Greener Products & Solutions

Growing Greener Together

With a portfolio of more than 300,000 products that support 1 million customers, how we make, distribute and enable the use and disposal of those products can have a large and meaningful impact on the environment. We are committed to working with customers, employees and suppliers to develop new and innovative processes and products that contribute toward a healthier ecosystem and safer world.

Design for Sustainability

In 2014, we created Design for Sustainability (DfS)—our gold-standard design approach that keeps sustainability at the forefront of each stage of the product life cycle as we develop, engineer and re-engineer products to minimize environmental and health impact, and simultaneously improve product performance.

Development

By applying DfS principles in the Product Development Process, we strive toward lower material consumption, energy, water and waste footprints across the entire product life cycle—enabling our products to help customers not only meet sustainability goals, but surpass them. Under DfS, the Product Development Process consists of several steps:

1

Brainstorm life cycle impacts, opportunities and voices of customers

In the early stages of the Product Development Process, we first identify the main sources of environmental impact throughout the entire product life cycle. We also conduct customer visits and interviews to gain a concrete understanding of their main constraints and requirements in terms of sustainability.

2

Assess and select target criteria

Next, we identify potential areas of improvement and related sustainability objectives for product development. Typically, we select three or more product sustainability criteria among the following impact areas: materials, energy and emissions, waste, water, packaging, and usability and innovation.

3

Develop the product and assess improvement

During this stage, we design and test the product as well as assess and document progress toward our target sustainability objectives. We then assign a sustainability score to the project based on the number of product sustainability criteria met.

Consultancy

We believe a company's dedication to the environment should go beyond offering "greener" products. That's why we focus on sharing our expertise and experience with customers, collaborating on ways to apply green chemistry design thinking to their own research and operations approaches.

Re-engineering

We leverage our core strengths in innovation and the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry to re-engineer existing products and provide cutting-edge greener products and tools to more than 1 million customers around the world. We also created an industry-first framework that clarifies what is "greener" about our re-engineered greener alternatives for customers, other stakeholders, and our own scientists and researchers.

12 Principles of Green Chemistry

Our re-engineering approach is guided by the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry, developed by Paul T. Anastas and John C. Warner in 1991. These signposts guide us toward uncovering innovative solutions to big questions—like how to make chemicals, processes or products greener, thereby reducing environmental or human health risks and increasing energy efficiency.

DOZNTM

An industry first, DOZN™ is a proprietary
Quantitative Green Chemistry Evaluator that enables us to consistently evaluate different products and processes against the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry, using readily available data and generally accepted industry practices. Through DOZN™, we are able to have meaningful communications about chemical sustainability options and, as noted above, clarify what's "greener" about our "greener alternatives" for customers, other stakeholders, and our own scientists and researchers.

Explore a real-life DOZN™ scoring example, which shows how we
re-engineered the manufacturing of the enzyme β‑amylase.

Greener Alternative Products

We offer customers more than 700 greener alternatives to help them reduce the environmental impact of their work while ensuring their results are not compromised. These greener alternative products, developed by leveraging our strengths in innovation and sustainability, are identified with this icon Alternative and fall into three categories:

1

Re-engineered Products

Products manufactured with fewer resources, in a less hazardous manner and/or generate less waste, and scored on what's greener about them with DOZN. LEARN MORE

2

Principles Aligned Products

One or more characteristics of the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry appear prominently in these products. LEARN MORE

3

Enabling Products

Through alternative energy research, these products help make greener alternatives possible. LEARN MORE

  • Udit Batra

    “We place great importance on fostering an environment that engenders both creative collaboration and problem solving. It’s a win-win for both our employees and customers as we work together to advance science and medicine.”

    Udit Batra

    Chief Executive Officer

  • Jeffrey Whitford

    “We have realized the greatest impact comes not from just within our own walls, but in enabling our millions of customers in more than 160 countries to accelerate the impact sustainability can have globally.”

    Jeffrey Whitford

    HEAD OF CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY

  • Christopher Famolare

    “To us, streamlined operations means producing top-quality products in the most efficient way possible, with minimal use of energy, water and waste. We are working towards a future in which the ‘waste’ of one process can be the raw material input for another process.”

    Christopher Famolare

    EIT, CEM, CEA, Global Manager of Sustainable Operations

  • Morgan Harriman

    “This innovative program aligns with our corporate goal of not sending waste to landfill, but more importantly acts as a much needed solution in our efforts to create virtually zero waste in the first place.”

    Morgan Harriman

    North American Zero Waste Program Manager, Sanofi Genzyme

Together for Sustainability

Our commitment to sustainability includes collaborating with our partners—from suppliers and contract manufacturers to service providers—to develop projects and processes that have both sustainability and business benefits.

In that spirit, our global enterprise has teamed up with other multinational companies as part of the Together for Sustainability (TfS) initiative, aimed at assessing and improving sustainability practices in our industry. Through this program, we benefit from the outsourcing of supplier evaluations to qualified third-party providers, and the pooling and sharing of supplier evaluations with other TfS members. Life Science suppliers account for a significant portion of evaluations initiated by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. From these results, we collaborate with our partners to ensure they're continuously improving their sustainability practices.

Distribution

With a catalog of more than 300,000 products, our Life Science business delivers many of the most highly-respected brands in the industry, such as Millipore, Milli-Q, SAFC and BioReliance. These products are manufactured at over 65 sites and distributed worldwide through 130 distribution centers.

We have continuously worked to identify solutions to increase the shipment of products via ocean transport—a less expensive and more environmentally friendly alternative to air transport.

As an example, in 2016, we avoided 146,348 metric tonnes by using sea freight rather than air.

Packaging

Product packaging is one of the mostvisible and tangible environmental impactsfor our customers—which is why it is top of mind for us. We work to improve packagingquality, while striving to reduce waste and the time, effort and costs associated with handling and disposing it. Packagingis a key focus of our process—with our goalto deliver improvements without compromising quality or safety.

SMASH Packaging

Our SMASH Packaging Plan is our four-year approach to drive improvement in the sustainability of our packaging by 2022. Through this initiative, we are setting new standards and goals to SHRINK, SECURE, SWITCH and SAVE packaging while transparently reporting progress. Learn more about each of our specific goals in an overview brochure with a statement from our CEO.

Packaging Innovation
in Action

Below is a snapshot of some of our packaging innovations for and with customers, suppliers and partners.

Titripac®

We designed a smart packaging system that improves performance by preventing contamination and allowing for a direct connection to a titrator. It also reduced overall packaging weight, increased usage of recyclable packaging materials and decreased chemical product waste.


Polystyrene Cooler Return Program

In the U.S., polystyrene coolers are produced and used abundantly, particularly to ship products that need to remain cold or frozen. Through this program, customers can return coolers to us for reuse, minimizing waste and improving the carbon footprint of each cooler. A third-party verified life cycle assessment concluded that if just 25 percent of coolers are returned for a second use, we save 1,064 kilograms of CO2.

Fast Facts

By replacing expanded
polystyrene with

100%

recyclable & biodegradable materials, we eliminated

210,000

cubic feet of polystyrene annually,
without remotely skimping on cushioning properties.

ReCyclerTM Program

Through ReCycler™, we bring products to U.S.
customers, then take away and reuse the emptied containers. By switching to this bulk solvent delivery service, customers can reduce their carbon footprint by eliminating the waste and cost of smaller containers that would end up in a landfill or disposal facility.

Fast Facts About the
RECYCLER System

53%reduction in packaging-to-product weight ratio

99%reduction in total mass of solid packaging waste

69‑83%reduction in Global Warming Potential (GWP), depending on the location of shipments

88%reduction in the Cumulative Energy Demand (CED) per liter of solvent shipped

Recycling

Plastic disposable product use is on the rise in the life science industry. We faced this challenge by working together with customers and the waste management industry to provide a unique process and first-of-its-kind single-stream recycling program. Our U.S.-based programs are able to recycle almost 100 percent of the products with the added benefit of traceability.

We're proud of the present progress, but always looking toward the future. Our programs are the beginning of how we can re-classify "disposables" into "materials" that can be used again in other ways. This doesn't just reduce our environmental impact, but helps our customers do the same.

  • Morgan Harriman

    “This innovative program aligns with our corporate goal of not sending waste to landfill, but more importantly acts as a much needed solution in our efforts to create virtually zero waste in the first place.”

    Morgan Harriman

    North American Zero Waste Program Manager, Sanofi Genzyme


Biopharma Recycling Program

Through our first-of-its-kind Biopharma Recycling Program, single-use product waste—like bioreactor bags, assemblies, filters, protective clothing, gloves and empty drums—even when classified as biohazardous, can be recycled into industrial-grade plastic lumber products. These include landscaping timbers, retaining walls, speed bumps, parking blocks and plastic pallets.

Launched in 2015 in partnership with U.S.-based Triumvirate Environmental, this program is currently operating on the East Coast of the U.S. We're continually working to add new customers to the program, with the goal of expanding this unique process to new regions globally in the future.

Download Biopharma
Recycling Infographic

One commercially operating biopharma facility is estimated to produce more than 150 tons of used product material per year. That's enough material to fill seven, 45-foot tractor trailers.

ech2oTM Collection & Recycling Program

In 2015, we seized another opportunity to give a second life to a commonly used Life Science product: water purification cartridges. Operated with our partner Triumvirate Environmental, ech2oTM allows customers to mail back their cartridges so they can be recycled into industrial-grade plastic lumber for use in products such as fence posts, nailer boards, and many other landscaping timber materials.

We have recycled more than0cartridges since the program began.