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Sustainability for the scientific laboratory: Manufacturing practices and products that are preserving our planet Written by Sung-Dae Hong, Vice President and General Manager, Laboratory Equipment Technologies at Thermo Fisher Scientific, and Cristina Amorim, Vice President, Life Sciences Sustainability at Thermo Fisher Scientific.

INTRODUCTION Many prominent businesses across diverse industry sectors have been treating sustainability as an important objective in their strategy and operations. The various benefits that a sustainable business model can offer companies, such as streamlining operations, generating competitive advantages, and reducing total cost of ownership, has made its implementation a business imperative. Purchasers need to ensure products and processes are environmentally friendly by reducing the use of energy and water, decreasing emissions from manufacturing and distribution processes, and minimizing waste.

Many laboratory managers are responsible for complying with their company’s sustainability objectives, making it important for them to source equipment that minimizes the impact on the environment.


One setting where these practices can have a substantial impact on sustainability is in the scientific laboratory, because almost every lab depends on energy-intensive equipment. For example, freezers, centrifuges, and biological safety cabinets (BSCs) are essential to laboratory operations and must run continuously throughout each working day. This typically presents challenges to sustainability and potentially impacts the environment, with laboratories producing high levels of waste and consuming three to five times more energy than a typical office area due to the constant operation of such equipment. In order to drive adoption of sustainable business objectives, laboratory managers must therefore source equipment designed to optimize their site’s sustainability and decrease the overall cost of equipment ownership. This helps support a minimal impact on the environment, and allows laboratories to operate more efficiently, cost-effectively and sustainably. A GREENER ENVIRONMENT – INSIDE AND OUT As well as increasing growth and global competitiveness, sustainable business practices can minimize a company’s negative environmental impact, conserve energy and natural resources, and enhance employee, community, and product safety. Corporate Social Responsibility strategies are one example of how a business’s sustainability model can be incorporated into a company’s ethos, with the aim of creating

Sustainable Business Magazine 01/18  
Sustainable Business Magazine 01/18  

Sustainable Business Magazine 01/18