The Shocking Carbon Impact of Biotech and Pharma: A Roadmap to 1.5C

James Connelly, My Green Lab

My Green Lab, the leading global non-profit committed to sustainability in science, announced that the biotech and pharma sector is among the world's largest carbon emitters through a study released during COP26. The study, leveraging data from 234 publicly-listed companies, shows that of the world's largest publicly-traded biotech and pharma companies, only 4% have climate commitments aligning with the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to limit warming to 1.5C.

Within the biotech and pharma carbon footprint, indirect emissions from the value chain (Scope 3 emissions) are about five times larger than those directly controlled by a company. Thus, a critical part of the solution requires companies to quantify their emissions up and down their supply chains and leverage their purchasing power to motivate their suppliers and customers to reduce their impacts.

My Green Lab Certification & ACT Label are industry-wide frameworks for turning commitments into measurable outcomes. In recognition of its potential for impact, My Green Lab Certification program was selected as a key indicator of progress for the UNFCCC High-Level Climate Champions' 2030 Breakthroughs campaign. This session will detail the carbon impact study, focusing on key findings and measurable solutions to reduce emissions through My Green Lab Certification and ACT Label programs. We will also share our plan to revise this study, including the carbon impact of global private and academic labs in the update.

Learning Objectives

  • Learn the scale of the decarbonization challenge that the pharma and biotech sectors face to achieve their climate ambition of aligning to a 1.5C world;
  • Explain how organizational and corporate sustainability goals can be supported by Green Lab programs;
  • Learn how to leverage the My Green Lab Certification and ACT Label programs to reduce the impact through sustainability best practices and laboratory purchasing; and
  • Implement sustainable lab practices through their actions or a lab they are designing and managing.


James Connelly is the Chief Executive Officer of My Green Lab. Previously, James was the Vice President of Strategic Growth for the International Living Future Institute, where he created several leading-edge sustainability programs, including Living Product Challenge, the world's most advanced sustainability standard for building products.


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