Sustainability is not a fad. The United Nations Organization (UN) already defined this concept in 1987 during the Brundtland Commission: it is what allows “satisfying the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to satisfy their own needs,” the organization announced. Years later, in 2015, the UN itself established its first sustainability strategy, setting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Sustainability is everyone’s task, both individual actors and groups, institutions and companies. Established as a corporate philosophy, the set of decisions that promote responsible development, manufacturing and consumption contribute to progress and social, economic and environmental well-being. Companies that are based on these premises gain value for consumers, workers and investors.
The Bayer Group has carried the banner of this irreversible trend for years. Through its commercial activity, the multinational is committed to achieving ambitious objectives in this field. The production plant in La Felguera (Asturias) perfectly illustrates the company’s purposes: it represents an example of how the triangle formed by efficiency, effectiveness and respect for the environment marks the path to success.
Jorge Álvarez, general director of the La Felguera center, recognizes the more than 100 people on the team, who with their work have made this trajectory possible. “Thanks to the enormous commitment we have been able to maintain our activity 100% to continue supplying the global needs of the active ingredients that we produce from here, knowing that we are an essential part of the chain to meet health needs throughout the world” says Alvarez.
Thanks to the human team we have been able to maintain our activity at 100% to continue supplying the global needs of the active ingredients that we produce from here, knowing that we are an essential part of the chain to meet health needs throughout the world.
Jorge Álvarez, general director of the center of La Felguera
Commitment to sustainability
The Asturian plant began its activity in 1942. In these 80 years it has been transforming and adapting to the times. When environmental policies gained weight and the world began to worry about eco-responsibility, at Bayer they activated the protocols to evolve towards a more sustainable production model.
In these eight decades, La Felguera has stood out for its commitment to the health of the planet. Milestones such as the use of 100% renewable electrical energy and the 44% reduction in direct carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions into the atmosphere in the last five years demonstrate this desire to make the world a better place.
From the medicine cabinet to the brick
La Felguera is a world benchmark for the production of acetylsalicylic acid. It is exported from Asturias to eight Bayer production centers around the world, where it is compressed into tablets (according to its different preparations) and distributed in all the markets in which the company operates.
In the process of making acetylsalicylic acid, calcium sulfate or agricultural gypsum is generated. With the aim of revaluing this waste, Bayer is working together with the University of Oviedo on a research project. Improving this salt so that it can be used in the construction industry inspires this program, aligned with the purposes of promoting the Group’s circular economy. The conclusions obtained so far are promising.
From Asturias, the La Felguera team contributes to improving the health of patients around the world, making progress in new projects and evolving towards a more sustainable and efficient production model in the use of natural resources.
Bernardo Kanahuati, CEO of Bayer in Spain and Portugal
More productive capacity to take care of the planet
In the last five years, Bayer has invested more than 27 million euros in its Asturian plant, an amount to which more than four million euros have been added during the 2022 financial year. This significant injection of capital has allowed La Felguera to digitize and review their processes under energy efficiency criteria. Also, expand the facilities in order to increase and make the production capacity of the plant more flexible, all without losing sight of the objective of reducing its environmental impact.
Aligned with the sustainability strategy, La Felguera is developing its own program to optimize water in its processes. Likewise, it will participate in Bayer’s first global program focused on the analysis of the emissions of the entire value chain of a compound based on one of the most emblematic presentations in the world, acetylsalicylic acid. Proof that this sustainable mentality is part of its tradition is that it has absorbed new world-reference projects, such as the one that currently analyzes a drug throughout its entire production process. The purpose is not just to measure, but to find a way to reduce that environmental footprint.
For Bernardo Kanahuati, CEO of Bayer in Spain and Portugal, the commitment and solvency of the Asturian plant not only allows the company to consolidate its activity. “It is also possible to advance in new projects and evolve towards a more sustainable and efficient production model in the use of natural resources. From Asturias, the La Felguera team contributes to improving the health of patients around the world”, says the manager.
Emissions neutrality in Barcelona
In addition to committing to energy efficiency, reducing and revaluing waste and making better use of natural resources, Bayer aspires to achieve climate neutrality in all its centers around the world by 2030. The first big step was taken this year. The corporate headquarters in Sant Joan Despí (Barcelona) has become the first of the company to be certified as zero carbon emissions. To achieve this achievement, the review of its infrastructures has been key.
The residual emissions from the building, some eight tons from the activity of the kitchen for employees, have been neutralized with reforestation actions in nearby forests. Thanks to an agreement with the Reforesta association and the collaboration of the Barcelona Provincial Council, Bayer has donated 20,000 euros for reforestation in the El Montseny Natural Park and Biosphere Reserve and in the Montnegre and Corredor Park. A group of company volunteers will also take care of these trees.
The Barcelona facilities have been working for some time to achieve climate neutrality. Since 2020, 100% of its electricity comes from renewable sources. Recently, they have received an investment of close to 3 million euros, which has made it possible to adapt the facilities to flexible work, replace all the air conditioning technology and save more than 62,500 kW/h, the equivalent to the consumption of 19 Spanish homes in one year. .