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Interview with Professor Michael A. Popp

 

Professor Popp2

What does sustainability mean to you?

For me, sustainability means designing things in such a way that they are preserved in the long term. To do this, it is necessary to take into account all possible effects of corporate activity. This is not always possible, but it is getting better every day due to a clear orientation. We must be aware that every entrepreneurial action triggers a multitude of effects. It is not possible to define only one objective function and try to optimize it. For example, a decision to research a new active ingredient not only affects the research department and our scientific network, but also the people in fields where the plants grow, the employees at the company’s headquarters who deal with the process in a variety of ways, our scientific advisory board, doctors, pharmacists, patient associations, and in the end the patients. In this environment, there are many considerations to be made and decisions to be taken that serve the long-term goal of taking everyone along and ultimately creating a qualitative progress that will stand the test of time.

Does sustainability stand in contrast to the pursuit of profit?

On the surface, perhaps yes. But if you think about it a little bit, then not at all! We try to align the development of our company with the social framework conditions. At present, this often means additional expenditure in terms of investments and process costs. Thinking about the future is the right thing to do! Anyone who acts in this way will not have to deal with insurmountable frictions at any time. The company that does not think about the future can no longer survive in a society that has developed considerably.

Please give examples.

Gladly! With the construction of our company headquarters in Neumarkt, we have set a clear example of what we understand by sustainable resource management. A building that is completely in harmony with nature. It was built almost entirely in accordance with ecological aspects. During construction, we not only gave importance to energy-saving technology, but also used materials that are harmless and recyclable. No wonder it was given the name “eco-cube.” Our medicinal plants are cultivated worldwide according to recognised sustainability standards. We give particular importance to a fair partnership with the cultivators.

Another example is our sustainable research work, which is based on the goal of tapping the immeasurable potential of herbal active ingredients medically. Here we move one step forward every day. We owe this to our dedicated researchers, our worldwide scientific network and our Phytoneering philosophy, which sets the course for us every day anew.

We cooperate with around 500 leading universities, institutes, and clinics worldwide on long-term basis. In addition to the Bionorica research GmbH, we maintain our own research facility based in Innsbruck. We are currently pursuing a large number of research projects there. Perhaps a third one to finish: We develop our markets sustainably based on competence, trust and transparency. It means we only sell high-quality, effective herbal medicinal products and are always loyal to our customers and suppliers. This has made us respected partners around the world and has been the driving force behind our success. Our healthy growth is a notable example.