Hoffmann-La Roche – Zero-Waste Decommissioning Project

Hoffmann-La Roche


This project arose out of a business decision to relocate the Hoffmann-La Roche Canadian headquarters (Roche Canada) in Mississauga, Ontario, due to the growth in the business and need to accommodate approximately 200 additional employees.

Through the sale of the old building, the purchaser did not want any of the existing furniture or warehouse racking.  Roche Canada saw this as an opportunity to showcase their commitment to environmental sustainability and take responsible action to manage the building decommission in order to recycle and repurpose as much as possible.

Roche Canada partnered with CSR Eco Solutions, an asset redeployment firm, to participate in the project, lending expertise not only in determining what materials could be reused and recycled, but on how to do so while maximizing contributions to local charities.  During the collaboration, they were able to repurpose, reuse, or recycle upwards of 95

percent of the designated materials from the old building, amounting to over 200 tons of office furniture, equipment and office supplies kept out of landfill.  Through the project, Roche Canada also limited their carbon footprint by supporting over 30 charities and organizations within a 100 km radius of the old building.

Corporate Commitment to Sustainability:

Roche Canada has a long standing commitment to sustainability.  Through their vendor collaborations, and annual waste audits by the Environmental Advisory Group (EAG), Roche Canada’s waste diversion rates have increased over 60 percent in the last ten years.

In 2013 Roche Canada made a corporate commitment to reduce waste to landfill with a vision to create a Zero Waste to Landfill mindset in 2014 for their Canadian headquarters.

Roche Canada also hopes to pursue LEED Silver (Existing Buildings & Management) certification for their new site in the future, which already has many sustainable features, including a Lutron light harvesting system (utilizes natural light), building upgrades for energy efficiency, a CFC-HCFC ozone-friendly cooling system, and a variety of waste diversion options for employees, including compost, recycling, battery and pen collection. Additionally, several products and furniture pieces at the new building were purchased locally, made from reclaimed wood or are low VOC to maximize indoor air quality.

The Zero Waste to Landfill mindset continued into 2014 through a Corporate Goal, supported by the executive team, with a Campaign in June including a Lunch & Learn, awareness booths and posters educating employees on waste streams and opportunities.

Project Approach:

The decommissioning of the old building took place over a six month period with the peak activity taking place between the time the employees moved out of the building early October and the sale closing date of November 30, 2013.

Being a 200,000 square foot facility, Roche had to dispose of cubicle panels, desks, cabinets, chairs, racking, binders, paper, and residual waste.

Roche Canada hosted employee “Purge Days” long before the move to dispose of as much unneeded material as possible, which was later sorted to identify recyclable and reusable materials.

In conjunction with the purge days, Roche sponsored a free lunch for the employees and decorated coffee stations with balloons and treats to generate excitement and motivation.


Over the course of the decommissioning, CSR Eco Solutions was able to divert over 200 tons of designated materials from landfill, benefiting over 30 charities and other organizations, showcasing an incredible diversion rate over 95 percent of designated assets. The environmental savings from this portion of the decommission are equivalent to:

  • 58,000 gallons of gasoline not consumed
  • 13,000 tree seedlings sequestering carbon
  • 2 million kilometers NOT traveled by delivery trucks
  • 520 CO2 equivalent tons avoided
  • 426 acres of forest sequestering carbon.
  • Homes electricity use for one year – 72

Approximated assets:

  • 1085 Chairs
  • 797 Bookcases
  • 321 Desks/tables
  • 515 Workstations
  • 324 LCD Monitors
  • Plus warehouse racking and residual stationary

This project is an example of environmental and social stewardship, and how large companies can make a powerful difference in their communities, which will hopefully serve to inspire other companies to consider waste diversion and asset recovery when executing their own relocation or decommissioning projects.

Special Thanks:

The main external vendor that was involved was CSR Eco Solutions, a company that offers community driven solutions for global companies, governmental institutions and healthcare facilities with redundant assets.  Dan Leal, President & CEO, leant his expertise to the project, making himself available to answer questions about assets and offer advice on the best diversion options.

A key vendor who also collaborated with Roche Canada is Environmental Advisory Group (EAG), a multidisciplinary environmental consulting firm with specific expertise in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries.  For ten years, Lisa James, CEO, has provided environmental services to Roche Canada including waste audits, packaging assessments and support of Canadian stewardship compliance programs.

Although the project was led by the Roche Canada Corporate Services Department, the success of the move and decommission was primarily due to the dedication and collaboration of all employees and management.  Special thanks is given to everyone who participated and support Roche Canada’s continued commitment to waste management and sustainability.