How Thermo Fisher Scientific is Beating its Climate Targets

Thermo Fisher Scientific
Biotech research company Thermo Fisher Scientific’s 2023 CSR Report shows progress in use of renewables, cutting Scopes 1, 2 & 3 and reducing water use

Biotech research company Thermo Fisher Scientific has “advanced its environmental sustainability roadmap” by achieving some significant gains in 2023, according to its annual CSR report.

The Corporate Social Responsibility Report 2023, titled Healthier, Cleaner and Safer, shows progress in use of renewables, cutting Scope 1, 2 & 3 emissions and reducing water use.

Marc Casper, chairman, president and CEO, said: “Thermo Fisher is driven by a profound mission – to enable our customers to make the world healthier, cleaner and safer.

“We also understand our obligation goes beyond enabling our customers’ success and extends to making the world a better place by supporting our communities, being a good steward of our planet and creating a great work environment for our colleagues.

“I am proud of what we’ve accomplished so far and deeply grateful to our global team for their passion for fulfilling our mission and delivering on our commitments to society.”

Marc Casper, chairman, president and CEO, Thermo Fisher Scientific

Climate targets

The biotechnology research company, based in Waltham, Massachusetts, delivers a combination of innovative technologies, purchasing convenience and pharmaceutical services.

It has 122,000 employees and an annual revenue of US$40bn, with an R&D investment of US$1.3bn.

TFS’s climate targets, validated by the Science-Based Targets initiative, include:

  • A 50% reduction in Scope 1 & 2 emissions by 2030 from a 2018 base year
  • 80% Scope 2 renewable energy use by 2030
  • By 2027, 90% of suppliers (Scope 3) to set science-based targets
  • Net zero for Scope 1, 2 & 3 by 2050.

The report says that, at the end of 2023, TFS was “on track to achieve its 2030 target”, with Scope 1 & 2 emissions 29% lower than in 2018, with 16 of its sites fossil fuel free.

It is also sourcing 41% of its electricity from renewable energy, with 150 of its sites powered entirely by renewable sources.

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Another step closer to net zero

Marc set out a number of milestones from 2023.

He said: “During the year, we continued to advance our environmental sustainability roadmap. Building on the progress we’ve already made in accelerating adoption of renewable electricity, in 2023 we entered into an agreement to power over half of Thermo Fisher’s European footprint with 100% renewable energy by 2025.

“We also established a new commitment to achieve 80% renewable electricity utilisation globally by 2030. These actions bring us another step closer to achieving our net-zero emissions goal.”

Marc added: “As we move ahead, we continue to improve the environmental sustainability of our sites, and we are working with our suppliers to reduce emissions across our global value chain.

“Throughout our businesses, we are also reengineering the way we design, produce, package and ship our products.”

Thermo Fisher Scientific

Targeting Scope 3

In common with many companies, the vast majority (95%) of TFS’s value chain emissions are generated outside of its operations.

The report says it has a target to have 90% of its suppliers set science-based targets by 2027.

It adds: “By the end of 2023, 18% of our suppliers by spend had accomplished this and an additional 12% committed to set a science-based target.”

To address the shortfall, TFS has a Scope 3 programme, including enhanced supplier engagement, training and capability building.

In September, the company hosted its inaugural virtual Supplier Day to “reinforce our environmental sustainability ambitions and expectations with suppliers”.

The report says: “Through a virtual format, we shared tools and best practices to help them start or accelerate their journey to net-zero emissions.

“More than 100 supplier organisations from 20 countries participated in the event, along with our internal procurement community and key stakeholders.”

Thermo Fisher Scientific's Massachusetts HQ

Salvage, EV charging and more

The report picks out numerous other pieces of good sustainability news, including: 

  • 50,000 tonne-kilometres of freight shifted from air to high-speed rail in China
  • 600 tonnes of waste reduced by expanding equipment refurbishment, component salvage and resale programme
  • 450 electric vehicle charging stations provided for employees at 50 sites
  • 7,305 electrical assets were refurbished for reuse and 16,194 assets were recycled
  • In Grand Island, New York, TFS redirected over 250,000 gallons of non-hazardous liquid from external waste-to-energy disposal to its onsite wastewater treatment plant, saving nearly $500,000
  • In Bleiswijk, Netherlands, and South San Francisco, California, TFS salvaged essential spare parts from returned instruments that were no longer available in the market, reusing 34,000kg of parts, equivalent to over $800,000 in savings
  • At the Heysham, UK, site, TFS installed balers to recycle material that previously went to the landfill.
Thermo Fisher Scientific

Sustainable finance and EDI

In the area of equality, diversity and inclusion, the CSR Report describes how TFS has invested in strategies and organisations to drive change.

It says: “In 2023, we continued to cultivate our growing network of diverse banking partners with a focus on minority-, women- and veteran-owned institutions.

“Specifically, we granted allocations and appointed active co-manager roles to five such investment banks for our bond deals in August and November of 2023.

“This aligns with our broader goal of promoting equity and economic opportunities while advancing our capital strategies.”

The report adds: “Thermo Fisher committed US$25m in impact investments to institutions addressing racial disparities in health, wealth and opportunity through standard capital management practices.

“Thermo Fisher is among 11 major corporations contributing to the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Black Economic Development Fund (BEDF), which aims to improve access to capital for financial institutions, developers, businesses and anchor institutions that incentivize economic activity and wealth-building opportunities in Black communities across the US.

“In 2023, the original fund reached full commitment, while significant unmet demand for BEDF capital remained.

“To address this, we extended the investment period of our US$20m commitment by three years.

“This extension allows LISC the flexibility to redeploy nearly twice the amount of total capital to current and future projects, potentially magnifying the Fund’s impact to US$500m invested in Black communities.”

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