How do we reduce waste and create sustainable consumption worldwide?


Lead2030 Challenge for SDG 12 Supported by Bristol Myers Squibb


How do we reduce waste and create sustainable consumption worldwide?


At Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS), we work every day to transform patients’ lives through science. We combine the agility of a biotech with the reach and resources of an established pharmaceutical company to create a global leading biopharma company powered by talented individuals who drive scientific innovation. With this, we are well on track with our mission to discover, develop, and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases. As global citizens, we also work sustainably and responsibly to create a positive impact in the communities where we live and work.

It is estimated that globally 2 billion metric tons of waste is produced each year and that is projected to rise 70% by the year 2050 to 3.4 billion metric tons. About 8 million metric tons of plastic are dumped in the ocean each year and this is on the rise. Worldwide, 40 million tons of electronic waste is generated each year. This pollution is impacting not only our planetary health, but also human health. Pollution contributed to approximately 9 million premature deaths in 2019. Without immediate action, these values are expected to rise. Areas with weak health infrastructure, mostly in developing countries and marginalized communities in developed countries, will be least able to prepare and respond.

In keeping with our long-standing commitments to environmental responsibility, Bristol Myers Squibb has established robust, long-term environmental goals which include 100% of purchased electricity be obtained from renewable sources by 2030, achieving net neutrality on direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions by 2040, and reaching a target of zero waste to landfill by 2040.

To achieve our zero waste to landfill commitment, we actively engage our workforce through multiple company-wide initiatives to reduce waste production, ensure proper waste disposal, and enhance reuse and recycling. Some of these programs include:

  • Bristol Myers Squibb is committed to having all obsolete office equipment recycled or refurbished. In 2020, this program kept 129 metric tons of e-waste out of landfills. In addition, 80% of lab equipment no longer in use is recycled or reused, through redeployment within the company, auction sales or donation to non-profits.
  • The Green Chemistry program partnered with the Scripps Research Institute to develop a sustainable way to produce a raw material needed in drug discovery and development through the use of citrus peels. This new process uses less material and reduces harmful waste products during the synthesis.
  • The Cultivating Leadership in Millennials and Beyond (CLIMB) people and business resource group works to educate employees on the importance of sustainability and reducing their environmental impact within the workplace and at home. They are a leading partner in organizing Earth Day events and running sustainability challenges for employees throughout the year. They organize volunteering events, such as harvesting fresh produce to donate to communities in need with the organization Grow-a-Row. CLIMB also brings invited guest speakers to educate the Bristol Myers Squibb community on sustainable practices.

As a leading biopharma company, Bristol Myers Squibb is committed to improving the health of the communities where we live, work, and serve. Sustainable Development Goal 12 aims to ensure sustainable consumption and production. Specifically sub target 12.5, which is to reduce waste production through prevention, reduction, recycling, and reuse.

Bristol Myers Squibb is proud to support the Lead 2030 Challenge for SDG 12. As a company, we believe in investing and developing the next generation of leaders working to find innovative solutions to protect people and the planet. In supporting SDG 12, we are seeking to reduce waste and the release of toxins into the environment which will ultimately improve health outcomes. 

This challenge welcomes solutions from young innovators that include interventions such as:

  • Projects that demonstrate a strong focus on the link between waste and health/health equity will be prioritised.
  • Removing barriers for access to recycling or reuse programs for individuals or companies.
  • Educating the government, employers, academic institutions, and/or community members on the business case for waste reduction, recycling and reuse and the connection to health/health equity.
  • Preventing food waste and food loss along the food supply chain from post-harvest to the retail and consumer level.
  • Reducing the release of harmful chemicals and toxins through e-waste recycling and reuse.


This opportunity has now closed. 


References used: 

United Nations Environment Programme: 'Ensuring Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns'

SDG Tracker: 'Ensure Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns'

SDG12: Responsible consumption and production 

UN Stats: Global indicator framework for the Sustainable Development Goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development 

The Lancet: Pollution and Health: A Progress Update 

Challenge crtieria


Aligned: Evidently aligned with the SDG12 challenge. See ‘About'.

Youth-led: Founded by a person aged 18 – 30.

Focused: Well-structured time horizon, identified key stakeholders and beneficiaries, and proposed outcomes that are reasonable and well thought out.

Proven: Solution is readily available, being piloted, implemented, or scaled

Impactful: Solutions must have a positive social impact, for example, generating educational outcomes, employment opportunities, or developing skills.

Measurable: Solution’s impact in society must be adequately measured and/or be measurable.

Financially viable: Must be able to achieve efficiency and to survive independently through the resources they generate and/or the investments and donations they attract.

Scalable: Potential to grow impact after expanding in scope or size and/or into other regions.



The winning solution will receive:

  • Sponsorship to participate in the One Young World Summit 2023
  • A US$50,000 grant from Bristol Myers Squibb
  • 12 months of mentorship from a team of Bristol Myers Squibb professionals and partners. The mentorship team will work to accelerate your solution based on the needs of your initiative or organisation, such as:
    • Business strategy
    • Best practices for data collection
    • Monitoring and evaluation
    • Product design


  • 31 January 2023: Applications close.
  • 15 February 2023: Shortlisted candidates confirmed and invited to submit second round application.
  • 8 March 2023: Second round application deadline.
  • 29 March - 12 April 2023: Candidate interviews.
  • 17 April 2023: Challenge Winner confirmed.

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