (+30%) at constant scope; this increase is due to the gradual return to normal at the St. Louis site in the United States and the increase in power at the new site in Mexico. This COD increases by 77% with the integration of the Carros industrial sites in France (VB1), which were not included in prior balance sheets.
Since 2003, Virbac has been helping with the roll-out of a non-hazardous waste (aluminum, iron, glass, cardboard, plastic, paper, etc.) collection system at the Carros industrial area through “Carros Indus'tri”. This system (regularly studied by local communities or other industrial areas wishing to imitate it), managed by the Côte d’Azur Industry Plaine du Var (CAIPDV) business club, evolved in 2015 into “Tri&Co” as a result of optimizing and harmonizing collection schedules, among other things. Thus, all non-hazardous waste from the Carros sites is handled by service providers located within a radius of less than 40 km with a 100% recovery rate and therefore 0% landfilling. Like most Virbac sites, the Argo Navis site in Mexico is setting up pre-packaging facilities for non-hazardous waste to optimize the volumes produced and consequently the truck traffic.
Virbac tracks all hazardous waste up to the point of disposal: soiled packaging; laboratory, production, medicinal or infectious wastes; and chemical effluents (mostly incinerated and therefore thermally utilized or recycled for solvent recovery). Finally, Virbac makes regular improvements to the collection system through the establishment of new and even more selective channels, making it possible to reduce the proportion of waste that cannot yet be recycled.
In 2017, 3,057 tons of hazardous waste were generated in the entire environmental scope (excluding the St. Louis site in the United States, which did not report this data in 2017).
The Group's IT team actively pursues a strategy of installing communication systems that reduce transportation-related environmental impacts:
In 2017, Virbac continued to encourage its teams to use videoconferencing: all subsidiaries are equipped with dedicated systems (60 rooms in the Group) and all individual computers are also videoconference-ready with the deployment of more powerful software. The 13,289 videoconferencing meetings held throughout the Group in 2017 (a nearly 100% increase over the previous year) greatly helped to reduce physical travel among employees.
In addition to all these initiatives, e-visits are gradually being set up to optimize sales team travel in France. After an experimental phase in the first half of 2016, 130 virtual visits took place in the last quarter. This strategy was pursued with other populations and in other subsidiaries in 2017. In the same vein, six webinars were also set up (notably on dietetic nutrition topics).