We are a science-based company and employ science in our approach to resource use and in our day-to-day business operations. Our goal is to mitigate any negative impacts and, where feasible, create positive ones – for example, by becoming a carbon neutral company and embracing green chemistry. We also aim to be a catalyst for positive change by encouraging other companies we do business with to adopt responsible environmental policies leading to improved environmental and business performance. 

From a human perspective, the dedication and passion our employees bring to our mission of improving patient lives is the same, whether they are developing and manufacturing our therapies or reducing our impact on the environment we share with patients, employees and the greater community.



Our Focus


Biogen is committed to utilizing a science-based approach when it comes to managing environmental resources, demonstrated by our Science Based Targets Initiative-approved 2030 absolute greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction target of 35 percent. Our practice of using science to inform our targets when possible is part of our broader commitment to context-based sustainability, an approach based on balancing resource use with the needs of our community and the planet.

To address climate change, Biogen believes businesses must take action to address the GHG emissions from their own operations – and they must also help reduce emissions from their suppliers. For Biogen, this is demonstrated by:

  • Emitting zero net carbon emissions from our own operations since 2014. To achieve this, Biogen has matched 100 percent of its electricity use with electricity produced from renewable sources, such as wind and solar, around the world as well as financially supporting carbon offset projects, primarily in the communities in which its operates.
  • Reducing fossil fuel and electricity usage within our operations through incremental and step-wise improvements in manufacturing, investing in more efficient and healthier buildings (we have two LEED Platinum and two LEED Gold buildings) and ensuring our existing facilities operate at peak performance. This continuous improvement approach has generated a 76 percent reduction in our operational carbon intensity since 2006. Take a look at our spotlight stories to see our climate champions in action.
  • Engaging with our ten highest climate-impacting supply chain partners to advocate for direct climate reductions in the products and services Biogen purchases. This year we partnered with Duke University to conduct a study on meeting our science-based targets through supplier reductions, and this study will help inform our strategy moving forward.

We will continue searching for innovative ways to further reduce our own emissions and those of our suppliers, while decreasing our need for carbon offsets.

Read more about our initiatives to support our climate strategy in our Spotlight Stories feature.

Learn more about our approach to environmental sustainability and our climate change position.


With water security in mind, we strategically situate our manufacturing sites in water rich areas and, as a result, water scarcity is not a significant risk to our business. However, water remains a precious commodity as well as a business cost, and we continuously look for ways to reduce water use – such as by making our processes and equipment more efficient and by reusing water. Additionally, we are committed to ensuring our wastewater treatment practices consistently meet quality and safety regulations and standards.

To understand the impact of our water use on the communities surrounding our facilities, we have committed to utilizing a context-based water approach for our major facilities. This makes it possible to assess water withdrawal relative to the local watershed’s sustainable water supply. Assessment of two of our major facilities using the Corporate Water Gauge tool developed by the Center for Sustainable Organizations (CSO)  is complete, and water withdrawals were determined to be within what the CSO calls “fair, just and proportional share” of the local watersheds’ sustainable water supply. 

Our goal is to assess water use at the remaining major facilities in 2019 using this same approach. In the event that any facility’s water withdrawal exceeds our fair, just and proportional share of the local water resources, a secondary target has been established to bring water withdrawals below that threshold by 2030. Simultaneously, we maintain an internally used water intensity metric1 to drive and communicate operational efficiency.

1. Metric: cubic yards used per million dollars USD of revenue

Green Chemistry

At Biogen, we embrace green chemistry as an opportunity to make our drug discovery and development processes safer, more efficient and better for the environment – while also reducing costs.

Our green chemistry program helps drive process innovations that both improve product performance and also deliver environmental benefits. As part of our efforts, we use green chemistry concepts and tools, such as those developed by the ACS GCI Pharmaceutical Roundtable, to increase our chemical process efficiency, reduce our waste and optimize materials used.

For example, we’ve adopted a ‘green-by-design’ approach to drug substance manufacturing for two of our early phase pipeline projects to treat multiple sclerosis and neuropathic pain, respectively. This approach reduced waste upwards of 70 percent, based on process mass intensity (PMI) measurements. By designing for sustainability early in the development process, we are not only reducing waste and saving on resources, we are also reducing our development time and increasing the opportunity to bring critical drugs to patients sooner.

Externally, we are working to effect change throughout our industry. We are involved in the green chemistry working group of the International Consortium of Innovation & Quality in Pharmaceutical Development (IQ Consortium), with a focus on the development of green chemistry metrics. We are also actively engaged in two working groups of the ACS GCI Pharmaceutical Roundtable – one working group on influencing the research agenda and one on flow chemistry.

Read more about our Green Chemistry initiatives to support our climate strategy in our Spotlight Stories feature.




Goals and Commitments

As Biogen grows, we remain committed to reducing our environmental footprint by maintaining our carbon neutral status and by minimizing resources used to manufacture our therapies.Maintain Carbon Neutrality across our own operations (as we have since 2014)

  • Continue to match 100 percent of our electricity use with electricity produced from renewable sources, which has been our public commitment to the RE100 initiative since 2014 
  • Reduce by 35 percent our absolute GHG footprint – across Scopes 1, 2 and 3 – by 2030 (compared to our 2013 footprint)
  • Assess our water use and keep use within our determined fair share (what the Center for Sustainable Organizations calls our “fair, just and proportional share” of local water resources)
  • Maintain Zero Waste to Landfill status for our manufacturing facilities
  • Continue to leverage our 2020 intensity-based metrics for internal operational excellence and benchmarking
  • Engage with our highest climate impacting suppliers to lower GHG emissions in our supply chain