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Ecological footprint
of the pharmaceutical
industry in Germany


Association of Research-based Pharmaceutical Companies (VFA)



Germany signed the Paris climate agreement, as did a further 194 states, and in doing so set itself the goal of becoming climate neutral by 2045. In Germany, after energy production, it is industry that is the largest contributor to climate-damaging emissions. In order to assess the significance of domestic industry’s role in achieving this objective from a global perspective, the first step is to determine the global footprint. Equally, a sustainable economic system requires that certain resources, such as water, be protected. Similarly to the emissions burden, it is helpful to have a global view of resource consumption to be able to assess the state and development of the ecological transformation of industry in Germany.

In this context, Prognos is investigating the ecological footprint of the pharmaceutical industry in Germany for the Association of Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (vfa).

The global environmental impact of the pharmaceutical industry

The project aims to globally determine the climate-damaging emissions, water consumption, and energy consumption produced by Germany's pharmaceutical industry. This data will then be compared with other industries in Germany and relevant pharmaceutical locations abroad.

The project will run until October 2023.

Our approach

The ecological footprint of the German pharmaceutical industry is established for three categories: greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption, and energy consumption. We use a method established in the scientific literature to determine emissions and consumption along the entire value chain of the German pharmaceutical industry, both nationally and internationally. In essence, data on global value chains from the OECD TIVA (Trade in Value Added)database is linked to information on industry-specific emissions and consumption intensities.

Project team: Jakob Ambros, Leilah Dismond, Dr. Andreas Sachs

Last update: 03.08.2023

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Dr Andreas Sachs

Project Manager

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Jakob Ambros


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Prognos is one of the oldest economic research centres in Europe. Founded at the University of Basel, Prognos experts have been conducting research for a wide range of clients from the public and private sectors since 1959 – politically independent, scientifically sound.

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