Improved iGAL 2.0 Metric Empowers Pharmaceutical Scientists to Make Meaningful Contributions to United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 12

Frank Roschangar*, Jun Li, Yanyan Zhou, Wim Aelterman, Alina Borovika, Juan Colberg, David P. Dickson, Fabrice Gallou, Roger A. Sheldon, More Authors

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)
140 Downloads (Pure)


The large and steadily growing demand for medicines combined with their inherent resource-intensive manufacturing necessitates a relentless push for their sustainable production. Pharmaceutical companies are constantly seeking to perform reliable life cycle assessments of their medicinal products and assess the true value of their sustainable development achievements; however, they find themselves impeded by the lack of a universal metric system that allows for objective quantification of the underlying core denominators. Guided by the unambivalent purpose of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 12, which aims at substantially reducing production waste by 2030, and driven by a vision to catalyze greener active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) manufacturing around the globe, the authors set out to overcome current obstacles by defining an improved model for the metric named innovation green aspiration level, iGAL 2.0. We propose yield and convergence as new key sustainability indicators and include a new formula for convergence with potential applicability in computer assisted synthesis planning (CASP) algorithms. The improved statistical model of iGAL 2.0 represents a valuable extension to the common API process waste metrics, process mass intensity (PMI) and complete E factor (cEF), by putting those measures into perspective: iGAL 2.0 enables determination of relative process greenness (RPG) to identify potentially underperforming and environmentally concerning processes early and thereby deliver environmental value. At the same time, iGAL 2.0 generates economic value since reduced waste correlates to lower API production costs. The metric is complemented by its scorecard companion to highlight the impact of innovation on reductions of API manufacturing waste, enabling scientists to readily communicate the value of their work to their peers, managers, and the general public. We believe that iGAL 2.0 can readily be adopted by pharmaceutical firms around the globe and thereby empower and inspire their scientists to make meaningful and significant contributions to global sustainability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5148-5162
Number of pages15
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Active pharmaceutical ingredient (API)
  • Complete E factor (cEF)
  • Computer assisted synthesis planning (CASP)
  • Convergence
  • Green chemistry metrics
  • Innovation green aspiration level (iGAL)
  • Life cycle assessment (LCA)
  • Relative process greenness (RPG)
  • Scorecard
  • United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (UN SDG)


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