Excipient Sustainability – A user and a supplier perspective


Life Sciences Sustainability Manager, Croda Europe, Cowick, United Kingdom


To achieve their sustainability ambitions excipient users need to access excipients produced with lower embedded GHG emissions, little or no waste produced and with minimal impact on water quality and availability. As such, in the short-term excipient producers need to optimise processes and switch to renewable or low carbon sources of energy. To achieve the long-term ambitions of the pharmaceutical sector, excipient users and suppliers need to collaborate and share data to identify ways to make step change improvements and identify ways to deliver net zero ingredients within the confines of current legislation. This article sets out the standards and guidance for environmental sustainability best practise and information exchange through the pharmaceutical supply chain.

According to the United Nations (UN) World Commission on Environment and Development, environmental sustainability is about acting in a way that ensures future generations have the natural resources available to live an equal, if not better, way of life as current generations. But sustainability is also used interchangeably with green, natural and eco-friendly so what do we really mean when we talk about excipient sustainability?


Excipients are the inactive ingredients in a drug formulation, but they are more than just fillers in a final drug product. They are functional ingredients, providing key benefits such as solubilisation, stabilisation, delivery enhancement, and formulation preservation. Until recently the supply of sustainable excipients focused on high quality, regulatory compliance, security of supply and integrity. This aligned with the sustainability priorities for excipient users and drug developers which focused on safety, access to medicines, affordability, ethics and supply chain management (1). But in recent years the climate crisis and plastic pollution have driven an environmental consciousness within corporations, governments and with ...