Our Approach to Sustainability

We are dedicated to providing the highest quality products and services to our customers, while minimizing our impact on the environment, striving for energy and resource efficiency and helping to improve quality of life.

As part of this commitment, we work to ensure transparency by reporting in line with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards. These represent the industry standard for reporting on economic, environmental and social indicators. The Lonza Sustainability Report 2020 focuses on the topics most relevant to our business, as identified in our 2018 materiality assessment.

Our Policy

Our Environment

We improve our environmental footprint by continually reducing energy, water and material demand.

Compliance and Integrity

We ensure that regulatory compliance, integrity and ethical conduct are the foundations in every place we operate.

Vision ZERO

We continually improve our systems and aspire to ZERO incidents, injuries or emissions.

Our People

We develop our employees by helping them grow. We provide safe workplaces, care for employees’ well-being and foster their involvement and participation.

Value for Society

We create value for society by delivering science-based solutions to develop the medicines and consumer products of tomorrow. We engage in the communities where we operate.

Material Topics and Sustainable Development Goals

In 2018, we performed a materiality assessment with the involvement of more than 100 stakeholders to prioritize our initiatives and activities that best support sustainable development. A total of 16 topics were identified as the most relevant for us globally, reflecting the sustainability benefits and impacts of our operations, products and services along our value chain.

The Sustainability Report 2020 provides more detail on each topic and outlines our management approach and performance results.

Material Topics for Lonza


  • Energy Conservation and Efficiency
  • GHG Management
  • Waste and Recycling
  • Environmental Compliance
  • Innovation


  • Economic Performance
  • Anti–Corruption
  • Quality and Reliability
  • Customer Satisfaction


  • Occupational Health and Safety
  • Non–Discrimination
  • Protection of Human Rights
  • Customer Health and Safety
  • Socioeconomic Compliance
  • Talent Management

In addition to the materiality topics, we also recognize the importance and relevance of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The goals contain a broad range of sustainable development themes, including alleviating poverty and hunger, improving health and education, reducing inequalities, promoting responsible consumption, combatting climate change and protecting natural resources. There is a global ambition to achieve these interconnected goals by 2030.

We are committed to contributing to the realization of these goals. From the 17 SDGs, we have identified the eight that we consider the most relevant and pressing for our own industry, operations and sustainability focal areas.

UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

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We contribute to the SDGs through our crop protection solutions, which improve crop yields and food quality. Similarly, our nutritional supplements and our products, services and cutting-edge technologies help save, extend and enhance lives. Our company is an equal opportunity employer, empowering employees and investing to improve innovation and resource efficiency. We have also established partnerships and sponsoring programs for research, education and basic healthcare.

Safety and Sustainability Targets

Our long-term goal is to improve our sustainability performance and reduce our environmental footprint. Using 2018 as the baseline, we have defined the targets from 2020 to 2030 (see the table below). We are working to achieve a greenhouse gas reduction of more than 50% compared with our 2010 carbon footprint intensity, in line with the Paris Agreement timeline.

Accidental emissions or leakages are unintended occurrences and are reported when observed. At one production plant at our Visp (CH) site, an unintended release of nitrous oxide emissions (N2O) was detected, which we addressed as leakage in our 2019 Sustainability Report. The site has developed an action plan together with the relevant authorities. It includes the installation of a new state-of-the-art exhaust gas treatment process to mitigate the emissions, based on a selective catalytical process. The installation will be approximately 18 meters high with an area of 95 m2; construction began as soon as the permits were granted by the authorities. With this treatment plant, the N2O emissions will be largely eliminated. It is estimated that it will be in operation by the end of 2021.

Given the nature of the N2O emission and the measures undertaken to reduce it in the next two years, we will continue to track our 2019 to 2030 targets using the same baseline and targets as defined in 2018. In parallel, we will track and provide updates on the intensity of the emissions and on the absolute carbon emissions with and without the N2O leakage, as detailed in our Sustainability Report.

Our safety targets are aligned with our Vision Zero initiative, which aims to accomplish zero workplace injuries or illnesses, zero manufacturing process incidents, zero environmental incidents and zero transportation incidents involving our products or services. Since 2019, our safety targets are set on a local basis and linked to metrics based on the identification and closure of safety-related corrective actions at each of our operating sites. This moved us from a lagging metric based on injuries that can have high year-on-year variability, to a leading metric that drives employee behavior and involvement.

Long-term Targets, Total Company Until 2030 – Baseline 2018, Per Million CHF Sales

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Milestone 2020 (Per CHF 1 Million Sales), Baseline 2018

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We applied targets per CHF 1 million sales on the basis of our diverse product portfolio, which ranges from manufacturing of chemical bulk products to pharmaceutical ingredients; from medical capsules to food supplements; from gene technology to cell-media production. This diversity could only be reconciled with a financially focused denominator. The targets and baseline will be reassessed with the divestment of the Specialty Ingredients segment.

In addition to the global goals, sites set local targets for material topics for their locations (such as emissions, water quantity and parameters). Sites will develop a three-year roadmap, which will include their action plans around global and local targets.

Our Progress in 2020

Indicator 1FY 2018FY 2020Change2020 TargetStatus
(GJ/million CHF)
(Scope 1 & 2 mt/million CHF) 2
(mt/million CHF)
27.127.9+3%–4%Not Achieved
  1. The baseline has been restated due to the inclusion of three sites in the reporting framework (Monteggio, CH, Geleen, NL and Hayward, USA), and the correction of previous data entry inaccuracies

  2. The CO2-eq rate and the reduction target is relative to the 2018 baseline, recording routine emissions from combustion and general sources, excluding the N2O leakage, see more in 2020 Sustainability Report

A Systematic Approach to Safety and Sustainability

Our approach to safety and sustainability in Lonza is committed and systematic. We have policies in place, including our aspirational Vision Zero, for the reduction of accidents, incidents and emissions. Across all our sites, we collect data for accidents and incidents, energy, water and waste, and analyze deviations from established goals. Our Environment, Health, Safety and Sustainability (EHS&S) team regularly visits and audits our sites to identify compliance risks and procedures that do not meet our standards.

We also review the impact of workplace risks on our business performance and find ways to mitigate these risks. In this context, we see safety and sustainability as opportunities that allow us to maximize our value creation for society, our customers and our people while reducing our environmental footprint. During the COVID-19 pandemic, additional guidance and procedures were implemented to keep our employees safe and ensure continuity of operations.

At the end of the reporting year, approximately 228 people worked in the core EHS&S field across Lonza. EHS&S operating costs amounted to CHF 67,100 million in 2020. Capital expenditure on EHS&S totaled CHF 79,904 in 2020.