The UK firm aims to cut waste in its factories around the world to 30kg for each 1kg of active pharmaceutical ingredient, compared with an average 100kg in 2005.
API is the active compound in medicines to treat or cure disease, from which the final pills or liquids are formulated and packaged for delivery to pharmacies and patients.
GSK vice president for environmental health and safety Jim Hagan told the FT: It was the idea of sustainability that drove the idea. You make an improvement to the environment and you achieve a reduction in costs.
The reductions come through messages including changing and reducing the number of chemical steps required, cutting the volume of solvents, and switching to continuous manufacture of a single drug to remove the wastage involved in stopping, changing and restarting batches of different products.