All in on AI, Environmentally Responsible

Published on: April 29, 2024


Our Head of Environment & Environmental Sustainability, Jose Francisco Vallejo Carrera, explains our responsible AI approach and how we’re ensuring that we balance innovation for patients with care for our planet.
As AI innovation continues to expand at an accelerated rate, it is more important than ever to ensure it is designed and deployed in a way that is sustainable and ensures that innovation benefits are balanced out with its environmental impacts.

Artificial Intelligence is a game-changer with the transformative power to innovate in ways and speeds we did not think previously possible.  
However, this power may come with significant environmental impact on energy, carbon, and water during its lifespan. Stemming from manufacture and training to disposal, including data storage and hardware life cycle. As a global organization, we bear great responsibility in caring for our planet and ensuring that as we go “all in” for AI, we do it responsibly and sustainably, using AI where it makes sense – not everything is a nail for the AI hammer. 

At Sanofi, our dedication to improving people’s lives goes beyond innovations in healthcare. We recognize that climate change is one of the greatest threats to human health. For us, improving people’s lives goes hand-in-hand with preserving the planet.

We know it is our job to address these issues and ensure that whatever innovations we make, they are responsible in the context of planet and climate change.  

©Emeric Fohlen
©Emeric Fohlen

At Sanofi, we address the environmental impacts and opportunities of AI two-fold:  

  • Assessing the environmental impact of our AI programs and proposing mitigations. 
  • Leveraging AI to enhance our product's environmental performance through its manufacture and distribution processes around the world.   

Both play an important part in our journey to meet our Planet Care ambitions towards net zero by 2045 with a carbon neutrality trajectory by 2030, and eco-design for top marketed products by 2030.

Assessing the Environmental Risks of Our AI Systems

We are striving to have a deep understanding of the environmental impacts of AI programs in Sanofi including among others energy, carbon, water, and waste covering all life stages of this process. 

With this knowledge, we plan to formalize a roadmap to address the hot spots and create guidelines to support our teams to learn and understand whether the benefits of an AI system are an environmentally sound decision to make.  

We are starting by developing a tool that supports developers to understand the carbon footprint due to the Graphic Processing Unit (GPU) usage of their AI systems.  

Leveraging AI to Address Our Environmental Impact

AI is a key enabler and lever to help achieve our Planet Care ambitions. By optimizing the use of resources in manufacturing and supply, using digital solutions to track data and make better informed business decision, we can mitigate our environmental impact and accelerate deployment of our environmental sustainability programs.  

The use of AI could also support our ESG external reporting obligations and increases transparency with regulators and investors. 

An In-House Ai-Enabled App for Our Manufacturing Processes

In Manufacturing and Supply, we have developed an in-house AI-enabled app for our manufacturing processes. The app offers invaluable AI-based insights to improve how we use raw materials and resources when manufacturing and distributing life-changing therapies to patients around the world.  

By learning from past and current batch performances to ensure consistently higher yield levels, we can reduce the number of raw materials and resources we use which in turn reduces our environmental impact.  

To go further, our Health, Safety Environment (HSE) teams are working side-by-side with the Digital teams to make AI sustainable which includes a Digital Roadmap that covers:

Product Environmental Profile

AI used with EDDI (Eco-design Digital Intelligence) to improve / accelerate data gathering and data generation to assess product-based environmental hot spots (100% eco-design for all our new products by 2025).

Esg Reporting

Plai / AI used to enhance data generation and analytics, including Scope 3 GHG calculations, to support faster decision-making, external reporting obligations and investors requests.

Eco-Pharmacovigilance Digital Tool

Managing environmental risks in aquatic ecosystems related to the use of our products by patients including improving data collection and processing and modeling of river flow rates.

At Sanofi, we know that our future depends on our actions today. Everyone has a part to play.  Leveraging the power of AI responsibly will ensure a healthy future for our planet and for everyone. Technology does not work unless it works for everyone.  


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