World Environment Day and a Means to Find Sustainable Balance

When is World Environment Day held?

  • World Environment Day is held each year on the 5th of June.
  • This year, World Environment Day falls on a Monday (June 5, 2023).

In this blog, we will look into the significance of World Environment Day and how the pH scale can be used as a didactic means of critical thinking (i.e., as a means to help us understand at a high level what might be accomplished within facilities, in terms of their sustainability).

Purpose of World Environment Day

  • World Environment Day serves as a platform to raise awareness about pressing environmental issues.
  • It’s the largest global platform for environmental public outreach in the world, according to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

World Environment Day provides a timely reminder of the importance of holistic well-being and the interconnection between individual, community, and planetary health.

Excerpt from the World Health Organisation on population health and climate change: “There is a close and complex relationship between health, health security and our changing environment. Limiting the impact of climate change is about saving lives and livelihoods, as much as it is about protecting the natural environment.”

History of World Environment Day

  • Every year on the 5th of June, millions of people across the globe celebrate “World Environment Day”, an annual event dedicated to raising awareness of global health and well-being.
  • World Environment Day helps to remind us of our impact (individually, and as corporations) on the environment, reminding us that environmental changes are ultimately linked to:
    • Public health outcomes
    • Community well-being
    • Longer-term sustainability and survival

Who originated World Environment Day?

  • World Environment Day is a vital initiative established during a 1972 UNEP conference in Stockholm.
  • The first World Environment Day was held on June 5th, 1973 with the slogan & theme of “One Earth Only”
  • June 5th, 2023 marks the 50th year anniversary of this important event.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) also helps raise awareness about the impact of climate conditions/the environment on health.

What is the theme of World Environment Day (June 5, 2023)?

  • This year (2023), World Environment Day is being hosted by Côte d’Ivoire (the Ivory Coast), a West African country, in partnership with the Netherlands.
  • The theme of the June 5th, 2023 World Environment Day is on preventing plastic pollution (and on finding novel solutions to plastic pollution).

Join PharmOut as we commemorate World Environment Day.

PharmOut is a Climate Active Network Member.

Let us explore the concept of sustainability through the lens of the pH scale metaphor.

  • As architects and engineers, we routinely use concepts of critical thinking to help stakeholders visualise the strategies of the execution and operation of a built form.
  • In doing so, we support the communication of valuable sustainability discussions across a common platform.


The life sciences pH scale as a metaphor

By applying the metaphor of the pH scale in the understanding of life sciences, traditionally associated with acidity and alkalinity, we can gain insights into achieving (the balance of) sustainability in various aspects of the construction and operation of pharmaceutical facilities.

Just as the pH scale measures the balance between two ends of a spectrum, we can leverage this concept to evaluate decisions and strive for optimal outcomes. In other words, the visualisation of the pH scale can be universally applied as a useful tool or technique within decision-making processes, highlighting the importance of finding a balanced approach, while also emphasising the importance of the role of data collection and analysis in enabling this approach.



World Environment Day and “Global Health” Initiatives


World Environment Day is held on June 5th each year.

The pH Scale: A Metaphor for Considering Sustainable Balance

  • The pH scale, known for measuring acidity and alkalinity, can metaphorically guide a fundamental understanding of sustainability.
  • Just as the pH scale represents a spectrum from acid to base, sustainability encompasses finding the right balance in various domains of life.

Here are four examples for consideration:

 1. Environmental Sustainability: Striking the Ideal Balance

Environmental sustainability plays a crucial role in ensuring the health and well-being of our planet. Applying the pH scale metaphor, we can envision one end of the spectrum representing ecological harm, such as excessive pollution and resource depletion. On the other end, we find extreme conservation, potentially hindering societal progress.

Achieving sustainability involves striking a balance between responsible resource management, reducing environmental impact, and supporting socio-economic development for present and future generations.


2. Sustainable Development: Balancing Social and Economic Aspects

Sustainable development encompasses a harmonious relationship between social progress, economic growth, and environmental stewardship. On one end of the spectrum, there may be uncontrolled economic activities leading to social inequalities and ecological degradation.

On the other end, an exclusive focus on social and environmental aspects without economic viability can hinder progress. Striving for sustainability requires finding a balanced approach, where economic growth is pursued alongside social inclusivity and environmental preservation.



3. Personal Well-being: Achieving the Balance

Sustainability extends to personal well-being, emphasizing the balance between physical, mental, and emotional health. The pH scale metaphor can represent the spectrum from neglecting self-care and experiencing burnout to becoming overly self-indulgent and neglecting responsibility. Striking a balance involves prioritizing self-care, fostering resilience, and engaging in activities that promote both personal and collective well-being.




4. Global Health Equity: Finding the Equilibrium

Sustainability in healthcare encompasses ensuring equitable access to quality healthcare services for all individuals. Applying the pH scale metaphor, we can view one end of the spectrum as inadequate healthcare systems and lack of accessibility, leading to disparities. On the other end, excessively prioritising individual needs, without considering the collective well-being, can hinder progress towards global health equity. Striving for sustainable health requires finding equilibrium, where health systems are strengthened, and healthcare is accessible, affordable, and of high quality for everyone.



Example: Passivhaus®

Passivhaus® assessments can be somewhat likened to a pH scale, where different levels represent the energy efficiency and performance of a building. Just as the pH scale measures the acidity or alkalinity of a substance, Passivhaus assessments measure the energy efficiency and sustainability of a building project.


In this metaphor, a Passivhaus assessment assigns a rating to a building based on its energy performance and adherence to specific criteria. The scale ranges from Passivhaus Classic to Passivhaus Premium, with each level indicating different degrees of energy efficiency.

Examples of Passivhaus® assessments and architectural/building projects

A building project that meets the requirements for Passivhaus Classic can be compared to a substance with a neutral pH level of 7. It represents a project that has achieved a high level of energy efficiency and reduced energy consumption. These buildings typically have excellent insulation, airtightness, and a well-designed ventilation system, resulting in minimal heating or cooling requirements.

Moving up the scale, a building project that achieves Passivhaus Plus could be compared to a slightly alkaline substance on the pH scale. It represents a project that not only meets the Passivhaus Classic standards but also generates a surplus of renewable energy on-site. These buildings often incorporate solar panels, geothermal systems, or other renewable energy sources, making them net energy producers.

At the highest level, a building project that reaches Passivhaus Premium can be likened to a highly alkaline substance on the pH scale. It represents a project that surpasses the requirements of Passivhaus Plus and achieves an exceptional level of energy efficiency. These buildings demonstrate cutting-edge technology and innovative design strategies, often reaching near-zero or even zero energy consumption. They may incorporate advanced insulation materials, triple-glazed windows, and highly efficient ventilation systems.

The metaphor of the pH scale helps us understand how Passivhaus assessments provide a clear indication of a building’s energy efficiency and performance according to a (highly simplified of course) linear scale. It enables stakeholders to evaluate the energy-saving potential, reduce carbon footprint, and strive for higher levels of energy efficiency, just as one might aim to achieve a more alkaline pH level on the scale.


Performance Data (Efficiency Performance Metrics)

With the above examples, one can see how such metrics can quickly dial into a representative kind of ‘dashboard’ of performance, utilising the performance data.

Further, consider (metaphorically) that the outcome ‘signature’ might in fact begin to define the relative (collective) position statements of an organisation as a kind of graphic equalisation over a range of various structural frequencies:



The Importance of Harnessing Data for Informed Decision Making

  •  To properly understand, engage with, and recognise the innate value of balance within the above examples (and truly achieve a sustainable balance), the collection and analysis of relevant data are of paramount importance.
  • Within the context of Pharma 4.0®, data serves as a powerful tool for:
    • Understanding the current state of affairs
    • Identifying trends
    • Informing requisite decision-making processes

Data for Informed Decision-Making

There are 4 key considerations in harnessing data for informed decision-making:

  1. Real-time Data for Dynamic Sustainability: Real-time data allows us to monitor evolving situations, respond promptly to changes, and adapt sustainability strategies accordingly. It provides valuable insights into the effectiveness of initiatives and helps identify areas that require attention.
  2. Historical Data for Contextual Analysis: In conjunction with real-time data, historical data provides essential context and benchmarks for analyzing progress, measuring impact, and identifying long-term trends. It enables us to evaluate the effectiveness of past sustainability efforts and informs future actions.
  3. Data-Driven Solutions for Health and Well-being: Collecting and analysing health-related data can lead to data-driven solutions that address specific health challenges. From identifying disease patterns to monitoring the efficacy of interventions, data empowers decision-makers to make informed choices and allocate resources effectively.
  4. Sustainable Practices through Data Analysis: Data collection and analysis play a vital role in identifying sustainable practices, measuring their impact, and promoting continuous improvement. By leveraging data, organisations, communities, and individuals can make informed decisions that contribute to a sustainable future.

Reminder: data integrity assurances, data governance measures, and relevant data integrity compliance legislation/GMP rules must be met.


As we celebrate World Environment Day on June 5th, let us embrace a (rather simplistic of course) metaphor of the pH scale as a mechanism to deepen our understanding of the complexity of sustainability. By striving for balance in environmental conservation, sustainable development, personal well-being, and global health equity, we can pave the way for a healthier and more sustainable future.

World Environment Day serves as a reminder of our collective responsibility to foster a balanced approach to ensure the well-being of individuals, communities, and our planet.

So, on this World Environment Day – together – let us (continue to) embark on a journey towards sustainability, recognising the interconnectedness of our actions and the importance of finding equilibrium in the practical application of regulatory understanding.

By applying the pH scale metaphor in our pursuit of sustainable balance, we collectively contribute to a healthier, more equitable, and sustainable world for generations to come.

So, what’s your pH level…?


Note: PharmOut is a carbon-neutral practice & Climate Active Network Member.

Reaffirming our commitment as a sustainable global consultancy practice in the life sciences sectors, PharmOut is a carbon-neutral practice.


Resources for World Environment Day

Read other blogs on sustainability and GMP industry news.

VIDEO: Synopsis of the UNEP conference (1972) where World Environment Day originated

2023 World Environment Day theme – #beattheplastic 

Further Reading

UNEP – 50 years of environmental protection activities

WHO – Environmental Health & Public Health – World Health Organisation articles

Climate Change: A Public Health Crisis