Our Commitment to the Planet: Meet Ellen de Petter, Scientist in Medicinal Chemistry

Following the launch of our Sustainability strategy, we are sharing a series of employee testimonials zooming-in and focusing on each of our four Sustainability pillars: Patients, our People, Planet and Trust & Transparency.

At Galapagos, we encourage our employees to daily embrace the principles behind our Sustainability pillars, and act as ambassadors for our company and values. Today, we are pleased to spotlight our vision for Galapagos and the Green Teams’ key role specifically, in an interview with Ellen de Petter, Scientist in Medicinal Chemistry, based in Mechelen, Belgium.

As a Scientist in Medicinal Chemistry, what’s your typical day like?

E: My typical day starts with an invigorating 15-20 minute bike ride to work, a small act that not only kickstarts my day with a burst of energy but also allows me to contribute to a greener world by reducing my carbon footprint.

Once in the lab, my passion for chemistry takes over. Every day, my goal is to synthesize the perfect chemical compounds that will later undergo rigorous screening in biological assays. It’s a rewarding process, filled with excitement and anticipation as I work towards breakthrough discoveries that could potentially save lives.

But my role extends beyond the confines of the lab. I proudly wear another hat as the leader of the Green Chemistry Team, a network of enthusiastic colleagues within the Chemistry department who share a common vision of making our labs environmentally sustainable. Together, we unleash our collective energy and creativity to brainstorm ideas that range from small, everyday habits to ambitious local initiatives.

For instance, within our department, we are working towards increasing the use of recycled raw materials that are less toxic or that have lower impact on the environment. Since last year, our discussions have expanded beyond the walls of our department, as we aim to find ways to reduce Galapagos’ global environmental footprint.

What does ‘Sustainability’ mean to you?

E: It’s a call to action that resonates deeply. It means acknowledging the profound impact of our choices and striving to find innovative processes that minimize harm to the planet. It’s about recognizing the urgency to conserve Earth’s resources and seek renewable alternatives. Sustainability is our chance to make a tangible difference in the world, preserving it for future generations.

Why do you think our Planet Pillar is key to Galapagos’ Sustainability strategy?

E: Our Planet Pillar is pivotal to our mission. It embodies our commitment to minimizing our environmental impact and confronting the challenges of climate change head-on. By adopting this strategy, we aspire to create a positive ripple effect in the environment we operate in. We believe that the health of the planet and the well-being of its people are intrinsically connected, and through our sustainability efforts, we aim to safeguard both.

How are you driving change to support Sustainability and our 2028 Ambitions?

E: As a passionate advocate for Sustainability, I endeavor to drive change within the chemistry department. I passionately communicate the message that each one of us can play an active role in preserving the environment and its precious resources. Many of my colleagues are aware of the importance of , but they may not know where to begin or what alternative choices are available.

Being a part of the Green Team fills me with joy and a sense of purpose. It provides a platform to tap into the entrepreneurial spirit of my colleagues, as we collectively strive to reduce our environmental footprint. We continuously develop initiatives to utilize energy, water, and raw materials efficiently, while also reducing waste and greenhouse gas emissions.

One of our primary focuses is reducing the environmental impact of our employees in the workplace. We encourage sustainable commuting alternatives, embrace paperless practices, support local food consumption, and share energy-saving tips. What sets Galapagos apart is the unwavering support from management and all our colleagues across the group. It’s an environment where ideas and initiatives are valued, fostering a sense of collaboration and empowerment.

In the end, I find immense fulfillment in knowing that I am contributing to something greater than myself. Each day, I strive to ignite a spark of change, inspiring others to join the movement towards a more sustainable future. Together, we can make a lasting impact, ensuring that Galapagos and the world we inhabit thrive for years to come.

We all need to contribute!

We’re so proud of colleagues like Ellen and her work to promote a Sustainability mindset across the company. Stay tuned for more testimonials from our colleagues!

More on Sustainability at Galapagos

Have a look at our Sustainability section

Work with us

Feeling inspired? Want to work with us to add years of life and quality of life for patients around the world?
Have a look at our job opportunities on workatgalapagos.com, and find your purpose!