By Guest Author Pete Girarad, CEO of Toxnot
ACT Database Partnership
Toxnot is thrilled about our partnership with My Green Lab, announced in the Spring of 2021, on our collaborative work supporting the infrastructure for the new ACT label database. With My Green Lab at the forefront of biotech and laboratory sustainability and SMS Collaborative lined up to provide data verification and credibility through third-party auditing, our platform database is perfectly positioned to bring the complete vision of the ACT label from concept to reality.
Toxnot’s cloud-based software advances supply chain visibility, automates product compliance, and streamlines materials transparency. For the ACT database, Toxnot’s platform helps provide the foundational support needed to gather, assess, maintain, and communicate sustainability attributes for universities as well as the global biotech industry. The ACT program offers a way to give buyers the confidence they deserve in purchasing sustainable lab supplies. We are excited to provide the IT systems, user interfaces, and modern APIs (Application Programming Interface) to help maximize the distribution of My Green Lab’s reporting to buyers.
Future-proofing Laboratories with Simplified Data Collection
This partnership is an important step in expanding Toxnot’s own mission of improving health & sustainability across global supply chains. When founding our company, we set out on a mission to help companies be transparent about chemicals and their impacts with design tools, client communications, and supply chain intelligence so that they can promote and sell better products. The My Green Lab ACT program takes on the same mission in the biotech industry. For biotech companies (and other sectors), Toxnot’s solutions provide the ability to streamline data collection, production compliance, and product transparency reporting. Our platform simplifies the way manufacturers collect data from their suppliers, and for suppliers providing that data, to safely protect any proprietary information that exists within those materials.
Collectively, the My Green Lab and Toxnot relationship is empowering manufacturers with the ability to future-proof the laboratory product market by giving consumers the ability to make smarter purchases. A greener future for biotech is impossible, however, if manufacturers aren’t aware of what harmful chemicals exist in the products they create. Transforming the laboratory product market starts by helping companies determine if their product materials are safe, and if not, what alternatives are available instead to improve the environmental impact of their product. Toxnot’s platform can address these concerns by improving their ability to manage their products’ ingredient materials, driving insights on the chemical hazards that may exist within their materials, and supporting the development of better, safer product design.
Toxnot’s partnership with My Green Lab will drive change in how laboratory product data is managed, facilitating a clear path towards healthier laboratory environments. It drives credibility for the biotech industry because the data is accessible, accurate, and verified.
Improving Lab Suppliers Leadership Certifications
My Green Lab’s mission is to build a global culture of sustainability in science, amplifying the demand for healthy and environmentally safe laboratory products. It is vital that lab suppliers work in tandem with these sustainability goals, thinking beyond their supply chain and evaluating how they can simultaneously work to display the leadership and innovation needed to match consumer expectations.
When lab product suppliers don’t have leadership certifications, like the ACT label, it's critical that they have a resource enabling them to innovate and scale sustainable solutions efficiently. Toxnot’s platform can help laboratory suppliers as the first step to proactively work towards leadership certifications. Additionally, our team is actively working to bolster data sources to our chemical and regulatory database, seeking to introduce product functionalities to support R&D programs, and leveraging new partnerships to promote advantages in marketing and business development to cultivate opportunities for biotech firms.
Pete Girard is the Co-founder & CEO of Toxnot PBC. Pete artfully combines 20+ years of experience at the multinational level with a well-respected background in product management, lifecycle assessment, product stewardship & sustainability strategy. He is a natural collaborator, teacher, and versatile leader.
Toxnot is a software company with a mission to improve health and sustainability across the global supply chain by streamlining the chemical transparency process. Toxnot provides an efficient system for manufacturers to import chemicals data, provide insight into their hazard profiles, report on the results and create safer products. Organizations are able to automate transparency reporting and compliance, easily collect hazard information and reduce risks across their global supply chain. Toxnot scales from small businesses to Fortune 500 enterprises and is the only free source of searchable GreenScreen® List Translator scores. In 2017, Toxnot won the Environmental Leader Product of the Year Award.
Say hello to My Green Lab Ambassador and QC Analyst at Regeneron Jack O'Grady! Born and raised in Ireland, Jack began his sustainability journey after noticing the amount of plastic waste his laboratory was discarding, along with the inefficient amount of water and energy in use. Since then, he has helped launch a Green Teams at his former organization, and is a proud advocate of the My Green Lab Ambassador Program.
"When conducting my own research and reading laboratory sustainability initiatives and programs that have been undertaken, the Ambassador Program is always a guide I refer back to constantly as the answer to my questions may have been under my nose from the very beginning. From this perspective, the My Green Lab Ambassador Program has enriched my sustainability journey just by simply providing a framework to operate within and to have contact with fellow ambassadors who are all pulling in the same direction as I," says Jack.
Read on to learn more about Jack and his sustainability journey below!
Please tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m from a small town, Newcastle West, located in Co. Limerick, Ireland. My father is from Newcastle West originally but met my mother in Australia. She is of Lebanese heritage, born in Sydney and somehow or another, he managed to convince her to move from the sunny, wonderful climate of Sydney to the wet, occasionally dreary and bleak climate of Ireland (Ireland would be lovely if we could just put a roof on it!). Whilst Newcastle West will always be my home, I have been living in Cork city for the past number of years now, both as a result of university and work. Cork is a wonderful city with fantastic pubs, restaurants, and beautiful countryside nearby and would encourage anyone who may read this and looking to come to Ireland to absolutely nail down Cork, and West Cork in particular, on your bucket list.
I enjoy being as active and as busy as I can when I have time off, can’t beat a hike in the Irish countryside or getting in a few holes of golf. I love nothing more than traveling both home and abroad with my girlfriend. I studied Nutrition and Health Science in Cork Institute of Technology, graduating in 2019. Since graduating, I have worked within the Quality laboratories of PepsiCo in Cork, before moving to the Biochemistry department of Regeneron as a QC Analyst in March of this year.
What drives you to be more sustainable in the laboratory?
My interest in laboratory sustainability began innocuously enough. During my time within PepsiCo, I took notice of the amount of plastic waste we were discarding in our laboratories on both a daily and weekly basis. I conducted some research and discovered that in our labs, we were generating an awful amount of waste, not segregating our waste correctly and were being unbelievably inefficient with both our water and energy usage. Being the person I am, I wanted to determine if we could improve upon our sustainability efforts within the laboratories. Naturally enough, I was delighted to discover the organization My Green Lab had all the resources and tools I craved for improving our sustainability efforts in PepsiCo. With the assistance of My Green Lab, I established a European Green Team for PepsiCo, where the Green Team are currently pursuing a Green Lab Certification with My Green Lab.
I have always being a very environmentally conscious person and how what I may be doing day to day could impact upon the local environment. Needless to say, I was utterly shocked to discover the detrimental environmental impact that laboratories, across multiple factions and institutions, are having upon both our local and global environment. Ultimately, what motivates me to be more sustainable in the laboratory is that I am not content with the knock-on effects and impacts our work in laboratories globally are having upon our planet. We can and must do better, for our own sake and for the generations to follow. The IPCC Climate Change report published recently paints a rather grim picture for the future of our plant and of all humankind if we do not take decisive and drastic actions now. It is this sense of urgency that drives me to make a difference.
What is the most interesting thing you learned while becoming a My Green Lab Ambassador?
That I am not alone, that there exists a wonderful community of fellow scientists and environmentalists at heart who are all seeking to pull together and play their part in bringing a beneficial change to our laboratories and our work. The most interesting thing that I have learned since becoming a My Green Lab Ambassador is that there-in lies a community of people who are bursting with brilliant initiatives and ideas to reduce the impact of laboratories upon the environment. It would have been quite naive of me to believe that I was the only person in Ireland who may have conceived the notion of making laboratories more environmentally sustainable. I was more than pleasantly surprised however to discover that this was gladly not the case. It is a fantastic resource to have available to you, to discuss ideas and draw inspiration from fellow My Green Lab Ambassadors to continue in this endeavor of ours. The My Green Lab Ambassador Program is something I would encourage all who have any interest in laboratory sustainability and sustainability generally, to become a member of, you will not regret it. I am incredibly proud to be a My Green Lab Ambassador.
How has the My Green Lab Ambassador Program enriched your sustainability journey?
The recordings, white papers, and contributions that have been uploaded to the My Green Lab Ambassador Program has provided me with fresh perspectives on a variety of different areas of laboratory sustainability. For example, I may be researching an alternative to dry ice usage in a laboratory, only to find that a fellow ambassador has provided an insightful and fantastic research article outlining some keys areas of potential improvement with respect to dry ice alternatives. Such a paper in this case could provide me with a reference point to further delve into researching all there is to know on dry ice alternatives. When conducting my own research and reading laboratory sustainability initiatives and programs that have been undertaken, the Ambassador Program is always a guide I refer back to constantly as the answer to my questions may have been under my nose from the very beginning. From this perspective, the My Green Lab Ambassador Program has enriched my sustainability journey just by simply providing a framework to operate within and to have contact with fellow ambassadors who are all pulling in the same direction as I.
What are your 2021 sustainability goals?
For the remainder of 2021 and beyond, my sustainability goals are to continue to fight the good fight, to continue to promote and discuss with others in the scientific community the importance of laboratory sustainability and the programs that My Green Lab offer to corporations and institutions alike. Time is very much of the essence. We need to invest in a more sustainable future if we are to have any chance of keeping in line with the Paris Agreement targets of curbing rising global temperatures to below 1.5°C. It is the responsibility of all of us to endeavor and persist tirelessly in this pursuit, our very future depends on it.
Ready to become a My Green Lab Ambassador? Sign up today!
We are proud to announce the winners of the 2021 Freezer Challenge - our largest competition since launching the program five years ago!
Despite the difficulties facing the world in 2020 and 2021, this year’s challenge was not only our largest with over 300 laboratories joining the competition, but participants saved more energy than ever before. The Freezer Challenge, a cold storage competition coordinated by My Green Lab and the International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories (I2SL), encourages scientists across the government, academic, biopharma, and clinical sectors to implement a variety of best practices related to cold storage management in their own labs. Through friendly competition, the Freezer Challenge helps labs optimize the sustainability of cold storage management in laboratories around the globe.
Over two-hundred and twenty-two laboratories completed the competition, representing 113 different research institutions from around the world, and saving a combined ~4.3 million kWh/year, up from 3.2 million kWh/year in 2020. This is the equivalent to reducing carbon emissions by 3,000 metric tons per year.
Throughout the Freezer Challenge, which takes place over a six-month period, labs receive points for taking sustainable actions related to their cold storage units, including actions that promote energy efficiency, sample accessibility, and sample integrity. Winners are determined considering both the number of points earned as well as the amount of energy saved.
This year we have decided to give out more awards than ever before thanks to the great achievements from participating labs. For the first time, we had winners from countries outside of Europe and North America including labs in Australia and Indonesia. We also had our very own Cinderella story, with the University of Alabama at Birmingham, who had 34 labs participate in the challenge, receive a well-deserved award after receiving honorable mentions multiple times in the past.
Without further ado, here are the 2021 Freezer Challenge winners!
2021 Freezer Challenge Organizational Winners:
After having earned the top Academic Organization award for the fourth year in a row, we have awarded The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign our Winning Streak Award for 2021. They saved over 300,000 kWh over the past year through their efforts.
Honorable mentions to organizations go to Merck (known as MSD outside the U.S.), the University of Southern Denmark, and the Royal College of Pathologists Australasia, all of whom gave the competition their all, achieving some incredible energy savings in the process. Great work!
For the first time in 2021, we are awarding multiple Lab Awards per research sector, recognizing small, medium, and large labs (by number of lab members), as well as biorepositories/core facilities.
Individual laboratory winners of the 2021 Freezer Challenge are:
Winners will be honored at the I2SL conference on September 27, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia, and will be featured in an upcoming article in the journal Nature.
The Freezer Challenge is a joint program run by My Green Lab and the International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories (I2SL), and is made possible through the generosity of industry sponsors. Our sponsors for the 2021 competition are: Eppendorf, Stirling Ultracold, PHCbi, Elemental Machines, B Medical Systems, and Thermo Fisher Scientific.
Here's How the ACT Label Helped Thermo Fisher Scientific Solidify Their Commitment to Sustainability
The ACT Environmental Impact Factor Label was designed by My Green Lab to address the need of both scientists and procurement specialists for clear, third-party verified information about the environmental impact of laboratory products. By emphasizing Accountability, Consistency, and Transparency (ACT) around manufacturing, energy and water use, packaging, and end-of-life, ACT makes it easy to choose more sustainable products.
Thermo Fisher Scientific recently completed the process of labeling 207 of their Ultra Low Temperature Freezers totaling 621 labels through the My Green Lab ACT label program! As our biggest ACT label project to date, we're proud to partner with Thermo Fisher Scientific to continue building a culture of sustainability in science with an organization that has environmental sustainability at the forefront of their mission.
The opportunity to reduce the environmental impact of labs through smarter purchases is tremendous. We spoke with Thermo Fisher Scientific to learn more about their journey with the ACT label. Throughout the six month process, Thermo Fisher Scientific was able to solidify their commitment to sustainability, helped instill a culture of sustainability throughout their organization, and better connect with their customers.
"ACT labelling our portfolio helped us understand the myriad of ways our products can help our customers achieve their sustainability goals. Plus, we can point customers to the ACT 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."
Read on to learn more about Thermo Fisher Scientific's journey with My Green Lab's ACT label.
Starting the Process
In your opinion, why must manufacturers make laboratory products sustainably?
For Thermo Fisher Scientific this starts with our mission which is to support science by enabling our customers to make the world healthier, cleaner, and safer. Building environmentally sustainable products is core to our values, and we see it as a responsibility owed to our customers and the planet.
Why do you think sustainable laboratory procurement is essential? When purchasing goods or services, it is important that the buyer consider the impact on the environment and society. By sourcing more environmentally sustainable options, we can incentivize suppliers and markets to source and produce greener goods and services – reducing the impact on the environment and society.
What does your organization do differently in the product development process to make your products sustainably?
We continue to invest in and investigate new ways of developing energy efficient products. Our New Product Development process incorporates environmental sustainability as we bring products to the market. We partner with our suppliers to ensure raw materials are sourced from recycled content wherever available. Further, we manufacture the majority our products in a zero-land fill factory.
What were some of your specific expectations from the program when you first started? How did those expectations change or develop as you went along?
Honestly, we weren’t sure what to expect. We recognized the environmental importance of having our products evaluated during the ACT label process and wanted to know the individual scores and sum of all of the scores. We understood that the process would highlight our sustainability strengths and point us towards ways to continuously improve our products and processes. We approached this as a learning experience and recognized that it would provide us input around new ways that we can support our customers in their journey in bringing environmentally sustainable products into the lab.
What was your strategy to approach the project of such enormous magnitude?
Because of the significant value we see in the ACT label we took the leap and went for it. We were unsure the project magnitude until we were a few months into the process, but the team was dedicated to ACT labelling our entire Cold Temperature Technologies portfolio. Much of the heavy lifting was accomplished by a handful of industrious individuals - especially during the data collection and evaluation process.
Bringing the ACT Label to Life
How long did the certification process take from the kick-off call until the label issue?
The entire process was completed in about six months. A few months to really get an understanding of what data was needed, a couple months to summarize and collect data, and then a few months of refining the data submissions and ultimately preparing for the final data audit. It really is an outstanding achievement. We were in the middle of the pandemic working to support ACT label data requests with equipment that is frontline (Ultra-low temperature freezers) in vaccine distribution.
What was the most memorable moment of this whole journey for you?
One of the most memorable moments was when we spent a day weighing and documenting our electronic componentry. This was a tedious process but provided clear insights into where recycled content is currently used during manufacturing and where we can focus on increasing recycled content for the future.
How many people from your team/organization were directly (and indirectly) involved in the ACT label certification process?
~25 people were involved, from product managers, facilities and safety, sales, marketing, procurement, engineering support, and executive level engagement. However, only a handful of employees were needed to oversee the data gathering process.
Results: What The ACT Label Helped Thermo Fisher Scientific Achieve
Could you please describe the specific need/ask this program fulfilled and the challenge it resolved for your organization and product?
ACT labelling our entire Cold Temperature Technologies portfolio demonstrates our commitment to environmental sustainability as a lab equipment manufacturer and puts us in a position to continuously improve our environmental footprint.
How did pursuing and obtaining the ACT label better connect you with your customers?
ACT labelling our portfolio helped us understand the myriad of ways our products can help our customers achieve their sustainability goals. Plus, we can point customer to the ACT 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.
What effect did the certification process have on the sustainability culture within your organization?
ACT labeling had a huge influence on our team. As we worked through the process, we were continually educated on areas where we could act as champions for sustainability across the business unit. The effect is that the culture of sustainability was instilled and continues to spread as there is a renewed push for environmental sustainability in our factories and throughout the organization.
"The ACT label process re-energized us and brought renewed focus on the need for better and more environmentally sound practices and processes."
How did your organization go beyond energy efficiency through the ACT label certification of the ULT Freezers?
Energy efficiency, while important, is only a part of the ACT label scoring. We looked extensively at how we build the ULT and where we could reduce waste. We examined where we used recyclable content in our manufacturing and connected with our key suppliers to make improvements. Because of ACT labeling, we are educating our customers and channel partners on the benefits of the ACT label and where better disposal and reduction of waste practices can be used when a product is at the end of its life.
What were the most important aspects of your sustainability efforts that affected your score?
Our biggest effort that impacted the ACT label ULT score was the ULT Manufacturing score. We scored a 3 out of 10 because of the fact that the Asheville, NC facility, where our ULTs are manufactured, is a zero waste facility with a state-of-the-art Air Conditioning system where all green foams and coolants are used. This was very impactful to our ACT label score and allowed us an opportunity to bring this to light during the ACT label scoring process.
Future and Long-Term Impact
"The ACT label certification process helped us value the importance of environmental sustainability as part of our company’s culture – and to keep the culture of 'thinking green' during all decision making."
What positive lessons have you learned through the ACT label certification process that would drive future product development decisions?
The ACT label certification process helped us value the importance of environmental sustainability as part of our company’s culture – and to keep the culture of “thinking green” during all decision making. In particular, we really focused our attention to sourcing raw materials and carefully evaluating our suppliers for their commitment to sustainability as a key element in building more opportunity to bring environmentally friendly practices to our manufacturing.
How does obtaining the ACT certification align with the long-term sustainability objectives of your company and your customers?
Because of the fact that the label is only valid for two years and requires a re-certification when it expires, the ACT label incentivizes us to improve environmental sustainability across the organization and our supply chain so that we can score better in the re-certification process. The ACT label is a powerful tool for Thermo Fisher Scientific to demonstrate our resolute dedication to our mission of enabling our customers to make the world healthier, cleaner and safer.
Learn more about the ACT label and how you can label your products by clicking here!
We are proud to announce that our Green Lab Certification has been selected as a key indicator of progress for the United Nations Climate Change's High Level Climate Champions 2030 Breakthroughs Race to Zero campaign! In the lead up to the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference, our Green Lab Certification program was chosen as a key player to help pharmaceutical and medical tech companies achieve the goal of a zero carbon world by 2050.
Race to Zero is the UN-backed global campaign rallying non-state actors – including companies, cities, regions, financial, educational, and healthcare institutions – to take rigorous and immediate action to halve global emissions by 2030 and deliver a healthier, fairer zero carbon world in time.
During the global pandemic, over 3,000 businesses, 173 of the biggest investors, 733 cities, 31 regions, 622 higher education institutions, and 37 healthcare institutions representing over 3,000 hospitals have joined the largest ever alliance committed to the same overarching goal: reducing emissions across all scopes swiftly and fairly in line with the Paris Agreement, with transparent action plans and robust near-term targets.
As part of this effort to accelerate climate action, the 2030 Breakthroughs campaign shows what key actors must do, and by when, to deliver the systems change we need to achieve a resilient, zero carbon world in time across the 30 sectors of the global economy.
Our Green Lab Certification is the global gold standard for laboratory sustainability best practices and the cornerstone of My Green Lab’s mission to build a global culture of sustainability in science. The program covers 14 topics related to energy, water, waste, chemistry/materials, and engagement, and provides scientists and the teams that support work within laboratories actionable ways to make real and impactful environmental changes. To date, Green Lab Certification has supported nearly 700 labs in a variety of sectors engaging over 4,600 scientists from 29 different countries.
The UNFCCC High Level Climate Champions’ 2030 Breakthroughs outlines three measurable and achievable goals, for the short, medium, and long term that will drive the long term decarbonization across every sector of the global economy. These goals include targeting 20% of sector-specific key actors joining the Race to Zero by 2023; defining sector-specific “Breakthrough Outcomes” that indicate and drive system change by 2030; and sector-specific goals, delivered by 2050 - the net zero future states following these system changes.
The Breakthrough Outcome for the Pharma Sector states, "95% of labs across major pharma and med-tech companies are My Green Lab certified at the green-level by 2030.”
My Green Lab’s Certification program was selected because it is a clear, measurable goal that enables the system change necessary to turn Race to Zero’s vision into a reality in the scientific industry by targeting carbon hotspots and key leverage points.
"AstraZeneca is a proud early supporter of the Race to Zero Campaign and has ambitious targets to be net zero across our global operations by 2025, as well as carbon negative across our entire value chain by 2030. So far, we’ve adopted My Green Lab Certification in over 65 labs around the world. This is a key way in which we are accelerating carbon reduction in healthcare R&D and instilling a culture of sustainability at AstraZeneca,” says Penny James, Chief Operating Officer, Biopharmaceuticals R&D, at AstraZeneca.
Green Lab Certification helps to drive down the impact of research labs, a major driver of carbon impact, while inspiring individuals within those labs to develop a culture of sustainability, creating far reaching impacts. For pharmaceutical and medical tech companies, this cultural shift motivates and informs scientists and laboratory staff as they build the next generation of treatments, ensuring sustainability is integrated into how they produce new products for the market.
Further, Green Lab Certification encourages companies to tackle their Scope 3 emissions (the indirect emissions from their supply chains) by encouraging sustainable purchasing of lab supplies leveraging My Green Lab’s ACT label, the first of its kind eco-nutrition label for laboratory products.
“The High Level Climate Champions’ 2030 Breakthroughs outline a bold, ambitious vision, but these goals must be followed up by concerted action with real impact. Green Lab Certification is a critical tool to drive action on the ground in the industry, and we firmly believe it is possible for all labs globally to go green by 2030 and absolutely necessary if we are going to achieve a long term zero carbon target for the industry,” says James Connelly, My Green Lab’s Chief Executive Officer.
Ready to join us in the race to a zero carbon world?
Learn how your lab can become Green Lab Certified here.