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, 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 well-below 2-degree Celsius trajectory.
By 2027, we will address Scope 3 emissions by engaging 90% of suppliers by spend to set science-based targets
By 2030, we will reduce Scope 1 and Scope 2 absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 30% from 2018 baseline
By 2050, we will achieve net-zero across our value chain inclusive of Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions
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 was the primary driver of these reductions. We completed energy assessments at our largest manufacturing facilities, high-emission sites that represent 40% of our Scope 1 and Scope 2 footprint. The findings uncovered opportunities to eliminate over 80,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide, approximately 25% of our fossil fuel-related emissions. Several of these projects will be implemented this year. Additionally, by the end of 2022, we will complete energy assessments for more than 45 sites to help plan our transition away from fossil fuels. Always looking to leverage best practices and our continuous improvement culture, we are also developing a net-zero construction playbook to support new and existing facilities in our journey toward net-zero.
Procuring renewable electricity is important to our near-term strategy to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. We achieved a new record in 2021, with 22% of global electricity coming from renewable sources, a 69% increase over the prior year. More than 60 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.
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.
In 2021, 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. By the end of 2021, over 15% of our spend was associated with suppliers that had committed to science-based targets. To read more about the actions we are taking with our suppliers, please refer to the Operations section.
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.