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!