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Case study

WN Pharmaceuticals Ltd.

Emissions Reductions:

  • 8% absolute reduction
  • 18% reduction per unit sold
  • 40% reduction from waste
  • 66% reduction from paper

Financial Impact:

  • $15,000 in added revenue
  • $65,000 in avoided expenses from plastics recycling

Solutions:

  • Baling soft plastics to recycle
  • Grinding waste
  • Reselling of softgel waste
  • Switching to agri-based paper

WN Pharmaceuticals Ltd. is Canada’s leading manufacturer and distributor of vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products. Based in British Columbia, Canada, WN Pharmaceuticals develops, manufactures, and distributes its products to enhance the well-being of customers across Canada and around the world.

In the early part of 2015, WN Pharmaceuticals began measuring its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions with Climate Smart. After evaluating the impacts of its facilities, WN Pharmaceuticals identified a list of actions that could be taken to help achieve its sustainability objectives.

The company ranked the list of actions by potential impact, and developed an emissions reduction strategy that included short, medium, and long-term goals.

The company’s second GHG measurement captured the impact of actions taken:

Softgel waste “nets” more revenue
Many of the products WN Pharmaceuticals manufactures are enclosed in softgel capsules. The softgel manufacturing process generates leftover waste in a form resembling netting. Over the past 10 years, WN Pharmaceuticals has been reselling portions of the clear netting for use in non-food applications (e.g., the adhesive manufacturing industries).

During the 2016 fiscal year, WN Pharmaceuticals diverted approximately 150 tons of waste from landfill, and generated $50,000 of revenue from this waste channel.

Closing the loop on manufacturing waste
Much like pharmaceutical drugs, natural health products may harm the eco-system if improperly disposed of in the landfill. WN Pharmaceuticals operates in accordance with Canada’s Environmental Management Act, and keeps natural health product manufacturing waste out of Metro Vancouver’s general waste disposal facilities.

Historically, this was accomplished by sending the manufacturing waste to a facility that would incinerate the material without any energy recovery. In 2016, WN Pharmaceuticals switched waste contractors to one able to divert 95% of the manufacturing waste by grinding the material and turning it into soil and animal feed.

While the outcome of this switch is yet to be fully accounted for, WN Pharmaceuticals projects a reduction of 165 tons of GHG, and 30% cost savings.

Baling soft plastics pays off
Even prior to beginning the Climate Smart program, WN Pharmaceuticals was exploring ways to reduce its environmental footprint and reduce expenses. In 2014, soft plastic balers were installed at three locations to handle the large volumes of cellophane wrapping the company was receiving.

Although the wrapping was being recycled prior to the balers, this incurred a significant annual expense. The balers turned this into revenue, as waste recyclers were now willing to pay for the bales of plastic in a format they could use.

The 2016 fiscal year saw the baling of approximately 79 metric tons (158,000 lbs) of soft plastic, which generated revenue in excess of $15,000 and avoided approximately $65,000 in recycling fees, adding $80,000 to the bottom line.

Simple paper switch cuts costs and carbon
Many times, simple changes can have big impacts. WN Pharmaceuticals reduced the emissions generated by office paper use by approximately 40% by switching from copier paper comprised of 30% recycled content to agri-based Wheat SheetTM and Sugar SheetTM products (producing GHG emissions similar to paper with 100% recycled content).

These paper products are derived from non-edible portions of the plant, and thus do not impact the natural food chain. Contrary to expectations, the switch saved WN Pharmaceuticals 25% in paper costs without compromising print quality.

“Sustainability – people, planet, profit – is a core company value,” according to Tristan Krempel, Vice-President of Customer Service & Distribution, and the group’s Executive Sponsor for Sustainability.

“That means we’re committed to building strong communities, operating as good stewards of the Earth, and being fiscally responsible. Climate Smart is helping us reduce our environmental impacts as we rapidly grow our business. With their guidance, we’re charting a course that ensures we’ll continue to thrive as a company and deliver on our community and environmental commitments.”

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