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Fostering a culture of sustainability

Roche Singapore Technical Operations' energy efficiency projects have led to cost savings and a reduction in its carbon footprint

TO meet its sustainability goals for 2019, pharmaceutical company Roche Singapore expanded its capabilities through various energy efficiency projects, internal awareness campaigns and by participating in external training programmes. These efforts led to the Roche Singapore Technical Operations (RSTO) winning the Excellence in Energy Management award at this year's EENP Awards.

Roche Group establishes Corporate Social Responsibility goals for all of its business units around the world, including a 15 per cent reduction in energy consumption by 2025 and 10 per cent reduction in water consumption by 2020. To achieve these benchmarks, the RSTO team set its own sustainability targets for 2019, consisting of an 8 per cent reduction in water consumption, energy consumption and waste generation against the 2018 baseline.

One project undertaken by RSTO involved harnessing wasted cool energy from exhaust air to pre-cool outdoor hot air before supplying it to an Air Handling Unit. This technology uses silica gel which re-generates itself and uses minimal energy.

This initiative, known as the Heat Recovery Wheel, reaped around 75MWh of annualised energy savings.

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Another sustainability effort involved replacing hydrochlorofluorocarbons refrigerants in chillers to more eco-friendly hydrofluoro olefin refrigerants. This helped to optimise the system and resulted in around 1160MWh of annualised savings.

During the execution of these projects, RSTO had to deal with competing needs for resources among the company's different sustainability initiatives.

"These challenges were overcome with strong cross-functional support by pooling resources from across the site, including training of employees to perform validation activities which were non-core to them so as to support the sustainability projects," said Richeal Cline, vice-president and general manager, RSTO.


RSTO also sends its staff for external training to help them acquire the skillsets they require to support the organisation's energy efficiency projects. These programmes include Singapore Certified Energy Manager courses, Water Efficiency Manager courses, as well as technical training conducted by the National Environment Agency and the Building and Construction Authority. The team also attends conferences such as the National Energy Efficiency Conference to share and learn best practices from the industry participants.

Additionally, sharing of knowledge happens across the group on a platform known as the Roche Global Network. Under this initiative, an Energy Summit is held annually where the groups' energy managers and technical subject matter experts gather to share best practices across all Roche sites. Another initiative known as the Community of Practice sees experts gathering on webex conferences once every month to share and learn about selected topics and operational issues that the different Rochesites are facing.

In terms of raising awareness among employees, RSTO holds an annual Sustainability Week that features a best practice road show, games, a hands-on recycling workshop and talks by guest speakers. As part of the programme, RSTO partnered with Zero Waste SG to engage employees on waste reduction and recycling and to promote sustainability.

Ms Cline noted that the RSTO's various energy efficiency initiatives not only result in cost savings, but also reduces the company's carbon footprint.

"This improves the global warming effects that the environment is currently facing. The intangible benefit also includes the increased awareness of energy efficiency across the site which enhances the sustainability culture at Roche."

RSTO also sends its staff for external training to help them acquire the skillsets they require to support the organisation's energy efficiency projects. The team also attends conferences to share and learn best practices.