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Genentech is prioritizing the health of people and the planet

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Genentech's newest LEED Gold building was designed to optimize energy performance, high-density occupancy?and indoor/outdoor connectivity. The new building fit between and linked two existing buildings, creating a beautiful interconnected triplex and allowing the company to avoid deconstruction. Source: Genentech.

This article is sponsored by Genentech.

Genentech is prioritizing the health of people and the planet

Genentech was founded more than 40 years ago and today it remains a place where bright minds come together to develop medicines for people with serious and life-threatening diseases such as cancer and multiple sclerosis. As a healthcare company, it’s especially important for the organization to model the change required to improve the health of every person on the planet.?

Genentech has embraced this responsibility, first publishing greenhouse gas emissions and water-use reduction goals back in 2006 and setting aggressive environmental sustainability goals around energy, water, waste and transportation impacts ever since. Its parent company, Roche, has been recognized for over a decade as one of the most sustainable companies in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices for environmental, economic and social performance.?

To reinforce Genentech’s long-term commitment to environmental sustainability, it has developed a 2050 Zero Emissions Roadmap, pledging to reduce the company’s environmental impact by 50 percent before the end of this decade and achieve zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. To accomplish these goals, the company is evolving the way it manages transportation and its campus environment and actively engaging employees at all levels of the organization in the process.

Providing cleaner ways to commute to and from work

Health equity is a priority for Genentech; the company believes that living in a clean, safe environment is a basic human right. To be a good neighbor and a force for change in the communities where Genentech employees live and work, the company has invested in improving local transportation infrastructure and maintaining a robust network of shared and sustainable commute options for employees, including buses, ferries, vanpools and carpools.?

Electric transport via "GenenBuses" is just one aspect of the program. They provide service to a number of cities throughout the San Francisco Bay Area as well as last-mile service from public transportation stations and ferry terminals for Genentech employees and employees of nearby companies too small to have their own fleet. GenenBuses help the company make a major impact in cutting commuters’ greenhouse gas emissions and curbing transport-related air and noise pollution. Genentech plans to transition 80 percent to 100 percent of its entire fleet of about 60 motorcoaches to electric by 2025, and to convert its sales fleet of more than 1,300 vehicles to EV or plug-in hybrid by 2030.?

Maintaining a sustainable campus environment?

Genentech campuses are designed to enhance health, resource conservation and energy performance. About 95 percent of the electricity the company uses on its campuses is from clean sources, and by 2025 it will be 100 percent.

As an early adopter of WELL building certification for new building construction, four of the company’s newest buildings were developed according to "green building" principles, with an emphasis on sustainability, wellbeing, community and innovation. The Genentech childcare center is a LEED Platinum building, two others are LEED Gold buildings and one is a WELL Gold building. The company is retooling a number of its older buildings to meet the criteria for Fitwel Champion status.?

Genentech has also significantly reduced landfill waste and water usage over the years. Since 2010, the company has avoided sending millions of pounds of waste to landfill through reuse, reduction and recycling strategies, a decrease of 59 percent per employee. Over just the last three years, the organization has saved 78 million gallons of water through initiatives such as limiting irrigation and reusing reverse osmosis reject water.

Engaging employees in caring for our planet

Green Genes is the largest employee club at Genentech, and one of its oldest, too; it was started in 2003 to provide a forum for employees to exchange ideas that will improve the company’s environmental performance. Employees also can visit Genentech’s "Act Together. Act Now." website, which explains how the actions we take as individuals, and the power of the actions we take together, make a difference.?

Leadership involvement has been critical to the success of Genentech’s environmental initiatives. The company has asked leaders to set ambitious annual sustainability goals in categories where employee actions and business policy can make a big difference — for example, resetting travel behaviors. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Genentech reduced air travel by 95 percent while continuing to meet its business objectives. Leaders budgeted for 2021 with the objective of cutting greenhouse gas emissions from air travel by 50 percent of 2019 levels.

Looking ahead

Genentech has grown tremendously over the past 40 years, but its clarity of purpose, approach to valuing and respecting each individual and dedication to giving back have remained unchanged. The company is proud to be a leader in the collective effort to solve the global environmental crisis, and will continue to do its part in creating a cleaner, healthier and more sustainable world in the years to come.

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