Elevating Energy Efficiency and Sustainability in the Pharmaceutical Industry

31 August 2023 | Thursday | News

BioPharma APAC speaks with Jackson Seng, Vice President, Business Development and Strategy, East Asia, Schneider Electric
Jackson Seng, Vice President, Business Development and Strategy, East Asia, Schneider Electric.

Jackson Seng, Vice President, Business Development and Strategy, East Asia, Schneider Electric.

Explore an in-depth conversation with Jackson Seng as he sheds light on the successful partnership between Schneider Electric and Takeda, leading to the establishment of the first positive energy building in Takeda's manufacturing network. Discover the strategies, technologies, and innovations that have driven this remarkable achievement and their broader implications for energy efficiency and sustainability in the pharmaceutical industry.

Interview by BioPharma APAC



Takeda's partnership with Schneider Electric has resulted in the successful establishment of the first positive energy building in its manufacturing network. Could you elaborate on the specific digital transformation initiatives and energy management strategies that enabled this achievement?

The Schneider Electric Group is built as one operating model to both deliver simplicity benefits to customers and significant advantages in attracting talents, scaling deployment, as well as bringing simplicity and cost efficiency, especially region by region. Schneider Electric helps customers meet their risk and sourcing challenges through a holistic and strategic approach, thereby paving the way for cost-effective and sustainable operations.

When global biopharmaceutical company Takeda invested in its production site in Singapore, it needed an advanced building management system and an energy-consumption monitoring system for its changes implemented at the manufacturing support building. 

Decarbonisation is a pressing concern for industries worldwide. Could you provide insights into how Takeda's

new manufacturing support building. As part of Takeda’s goals of meeting its net-zero goals, while growing business capabilities to meet increasing supply demands of the healthcare industry, Takeda partnered with Schneider Electric to leverage its expertise in bringing together energy and automation to achieve power and process efficiency. This was demonstrated through the incorporation of Schneider Electric’s state-of-the-art energy management solutions in Takeda’s manufacturing support building in Singapore.

Drawing upon Schneider Electric's industry knowledge and expertise, Takeda implemented EcoStruxure Building, a collaborative Internet of Things (IoT) platform comprising solutions like EcoStruxure Building Operation, EcoStruxure Power Monitoring Expert, and AVEVA System Platform. This deployment aimed to enhance building efficiency, optimise staff comfort and productivity, and augment building value.

Schneider Electric's EcoStruxure Building Operation supplies insights, control, and management of diverse building systems and devices in a unified, mobile-enabled, user-friendly interface. It gathers and evaluates valuable data to aid Takeda's operators in making informed decisions to enhance energy management and elevate efficiency for improved building performance and comfort.

Takeda also utilises EcoStruxure Power Monitoring Expert to assist its manufacturing support building in maximising uptime and operational efficiency. Schneider Electric’s solutions are connected from every end point – on the shop floor, in the infrastructure, and in the cloud. Schneider Electric’s connectable products collect data, which are then processed at edge or in the cloud. Leveraging data provided by EcoStruxure Building Operation, Power Monitoring Expert identifies trends and monitors system capacity to forecast evolving energy consumption levels, set energy efficiency benchmarks, and automatically regulate power usage across lighting and cooling systems. This not only reduces energy consumption but also ensures occupant comfort and productivity.

Next, Takeda introduced creative strategies for its building’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) functions, such as CO2 sensors and load monitoring. The scalable automation control facilitated by these controllers allows the air-conditioning systems to regulate fresh air intake and improve ventilation when CO2 levels rise, allowing for increased levels of comfort for occupiers of the building. Sensors are also deployed to ensure energy is utilised prudently. Lights, for example, are automatically switched off if sensors detect the absence of human activity in the monitored areas.

Lastly, Schneider Electric deployed AVEVA System Platform to enhance communication processes and enable Takeda to maintain a comprehensive understanding of all operations, swiftly and effectively addressing any irregularities.

As a result of these digital solutions, Takeda was able to have the first positive energy building – with a 15% energy surplus – in Takeda’s manufacturing network, and in Singapore’s pharmaceutical industry. Staff have also testified to having a safer and more comfortable work environment due to the

Decarbonisation is a pressing concern for industries worldwide. Could you provide insights into how Takeda's positive energy building serves as a model for digitising and modernising Singapore's life sciences and pharmaceutical sectors, ultimately contributing to sustainability goals?

Takeda’s partnership with Schneider Electric is a testament to how the usage of buildings and its operations can play a vital role in advancing a company’s decarbonisation efforts. Digital installations within Takeda’s building have allowed it to increase efficiencies while concurrently utilising fewer resources. With Singapore positioned as a global hub for medical innovation, it is pivotal that the industry takes active steps to decarbonise effectively while ensuring the continued production of potentially life-saving biopharmaceutical innovations.

Buildings  – including the ones which form the iconic skylines of the region – account for 24% of energy-related carbon emissions in ASEAN, China, and India alone. It has been further posited that in the pharmaceutical industry, cleanrooms, consume up to 15 times more energy than commercial building systems.

Closer to home, buildings account for over 20% of Singapore’s carbon emissions. The government also announced in 2021 its Green Building Masterplan to green 80% of its buildings (by gross floor area) by 2030; ensure 80% of new developments are Super Low Energy buildings from 2030; and achieve an 80% improvement in energy efficiency for best-in-class buildings by 2030.

 However, in a survey conducted by Schneider Electric, it was found that the Singapore landscape is characterised by many only having a general understanding of green buildings and their use, resulting in low levels of adoption. In fact, only 12% of respondents note that all their operations utilise green buildings. 

The world is now less than 30 years away from having to achieve the net-zero goals set out by the Paris Agreement. Energy demand in the region has and will continue to increase significantly in the years to come, and this will be demonstrated through output coming from the countless buildings and built infrastructure in the region. To keep up with this rapid expansion and facilitate the sustainable growth of the region, green reforms will be needed in the built environment sector to make the industry more sustainable as a whole, and energy conserving technologies will be instrumental to creating buildings that are fit for the future.

"Adaptive plants" has been mentioned as a pathway toward future-ready and autonomous facilities. Can you explain what this concept entails and share examples of how it could revolutionise the biopharmaceutical industry's approach to energy efficiency and carbon reduction?

Adaptive plants are plants of the future that feature autonomous, self-optimising, and end-to-end plug and play capabilities. Unlike its predecessors such as predictive plants and connected plants which are characterised by enterprise integration and vertical integration respectively, adaptive plants feature end-to-end value chain integration. This allows the plant to operate largely autonomously, adapting to changing conditions in the business landscape to ensure an always-on system, with zero down time.  

In the biopharmaceutical industry, where production disruptions can have significant financial and operational consequences, maintaining continuous production is crucial. Adaptive plants can dynamically adjust to fluctuations in demand, supply chain disruptions, and equipment failures, ensuring uninterrupted production.

Similarly, self-optimising capabilities of an adaptive plant extends to resource management as well. This is particularly advantageous in industries that require precise resource allocation, such as biopharmaceuticals, where raw materials, energy, and equipment need to be used efficiently. By adapting resource allocation in response to real-time data, adaptive plants help reduce waste and optimise costs.

Singapore has positioned itself as a global biopharmaceutical hub due to its strategic location, robust infrastructure, skilled workforce, and strong regulatory environment. The introduction of adaptive plants aligns perfectly with Singapore's goal of fostering innovation and excellence in the biopharmaceutical sector. By embracing these advanced manufacturing technologies, Singapore can solidify its position as a leader in biopharmaceutical production and attract further investment. Autonomous, end-to-end integrated, and always-on capabilities ensure efficient and reliable production while enhancing Singapore's competitive edge in the global biopharmaceutical market.

Supply chain decarbonisation, particularly addressing Scope 3 emissions, is a significant challenge. Could you outline the major obstacles faced by the pharmaceutical industry in this regard and shed light on innovative strategies that Takeda and Schneider Electric are employing to overcome these hurdles?

Takeda's involvement in Schneider Electric's Energize program highlights the importance of collaborative efforts in achieving sustainability goals. Could you elaborate on how this partnership empowers Takeda to address its Scope 3 emissions and integrate renewable energy opportunities into its operations?

Tackling Scope 3 emissions is a significant challenge as it can actually account for a sizable portion of a company’s carbon footprint. In fact, a study of over 8,000 suppliers has found that Scope 3 emissions can be 11.4 times higher than operational emissions.

One significant hurdle in tackling Scope 3 emissions in the biopharmaceutical industry revolves around the extensive and diverse network of suppliers that biopharmaceutical companies rely on for raw materials, components, and services. The complex web of suppliers often spans multiple regions and countries, making it challenging to collect accurate data on emissions associated with each supplier's operations. This lack of transparency also hampers efforts to measure, track, and manage Scope 3 emissions effectively.

Further, the biopharmaceutical industry is highly regulated due to the critical nature of its products. Stringent quality control, safety standards, and regulatory requirements can limit the flexibility to switch suppliers or adopt alternative materials that might have lower emissions. This regulatory environment makes it difficult to make swift changes in the supply chain to reduce emissions, as any alteration could potentially impact product quality, safety, and efficacy.

To address Scope 3 emissions, Takeda joined Schneider Electric’s Energize program as one of its founding sponsors to accelerate the adoption of renewable energy and drive action on supply-chain emissions within the pharmaceutical sector. Schneider Electric invited Takeda’s suppliers to attend a series of curated educational webinars, provided them with advice and access to renewable energy opportunities, and offered guidance on power purchase agreements (PPAs). By inviting Takeda's suppliers to educational webinars and facilitating access to renewable energy solutions and power purchase agreements, the collaboration creates a ripple effect, encouraging suppliers to adopt sustainable practices, utilise renewable energy, and collectively drive down emissions across the biopharmaceutical supply chain.

Initiating a net-zero journey requires comprehensive planning. Can you provide guidance to other pharmaceutical companies looking to embark on a similar path? What are the key components of a realistic and achievable supply chain decarbonisation framework?

It is encouraging to see business leaders willing to take on strong accountability for decarbonisation, but creating and putting into practice a decarbonisation strategy can be a complex and daunting process.

Based on a Schneider Electric study involving 500 business leaders in Singapore, we found that this is attributable to a variety of factors including knowledge gaps and stakeholder confusion, and the high-pressure environment of boardrooms that has affected results. For example, less than half (48%) of respondents noted that their leadership team has a strong understanding of decarbonisation and the steps required to embark on a decarbonisation journey. Further, three quarters (75%) believe that their organisation was rushed to set decarbonisation targets too quickly, while 86% also face pressure from internal stakeholders based outside of Singapore.

A key consideration therefore in creating effective decarbonisation targets is to make sure organisations have their stakeholder buy-ins as the tone for decarbonisation is often set from the top. This is why tying remuneration to meeting decarbonisation targets can be a strong driver in helping anchor decarbonisation goals that, while ambitious, are achievable.

In addition, the role of public-private partnerships cannot be further underscored. It has been encouraging that governments across the region are doubling down on various decarbonisation goals and are working in tandem with the private sector to create platforms and avenues to increase the accessibility of actualising decarbonisation strategies.

Business leaders will finally also need to reconcile with the reality that we already have the solutions and technology needed today to help in the journey towards decarbonisation. What matters is that companies act immediately and progressively to incorporate these technologies into their operations, rather than wait for the ‘perfect’ green technology to appear.

The concept of "Electricity 4.0" holds promise for greening and enhancing efficiency in the life sciences and pharmaceutical industries. Could you elaborate on how this concept contributes to sustainability objectives within the Singaporean context and share any notable success stories?

Electricity 4.0 aims to transform the way electricity is generated, distributed, and consumed by incorporating digital technologies and advanced data analytics. Electricity 4.0 envisions a more decentralised, intelligent, and efficient electricity system that supports the transition to renewable energy sources, enhances energy efficiency, and enables the integration of various sectors.


With Singapore positioned as a global hub for the life sciences and pharmaceutical industries, Electricity 4.0 holds great potential for advancing sustainability and efficiency. For example, Singapore has been committed to investing in renewable energy technologies and importing renewable energy from neighbouring markets. This is because assimilating renewable energy into the power grid enables the life sciences and pharmaceutical sectors to curtail their carbon footprint and reduce reliance on fossil fuels, aligning with Singapore's environmental goals.


Moreover, by tapping on data-driven insights and delving into patterns of energy consumption, equipment performance, and operational inefficiencies, the life sciences and pharmaceutical sectors can unearth opportunities for energy conservation, streamline workflows, and bolster overall operational efficacy. The integration of predictive maintenance, enabled by data analytics, can substantially reduce downtime for critical equipment, thus ensuring the uninterrupted flow of production processes.


Singapore's role as a global hub for the life sciences and pharmaceutical industries presents a fertile ground for collaboration and innovation. The convergence of Electricity 4.0 technologies with the expertise of these sectors can yield pioneering solutions that address energy challenges while advancing research, development, and manufacturing capabilities.



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