Relentlessly pursuing energy, water, and materials efficiencies in using, manufacturing, and delivering our products
Thermo Fisher Scientific is positively shaping the future by providing innovative products and redesigning our processes and facilities in the pursuit of zero waste, maximum carbon productivity, and efficient use of people and technologies.
As is common in this industry, cold-chain shipping of our consumables remains our single greatest environmental challenge. Although we’ve made significant progress in converting products to ship at ambient temperatures while maintaining the same quality and performance, we continue working hard to identify more solutions and opportunities to reduce the impact of shipping our products.
Challenging existing paradigms
Essential to the manufacture of our oligonucleotide products is the solvent acetonitrile (ACN). Due to its flammable nature, the regulated storage quantities of ACN are capped, which limits our ability to scale up the manufacturing processes. In our Pleasanton, California facility we procure thousands of ACN 4-liter glass bottles each year. The hazardous nature of the solvent requires labor-intensive rinsing of the empty glass bottles for recycling.
The team sourced several 205-liter reusable ACN bulk storage tanks and installed a distribution system to pump the solvent on demand. This sourcing change eliminates 7 tons of glass bottles and 5,600 cardboard delivery boxes annually.
Manufacturing sites that are certified Zero Waste
Nine of our sites that manufacture our products have been certified Zero Waste. These sites are in Pleasanton, California; Kingsland Grange, UK; Bleiswijk, The Netherlands; Regensburg, Germany; Warrington UK; Löhne, Germany; Eugene, Oregon; Frederick, Maryland; and Bedford, Massachusetts.
Comprehensive, external audits validated that more than 90% of the non-hazardous waste from these sites now ends up somewhere other than a landfill.
Shifting to a hybrid fleet for our service team to save fuel and CO2
Recognizing an opportunity to reduce gasoline consumption as well as CO2 emissions, our field service and sales teams in Japan decided to begin upgrading the fleet leases from regular to hybrid vehicles. They projected that change would make a significant impact in cutting both their costs and carbon footprint.
The team set out to replace 90% of the 85 fleet vehicles by the end of 2013. The results: by the end of 2012, 68 of the regular vehicles had been replaced with hybrids, saving 457 gallons of fuel per car each year for a total of 31,076 gallons of gasoline annually. Beyond the reduction in fuel consumption, this initiative has reduced CO2 emissions by 200 tons.
Redesigned Auckland manufacturing process boosts production, saves water
Our facility in New Zealand has a longstanding record of environmental stewardship. In their water-intensive serum manufacturing business, water and energy efficiency are key drivers of cost reduction. The site redesigned the manufacturing process to streamline an outdated line and optimize water use.
This has resulted in a 100% utilization rate for the serum produced on the line. Although the plant has since increased production, the site has achieved annual water savings of 8.7 million gallons.
Breaking ground on cleaner energy
Taking an industry-leading step toward grid independence, we have installed clean-energy Bloom Energy fuel cell systems to self-generate power at our Carlsbad manufacturing and distribution center, and our Pleasanton manufacturing facility, both in California.
An uninterruptible power source for the manufacture of these facilities’ products, the technology is reducing our carbon footprint and operating costs, while boosting energy reliability.
Smarter computer sourcing
We source more than 14,000 cartons of computer equipment annually. We noticed that, on many occasions, pallets were reconfigured and then shipped on to other sites. To address this, we optimized our ordering process in a configuration to match the way we use the items.
We also partnered with our supplier to implement a new way of shipping that enables direct shipment to more locations within the company. Instituting this process reduces the time it takes to unload a truck by 87%, increases freight density by 33%, and reduces CO2 emissions by 6 tons each year.
Learn more about Thermo Fisher Scientific business sustainability initiatives.