As the world leader in serving science, Thermo Fisher supports the urgent calls for action from scientists around the world to address climate change. We have committed to becoming net-zero by 2050 and joined the Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign led by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), aligning our goals with the Paris Agreement. This commitment expands on our near-term targets for Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions, which are aligned with a 1.5°C trajectory. Thermo Fisher’s near- and long-term net-zero targets have been approved by the SBTi.
Reduction in scope 1 and scope 2 emissions by 2030 from 2018 baseline
Of suppliers (by spend) to set science-based targets by 2027
Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions by 2050
Combating climate change is integral to Thermo Fisher’s short- and long-term business strategy. Our approach to achieving our goals relies on our PPI Business System and is anchored by transitioning away from fossil fuels and high-impact refrigerants in our operations, sourcing renewable electricity across our operations and engaging with our suppliers to amplify collective progress. Learn more about our progress in the latest update on our net-zero roadmap.
Increased procurement of renewable electricity is a key driver of recent reductions and integral to our near-term strategy to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. At the end of 2021, 22% of global electricity came from renewable sources, a 69% increase over the prior year. Since then, more than 100 Thermo Fisher sites have now achieved 100% renewable electricity. Our approach is centered around the concept of “additionality” — or directly supporting the development of new renewable generation sources. We do this by adding renewable systems at our sites and leveraging long- term power purchasing agreements (PPAs) with new wind and solar facilities. Thanks to virtual PPAs signed with Enel North America and EDF Renewables, Thermo Fisher will power all of our current U.S. sites with 100 percent wind and solar electricity by 2026.
In addition, we are continually conducting energy assessments at our largest manufacturing facilities to help plan our transition away from fossil fuels. Prioritizing high-emission sites that represent more than 50% of our Scope 1 and Scope 2 footprint, the most recent findings have uncovered opportunities to eliminate over 80,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide, approximately 25% of our fossil fuel-related emissions. Several of these projects are already underway. Always looking to leverage best practices and our continuous improvement culture, we have also developed a net-zero building design playbook to support new and existing facilities in our journey toward net-zero.
Scope 3 emissions
Our supply chain is our largest source of emissions, representing more than 90% of the greenhouse gas emissions generated within our value chain. With the development of a supplier engagement program for climate change, we can greatly reduce our environmental impact as a Company and sector.
We took on a robust body of work to calculate the baseline for our Scope 3 emissions. To encourage a similar investment in reporting and emissions reduction, we have established our first near-term Scope 3 target. For suppliers that represent 90% of our Scope 3 emissions from (1) Purchased Goods and Services and (2) Upstream Transportation and Distribution, Thermo Fisher will engage them in setting climate-related, science-based targets by 2027.
Based on early reporting and interactions, we were able to immediately support foundational change. To read more about the actions we are taking with our suppliers, please refer to the Operations section.
To mitigate the impacts of climate change, we believe in working together with our industry peers, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders. Thermo Fisher has participated in several collaborations to accelerate industry action, including those to:
Increase access to renewable energy for pharmaceutical supply chains;
Address the sustainability and resilience of the U.S. health system;
Share best practices for phasing out fossil fuel usage;
Promote the use of greener power to protect human health and the environment;
And accelerate sustainability progress within the biopharmaceutical and device sectors.
Working with customers to address sustainability is essential to our business. We have established collaborative governance structures to monitor our respective and shared sustainability progress and launched several joint initiatives that focus on waste reduction and renewable energy.
Water is essential to the well-being of all people and the planet, and good-quality freshwater is also a vital component for the successful production of our products. With increased demand for this natural resource, we have developed systems for our sites that allow water to be reused and recycled. This enables greater production efficiency and reduces energy consumption when reheating water for steam processes.
In 2021, our water use decreased by 13% compared to the previous year. These reductions can be attributed to process improvements and optimizations at several manufacturing facilities. We continue to accelerate the uncoupling of water usage and growth, and on a revenue-adjusted basis, reduced water intensity by 28%.
To identify and manage water risks across our portfolio of sites, we transitioned to using the World Wildlife Fund’s Water Risk Filter tool. This tool identifies and evaluates water risks around the world, including water scarcity and flooding. We conducted a high- level screening of basin-level water risks across 227 Thermo Fisher manufacturing and warehouse sites. Twelve sites were identified as being in a high-risk basin, representing 6% of our water usage. In 2022 we will combine this screening with a criticality assessment to determine our water risk exposure and develop steps to address these risks.
Continually working to minimize our impact on the environment, we actively seek opportunities to reduce the amount of waste generated through our operations. We are exploring circular business models to maximize resource efficiency and create new solutions for our customers and our own operations. Our approach to waste also follows the waste hierarchy outlined by the US EPA, where we prioritize source reduction followed by reuse and recycling.
Our Zero Waste program is implemented at the site level to closely manage our waste streams. We define “zero waste” as diverting 90 percent or more waste from landfill through reuse, recycling and, as a last resort, incineration, when used to generate energy. Our efforts are targeted at reducing the amount of waste we generate and send to landfill while lowering our operating costs.
Through our Zero Waste Playbook, we provide our sites guidance for working toward Zero Waste certification. A five-step process, powered by our PPI Business System, engages our colleagues to implement waste-minimizing changes in processes and procurement strategies.
In 2021, we continued to explore new recycling options for single-use lab plastics, including repurposing these plastics into durable and highly-reusable shipping pallets. For more information on our waste initiatives, visit our Product End of Life page.