My Green Lab Unveils Converge, a Collaborative Supply Chain Initiative Bringing Sustainability to the Forefront of the Pharmaceutical Industry
Founding Sponsors AstraZeneca, GSK, Bristol Myers Squibb, and Amgen Join Forces with My Green Lab to Drive Sustainable Practices Across the Industry
My Green Lab, the world’s leading nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the sustainability of scientific research, today announces the launch of Converge, a collaborative supply chain initiative. Converge will harness the collective efforts of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to encourage suppliers to reduce the environmental impact of labs in their value chain through My Green Lab Certification. With a shared goal of supporting lab sustainability, founding sponsors of the initiative include AstraZeneca, GSK, Bristol Myers Squibb, and Amgen.
Outsourced contract services are increasingly critical elements of the pharmaceutical and biotechnology value chain. Reducing Scope 3 Emissions for companies in the sector therefore requires engaging suppliers like Contract Research Organizations (CROs), Contract Manufacturing Organizations (CMOs), and Contract Development and Manufacturing Organizations (CDMOs). Converge will leverage the collective buying power of major pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to encourage suppliers with large research footprints to reduce the impact of their labs through My Green Lab Certification, a key indicator of progress for the United Nations Climate Change's High-Level Climate Champions 2030 Breakthroughs Race to Zero campaign.
Pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies with ten or more labs already enrolled in My Green Lab Certification are encouraged to sign up and join a collective initiation aiming to certify all labs across the value chain in alignment with the Race to Zero’s breakthrough outcome that 95% of all labs are My Green Lab certified at the highest level by 2030.
Through Converge, suppliers will be provided with additional resources and peer to peer learning that will support increased scientist awareness and engagement in sustainability measures, alongside cost reductions through lowered energy, water, and waste supported by additional resources and peer to peer learning. The program’s partners gain secure access to a Supplier Dashboard for tracking green lab certification progress, and an Impact Estimator tool for measuring environmental reductions. The initiative also offers its participants educational webinars and a Supplier Network Group for peer-learning facilitated by My Green Lab.
“Suppliers play a vital role in the industry and based on our 2022 Carbon Impact Report, the majority of the impact comes from the value chain. When suppliers partner with My Green Lab through Converge and earn My Green Lab Certifications, they are not only actively supporting lab sustainability, but also solidifying their position as a trusted and preferred organization in the industry,” says James Connelly, My Green Lab’s CEO.
About My Green Lab Certification
My Green Lab Certification provides actionable ways for scientists and laboratory teams to make meaningful changes within their daily operations. It is considered the gold standard for laboratory sustainability best practices around the world and has helped over 2,000 labs in 45 countries and over 26,000 scientists preserve resources, save money, and ensure a safe and healthy environment in support of science.
Converge envisions a comprehensive dedication to lab sustainability throughout the pharmaceutical industry. Converge aims to ensure every supplier lab has a thriving culture of sustainability and every scientist knows how their actions can make a difference. Converge will help the pharmaceutical sector lead the world on supply chain engagement and inspire other sectors to follow in its footsteps.
2023 Carbon Impact of Biotech & Pharma Report: Collective Action Accelerating Progress to the UN Race to Zero
This report released during COP28 shows an increase in the sector's Race to Zero commitments while highlighting the need for increased action in scope 3 reductions and collaborative supply chain engagement
The Biotech and Pharma industry is a significant contributor to global climate change, and therefore must be part of the global climate solution. The global biotechnology market size was estimated at USD $1.0 trillion in 2021 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.9% from 2022 to 2030, reaching $3.9 trillion by 2030.
A report produced by My Green Lab with contribution from Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) found significant progress towards the adoption of net-zero goals within the Biotech and Pharma sector, with more companies joining the UN-backed Race to Zero initiative, and some notable successes in the largest companies making year-on-year intensity reductions. The report was released during COP28 on Dec 5, 2023, and showed that the pace of accomplishments, while substantial, must be greatly accelerated for the industry to remain below the 1.5˚C threshold that the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns our planet should not cross.
As of 2023, thirty-five companies (53% of the sector by revenue) have committed to the Race to Zero initiative, an increase from 30 companies (46% by revenue) at this time last year. Progress towards the Breakthrough Outcome has also been swift, with 63% of Pharma and Med Tech companies in the campaign having started a My Green Lab Certification, and nearly half of those programs at a global scale.
Key Findings of the Report
The report is an update to My Green Lab's 2021 & 2022 reports, which was the first to evaluate the upstream and downstream value chain of Biotech and Pharma by quantifying Scope 3 emissions for both public and private companies. The report leverages data from 226 publicly-listed companies and 147 privately-held companies to produce a comprehensive profile of the carbon emissions of the Biotech and Pharma industry, including a comparison of this emissions profile to other industry sectors. The analysis also identifies critical hotspots that are opportunities for positive change while charting industry progress towards the UNFCCC Race to Zero and the UNFCCC 2030 Breakthrough Outcomes campaign.
One of the results of the report is that 90% of the 91 public companies analyzed in the sector still do not have targets (for Scope 1 and 2) in the short term (2021–2025) that are aligned with a 1.5˚C increase world. It also found that the overall carbon impact of the industry has been rising every year, going from 3.9% in 2021 to 5% in 2022. Another key finding of the report is that Scope 3 emissions are 4.6-fold Scope 1 and 2 combined, with the vast majority of Scope 3 emissions coming from purchased goods and services. In response, the industry has launched a suite of collective initiatives that show great promise in reducing Scope 3.
Collaborative Efforts and Industry Alliances
In 2021, My Green Lab’s flagship program, the My Green Lab Certification was selected as a Race to Zero Breakthrough Outcome to help pharmaceutical and medical tech companies achieve the goal of a zero-carbon world by 2050. It focuses on reducing emissions for Scope 1 and 2 by making laboratory operations more sustainable. It further helps catalyze Scope 3 reductions by encouraging sustainable purchasing within organizations and with laboratories that a company contracts within its supply chain.
To meet the targets of the Paris Climate Agreement, the industry must continue to improve the quality and comparability of reporting, while taking rapid and measurable actions on industry carbon footprints and engaging the industry supply chain. Harmonization of supplier requirements by the Sustainable Markets Initiative and forums such as the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Initiative are helping to create industry alignment. To tackle the challenge of addressing Scope 3, the industry has launched a suite of programs to align requests and help support suppliers in accomplishing these supply chain goals. An example of such an initiative is My Green Lab’s Converge program, which is expected to have a powerful impact on suppliers with great potential for rapid and effective action.
Converge, My Green Lab’s Supplier Initiative
Converge is a My Green Lab initiative that aims to harness the collective power of the Pharmaceutical industry to encourage suppliers to reduce the impact of their operational labs through My Green Lab Certification. The program enrolls large Pharma companies that have at least 10 labs enrolled in My Green Lab Certification and requires them to collectively request that suppliers including Contract Research Organizations (CROs), Contract Manufacturing Organizations (CMOs), and Contract Development and Manufacturing Organizations (CDMOs) with significant laboratory operations certify their labs in alignment with the 2030 Breakthrough Outcomes target. The target is for 95% of all labs to be certified at the highest level. In November 2023, four major Pharma companies, AstraZeneca, GSK, Amgen, and Bristol Myers Squib joined the Converge initiative. They outlined the targets seen in the following figure for their joint suppliers.
Biotech and pharmaceutical companies have the technical acumen, culture of innovation,
and financial resources needed to be a global leader in environmental sustainability. They
also have a shared supply chain and collaborative industry organizations necessary to
align requirements and support collective action. The industry has just under a decade, roughly the same time it takes to bring a new drug to market, to achieve net zero carbon and, in doing so, inspire industry sectors around the world.
As most scientists and lab experts would agree, laboratories demand substantial resources and have a considerable ecological footprint. To put it in perspective, labs generate an astonishing 12 billion pounds (5.5 billion kg) of plastic waste annually and consume ten times the energy and four times the water compared to typical office spaces. Amidst this impact, there is a pressing need for innovative solutions to mitigate the environmental consequences. The products used in laboratories greatly contribute to this environmental impact, emphasizing the urgency for sustainable alternatives in lab practices and materials.
In an effort to improve their environmental footprint, scientists and procurement specialists are actively seeking a solution to support making smarter and more sustainable purchases, achieve their environmental goals, and meet carbon commitments. The Solution: The ACT Environmental Impact Factor Label.
To transform sustainability in the laboratory product market, the groundbreaking ACT Eco Label Program from My Green Lab provides third-party verified information about the environmental impact of laboratory products. This independent analysis supports product Accountability, Consistency, and Transparency (ACT), allowing manufacturers to effectively communicate the sustainability attributes and impacts of their products and support smarter, more informed purchases by laboratories.
With an ACT Eco Label, manufacturers demonstrate accountability for the environmental impact of their product and their dedication to reducing that impact. An ACT-labeled product also demonstrates a manufacturer's willingness to evaluate products with a consistent, industry-standardized method, and to transparently provide details of the product’s materials, manufacturing process, recyclability, energy and water consumption, durability, and manufacturing location. The ACT Eco Label clearly and effectively simplifies the process of selecting more sustainable products.
The ACT Eco Label Evaluation Categories
To provide in-depth, verified, and useful information, the ACT Eco Label Program evaluation process looks at all aspects of a product’s life cycle, measuring a variety of criteria that results in the most comprehensive eco label for life science products.
Like a Nutrition Facts Label for laboratory products, the ACT Eco Label communicates the complex environmental impact information for a product in an easy-to-understand format. Criteria for the ACT Eco Label were developed by industry experts including scientists, sustainability experts, procurement specialists, and manufacturers. Environmental Impact Factor (EIF) criteria in the ACT Eco Label fall into a variety of categories that are evaluated during the auditing process, including:
Each of the impact factors described here contributes to the environmental footprint of the product. By auditing and evaluating these product attributes to the ACT Eco Label Standard, My Green Lab helps manufacturers consider, measure, and drive continuous improvement in these factors, resulting in companies providing more sustainable products for laboratories.
Independent auditor SMS Collaborative (SMSC) has extensive experience evaluating products to the ACT Eco Label Standard, a process that provides clear, third-party verified information about the environmental impact of laboratory products.
The ACT Eco Label’s Impact on the Laboratory Product Market
The ACT Eco Label Program incentivizes manufacturers to present information about their products in a transparent way, and to highlight innovations in sustainability. All ACT-labeled products are categorized by general product type (Consumables, Equipment, and Chemicals & Reagents) on the ACT Eco Label database, which is fully searchable and filterable. It allows laboratories to compare products before purchasing, and to evaluate the impact of products currently in use, by assessing the product scores overall and in each EIF category. The database can also be integrated into procurement databases, helping drive the adoption of more environmentally-friendly lab products at the point of purchase. For example, ACT Eco Labels are now fully searchable on the CiteAb reagent search engine, and are used by the Fisher Scientific database to identify greener products.
The impact that the ACT Eco Label program has on transparency in the lab product market is wide-ranging, with over 1,000 products in the ACT Eco Label database from 24 large and small manufacturers (as of November 2023). “The growth of the program highlights how important transparency is in the marketplace. As the market seeks to become more engaged when it comes to product sustainability, and lab sustainability as a whole, laboratories are helping drive the need for programs like ACT by encouraging more sustainable, third-party verified products from their suppliers,” says Raj Patey, My Green Lab’s Business Development Director.
“The program’s growth is not only resulting in more transparency in the market, but also in genuine product improvement. For example, some manufacturers are learning from the product audit process and subsequently making changes to their product’s packaging or manufacturing in ways they otherwise wouldn't have done without the guidance of the ACT Eco Label Program,” Patey noted.
ACT in Action
Demonstrating the industry’s united effort towards driving more sustainable practices, My Green Lab has partnered and worked with a variety of organizations that support the ACT Eco Label Program, including companies that label their products, and groups that use the database to find sustainable product solutions for their lab.
Thermo Fisher Scientific has one of the largest ACT-labeled product portfolios, with a wide variety of products, from Ultra-Low Temperature (ULT) freezers to beakers and cylinders. “ACT-labeling our portfolio helped us understand the myriad ways our products can help our customers achieve their sustainability goals. Plus, we can point customers to the ACT Eco Label database for scores and provide helpful insights to how the scores were generated – both of which will allow customers to make informed decisions when purchasing equipment,” Thermo Fisher Scientific told My Green Lab.
Bürkle GmbH recently introduced ACT Eco Labels for their LaboPlast® Bio and SteriPlast® Bio disposable samplers, featuring sugarcane-based bioplastic. “The T in the ACT [Eco] Label stands for Transparency. Transparency is a fundamental value that guides our every step. We believe that openness fosters understanding, and understanding builds trust,” Bürkle GmbH posted recently on LinkedIn. “To ensure more transparency, we have decided to have our products certified with the ACT [Eco] Label. Transparency isn't always about showcasing perfection; it's about admitting when we're learning, evolving, or finding new ways.”
Eppendorf has been in partnership with My Green Lab since 2017 and has a wide variety of products in the ACT Eco Label database, including the first centrifuge on the market to achieve sustainability recognition through the ACT Eco Label Program. “The ACT Program is… the only global program for laboratory equipment which addresses sustainability aspects and product life aspects. In 2017, we were just a very small group of suppliers supporting My Green Lab. Today, most of the bigger suppliers of lab equipment participate and label products by ACT. On the customer side, many pharma accounts are asking for ACT-labeled products, and also academic accounts are interested,” Eppendorf recently told BioProcess International.
Better Products for a Better Future
My Green Lab’s work reaches a global audience through education and collaboration with laboratories that want to bring sustainability to science. The ACT Eco Label is one part of a community working to drive real change within laboratories.
Through programs such as My Green Lab Certification and the Ambassador Program, the My Green Lab team continues to engage closely with laboratory communities. This work with scientists and lab professionals has illuminated a compelling need for clear, standardized information about laboratory products. It is well-recognized that a significant part of the carbon impact from a lab originates from the lab products they purchase and use. At its core, the ACT Eco Label program empowers scientists and procurement specialists to make well-informed decisions with sustainability goals top of mind.
The ACT Eco Label Program began as a consensus-based effort between manufacturers, procurement, sustainability professionals, and scientists who were deeply committed to improving the trajectory of sustainability in science. My Green Lab is now engaging with stakeholders throughout academia, sustainability, biotech, and pharma to guide revisions in the ACT Eco Label Program. This process will further support the uptake of the program across the entire industry, incorporate more product data for customer and manufacturer awareness, and continue to make choosing preferred lab products easier while updating the functionality of the database. As our process improves, we passionately believe that starting your sustainability journey with the ACT Eco Label not only steers you towards enhanced customer engagement and reduced product impact over time, but also contributes to creating a better future.
Written by Emma Wightman, MSc - Content Specialist & Technical Writer, Triumvirate Environmental
While many scientists have embraced the idea that environmental responsibility is paramount, it can seem daunting to actually implement sustainability best practices within a lab space. From research and development (R&D) to healthcare diagnostics and everything in between, labs are essential for worldwide knowledge acquisition and advancement. Much of this involves exact processes and sterile environments in order to make experiments run smoothly. Often, these processes are resource-intensive, relying heavily on water, energy, and single-use plastic to perform while maintaining research integrity.
Due to the crucial nature of these experiments, sustainability efforts simply won’t work unless sample and experiment integrity can be maintained at the same time. Regrettably, some labs choose not to adopt certain sustainability initiatives due to concerns about potential risks to the integrity of their research or experiments. Fortunately, by implementing proven sustainability best practices and partnering with vendors who prioritize sustainability and safety, labs can not only continue their vital work but also make their operations more environmentally friendly.
Embracing Lab Sustainability
Labs across the globe are realizing the importance of sustainability. They are coming to understand that these resource-intensive spaces offer a unique opportunity for double-sided progress: If labs become more sustainable, they will both reduce their dependency on finite resources while simultaneously continuing the research that helps protect the environment and the global community as a whole.
This concept is cemented by growing societal and governmental concern for the environment. In fact, sustainability compliance is likely to become legally mandated, as evidenced by the 27th Conference of Parties (COP27), the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) drafting, and other such events. On top of this, 80% of consumers have indicated that they prefer to support companies with a stronger approach to sustainability—signaling that sustainability can mean more loyalty and thus, revenue.
Creating a Sustainable Future
That fact remains that even when labs are hoping to implement sustainability programs, there are some perceived barriers to how far this inclusion can go. Many researchers are hesitant to change their standard operating procedures (SOPs) as they don’t want to risk research integrity—or safety—by using products or performing tasks that are not verified as safe and effective. They also may not know how to go about solving lab sustainability issues in a compliant way. As such, they stick to the same routines, continuing their heavy reliance on resources as they prioritize safety and efficiency over sustainability. And who can blame them?
What if we told you, however, that you can have all three—sustainability, research integrity, and safety—by partnering with vendors who take environmental, health, and safety (EHS) seriously? EHS partners are a necessary and constant presence in lab operations, providing waste disposal and consulting services to these spaces. Anyone can provide these services, but only few can offer them in a sustainable way—so it is important to ensure the services and ideas of your EHS partner align with your environmental goals. This may look like:
And because safety and sustainability go hand in hand, and labs can be unsafe places for lab personnel and the environment, it is in everyone’s best interest to incorporate both into operations—so you know that a vendor who offers these services is the real deal and actually cares about the well-being of your staff. A few questions to ask the vendor include:
EHS Partnering for Lab Sustainability Success
My Green Lab and Triumvirate Environmental, a holistic and turnkey EHS vendor, both share a deep commitment to sustainability and understand the complex needs of labs within this larger push. In partnership, we provide the know-how, and the can-do, to help you achieve any and all of your sustainability goals. Triumvirate Environmental’s deep-set commitment to sustainability and expansive set of service offerings allow labs to craft sustainability solutions that best fit their environment.
With a shared set of values, this partnership strengthens lab sustainability commitments including:
Safety is something that can just be a key phrase, but Triumvirate Environmental is proud to put it right at the forefront of our operations—allowing you to focus on research integrity and employee safety. For more information about Triumvirate Environmental, visit www.triumvirate.com.
Join us in welcoming Dulan Liyanage to team My Green Lab! An MEng graduate from the University of Manchester, Dulan is a travel aficionado with a passion for sales and sustainability. He recently joined the team as Market Development Representative.
Learn more about Dulan, his interests, and his sustainability journey below!
Please tell us a little bit about yourself & your background.
Hi, my name is Dulan, and I am the newest addition to the Business Development Team at My Green Lab. My parents are Sri Lankan Sinhalese and they raised me in the cosy suburbs of South London with my two older brothers.
Therefore, as a second-generation immigrant, I’ve been besotted with the ‘travel-bug’ and have led a life all over England, before moving to Ireland. After completing high school in South London, I spent 4 years studying as a Material Scientist and Engineer at the University of Manchester. Whilst I was studying, I ran the Science Fiction and Fantasy Society for a couple of years and worked for the Students’ Union. After graduating with a MEng, I felt an urge to develop my engineering career and worked at an Industrial Control and Automation Distributor for 3 years in various roles. I moved to the Southwest of England, Bristol and then Bath, where I settled down for a while with my other half.
I was nominated for the GAMBICA Young Persons’ Council in 2022 where I found myself a seat at the table, solving the biggest issues in the STEM Industries. It was there that I encountered My Green Lab, and the rest is history. Fueled by my skills and passion for sales and sustainability, I applied to join this amazing team and have been relishing the opportunity ever since. I am now in the process of moving to Ireland where I am building a new, and hopefully greener, life.
What is your role at My Green Lab?
As Market Development Representative, I am working closely with our Business Development Team to increase the outreach of our ACT Label and My Green Lab Certification Programs. I am giving pitches to our prospective customers and inbound leads, whilst using my keen sales experience to conduct Outreach on both programs. I am also working with our wider team to help with strategic planning.
What inspires you to do the kind of work you do?
Change. Ever since I was little, I could never sit still, whether there was a problem to be solved or a meal to be made, I have always wanted to effect the change I want to see in the world in my own lifetime. Working in labs throughout university, especially during my dissertation on Nuclear Corrosion, I was constantly exposed to and responsible for the waste and sheer energy use that one scientist can impact upon a laboratory. Even in my daily life, the carbon footprint of the everyday person is far from negligible, but I have always struggled to affect change on a big enough scope to feel like I’m making an impact. At My Green Lab, I finally feel like each of us can make an astronomical impact on the industry wide sustainability crisis.
What are your personal sustainability goals?
My next car will be at least a hybrid, and I intend to be driving electric once I am settled in a city. Furthermore, I intend to use renewable energy to help fuel my future residences. I have a soft spot for solar panels as they started my obsession with renewable energies as a teenager during my high school project on solar vs. wind energy and continued throughout my degree when learning about Photovoltaic Cell Doping. Furthermore, I strive to eat locally and want to cultivate my own crops in future years. Living off the land might be a stretch goal, but, just like in labs, the sustainability impact that we as consumers can have by choosing homegrown and organic sources of sustenance over supermarket produce is one of the ways I feel I can make the most impact and have better lives for it.
What are your hobbies outside of work?
The travel-bug reigns supreme, if for no other reason than to try and sample every different cuisine of every nation. I currently want to travel more of the North American states and South East Asian regions. I am finally returning to Sri Lanka after almost a decade this year where I cannot wait to climb the Sigiriya Mountain and have cocktails on the Beaches of Galle.
Cooking and Baking: having inherited a colourful palette and love for tropical dishes. I spend a lot of my spare time in front of the kitchen stove stirring pots and pans for as many meals as I can spare time for. Cooking is one of the few hobbies I’ve found to be cathartic, productive, and rewarding, and I’ve strived to become more adept at different echelons of cuisine across all continents. I also spend way too much time playing board games and Nintendo and occasionally write poetry.
What are your favourite books / movies?
Whilst most of the books I own are cookbooks, I have a soft spot for Sci-fi and Fantasy in all its forms, whether that is in cult classics like Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot, or feminist pastiche such as Circe by Madeline Millar. The best book I’ve ever read, however, is Crying in H Mart by Michelle Yeoh, which is a tragic and poignant memoir that truly captures the experience of being a second-generation immigrant. I’ve also always been a bit of a superhero nerd when it comes to the cinema, and love to dabble in an animated movie or two; My favourite movie of all time has to be Kimi No Na Wa, a Japanese movie about star crossed lovers with a sci-fi twist.
Where do you call home?
At the moment… nowhere! I am moving between places for now, planning to spend some time with family in London and Ireland and gradually move over to Dublin. Maybe ask me next year…?!