In April 2020 Ethical Consumer viewed the GlaxoSmithKline Annual Report 2019 which contained a section on the environment. Ethical Consumer also viewed a number of pages on the company's website under the heading 'Environment'.
An environmental policy was deemed necessary to report on a company's environmental performance and set targets for reducing its impacts in the future. A strong policy would include two future, quantified environmental targets, demonstration by the company that it had a reasonable understanding of its main environmental impacts, be dated within two years and have its environmental data independently verified.
GlaxoSmithKline discussed carbon (including disclosures on scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions) , water, plastic, paper, palm oil, waste, climate resilience and pharmaceuticals in the environment. However, the company had also received Ethical Consumer's worst rating for toxic chemicals which meant it was not considered to have demonstrated a reasonable understanding of its main impacts.
The company had the following targets all set from a 2016 baseline:
- Reduce our operational carbon emissions (Scope 1 and 2) (15% by 2025 and 20% by 2030).
- Reduce our value chain carbon emissions (Scope 3) per £ billion revenue (25% by 2030).
- Source electricity from renewable sources (45% by 2025 and 60% by 2030).
- Reduce our total water use at each high-risk site (20% by 2025 and 30% by 2030).
- Waste repurposed for beneficial use (80% by 2025 and 100% by 2030).
Although its carbon reduction targets had been accredited by the Science Based Targets Initiative, the report did not appear to have been independently verified.
As GlaxoSmithKline had a report dated within two year and at least two quantitifed targets but was not considered to have demonstrated a reasonable understanding of its main impacts and did not appear to have had its report independently verified, it received Ethical Consumer's middle rating for Environmental Reporting and lost half a mark under this category.
Annual Report 2019 (2019)