Other reports

Sustainable innovation & technology

The sustainable innovation that we envision and drive forward must align with and support the three goals of our sustainability strategy. We define sustainable innovation as new or improved products, services, technologies, or processes that generate economic benefits and have positive environmental and social impacts. Therefore, we develop long-term solutions for our innovation and research activities that consider the entire value chain and evaluate each product’s impact over its lifecycle.

Today, our products are already having positive impact on human progress and global health, namely our medicines and our biological and chemical innovations that utilize the latest technologies. We want to continuously improve the way we measure our progress by adapting to upcoming regulations and integrating quantitative sustainability criteria into our product development processes across all business sectors.

In 2023, we continued our partnership with the patent information platform LexisNexis® PatentSight® and evaluated the sustainability impact of our intellectual property. In the reporting year, 29% (2022: 40%) of our patent families published had a positive sustainability impact. However, this key indicator is not comparable with the previous year’s figure as LexisNexis® PatentSight® updated the underlying evaluation methodology.

Roles and responsibilities

The organizational set-up of our R&D activities reflects the overall structure of our company. All three of our business sectors operate in independent R&D units that pursue their own innovation strategies. Group Corporate Sustainability supports our business sectors and Group functions to advance sustainability within the R&D and innovation processes. This includes the coordination and alignment of common core sustainability criteria in line with our shared goals as well as quality and quantification requirements. In 2022, we created a Group-wide dashboard, showing the potential contribution of our R&D portfolio to sustainable solutions. In 2023, we integrated a procedure describing the global sustainability evaluation in our R&D process.

Our Group Science & Technology Office leads the implementation of our combined strategy for innovation as well as data and digital, enabling innovation across our business sectors while harnessing the power of advanced data and digital capacities. It aims to identify and integrate transformative and strategically relevant technology trends into our business sectors while maintaining a Group-wide overview of our technology roadmap and innovation portfolio. Fostering data and digital capacities is key to accelerating sustainable innovation and enabling rapid action and personalized offerings. Innovation projects are incubated either through our corporate innovation teams or in the business sectors.

Our venture capital fund, M Ventures, prioritizes sustainable innovations through equity investments. The fund’s mandate is to invest in innovative technologies and products that have the potential to significantly impact our core business areas. In addition, the fund focuses on investments in two areas of high strategic relevance to our company: digital technology and sustainability.

M Ventures’ sustainability investment strategy follows two fundamental approaches. First, it invests in sustainable solutions relevant to our three business sectors, such as novel solutions for reducing emissions and waste, green life science technologies and green electronics technologies. These solutions may be more energy- or resource-efficient or may create products designed for circularity or with a lower carbon footprint. As many of these technologies are still in their early stages, M Ventures is partnering with SEMI.org along with the leading corporate venture capital funds to help accelerate the innovation and adoption of potential sustainable semiconductor solutions. The second approach involves making investments that leverage our core competencies to drive sustainability in other markets. These may include start-ups addressing sustainable foods, bio-manufacturing or carbon capture and utilization.

Our commitment: Aiming for circularity

Within our R&D processes, we are committed to continuously improving and integrating sustainability and circular economy criteria to assess the sustainability performance of our products and portfolio, enabling us to create more sustainable products for our customers and society. We have integrated and tailored Design for Sustainability (DfS) across all business sectors and use our overarching dashboard to monitor progress on key sustainability criteria. In 2023, we assessed almost all relevant R&D projects and thus enhanced transparency around the sustainability performance of our global R&D portfolio. We integrated a sustainability in R&D key indicator to track progress and continued advancing the use of evaluation tools such as DOZN™ and GreenSpeed. We aim to combine the insights from the R&D dashboard with those gained from our commercial portfolio evaluation to steer our future R&D activities.

We have dedicated corporate resources for our circular economy strategy and we are driving several circular economy pilots and initiatives throughout the organization. In addition, we held a global circular economy summit to provide a platform for best practice sharing with internal and external participants.

Share this page: