The importance of corporations in addressing environmental challenges has never been greater in a world where climate change is having an increasingly negative impact. Thermo Fisher Scientific, a global leader in providing scientific solutions for healthcare and life sciences, has taken substantial steps towards reducing its greenhouse gas emissions and aligning its operations with a more sustainable future.
Founded in 2006 through the merger of Thermo Electron and Fisher Scientific, Thermo Fisher Scientific has a rich history of innovation in the scientific community. The company's commitment to addressing climate change reflects the broader trend of businesses recognising their responsibility to mitigate their environmental impact. In this article, we will delve into Thermo Fisher Scientific's climate initiatives, explore their recent greenhouse gas emissions goals, and assess how the company is making strides towards a more sustainable and environmentally responsible future.
The Evolution of Climate Goals
Thermo Fisher Scientific embarked on its climate journey in 2019 when it first set its Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals. At the time, the company aimed to reduce these emissions by 30% by 2030. These initial targets were ambitious and underscored the company's dedication to combating climate change. Thermo Fisher's leadership recognised the urgency of addressing climate issues and the need to align its operations with a low-carbon future.
Fast forward to recent developments, and Thermo Fisher Scientific has raised the bar even higher. Instead of aiming for a 30% reduction in Scope 1 and 2 operating emissions by 2030, the company now aspires to achieve a reduction of more than 50% by the same year. This significant adjustment in their goals reflects not only their commitment to sustainability but also the remarkable progress they have made towards their original targets. Thermo Fisher's ability to set more ambitious goals is a testament to the dedication and achievements of its team members and the investments that underpin its evolving climate strategy.
A Holistic Approach: Adding Scope 3 Emissions
Thermo Fisher Scientific's dedication to addressing climate change transcends traditional boundaries. Beyond its direct operational emissions, which fall under Scope 1 and 2, the company has boldly ventured into the realm of Scope 3 emissions as part of its climate commitments. Scope 3 emissions encompass the indirect emissions associated with a company's entire value chain, spanning the emissions generated by suppliers, customers, and the entire lifecycle of its products and services.
The inclusion of Scope 3 emissions in Thermo Fisher's climate goals signifies a fundamental shift in the company's approach to environmental responsibility. It acknowledges that corporate sustainability extends far beyond the confines of its own operations. Rather, it encompasses a comprehensive assessment of the ecological footprint left by the entirety of its activities, from the initial stages of production to the final use and disposal of its products.
Why Scope 3 Matters
Scope 3 emissions are often considered the "hidden emissions" within a company's carbon footprint. They are indirect and encompass a vast and interconnected web of carbon-intensive activities that are integral to the broader supply chain and customer usage of a company's offerings. These emissions are challenging to quantify and control, making them a critical focus for organizations committed to environmental sustainability.
Thermo Fisher Scientific's decision to incorporate Scope 3 emissions into its climate commitments demonstrates a profound understanding of the interconnectedness of environmental impacts. It recognizes that the consequences of its operations extend far beyond its own facilities, affecting ecosystems, communities, and economies at multiple points along the value chain. By addressing Scope 3 emissions, Thermo Fisher acknowledges its broader environmental responsibilities and its role in mitigating the ecological effects of its products and services.
The Comprehensive Nature of Scope 3 Emissions
Suppliers play a pivotal role in a company's carbon footprint. Emissions associated with the production and transportation of raw materials, components, and products sourced from suppliers contribute significantly to Scope 3 emissions. Thermo Fisher's commitment to working with suppliers to set science-based emission reduction targets represents a proactive approach to mitigating this portion of its carbon footprint. The use of Thermo Fisher's products and services by customers can also contribute to emissions. For example, laboratory equipment and consumables may consume energy during their operational life. By optimizing product design and promoting more energy-efficient usage, the company can reduce emissions associated with customer usage.
The disposal and end-of-life management of products and services can generate emissions. Thermo Fisher can address this aspect by considering the recyclability and environmental impact of its products and by exploring circular economy models that minimize waste and emissions. Addressing Scope 3 emissions requires a multifaceted approach that involves not only quantifying and reducing emissions but also fostering collaboration and accountability throughout the value chain. Thermo Fisher's commitment to working with 90% of its suppliers by 2027 to establish science-based emission reduction goals exemplifies this collaborative spirit.
Furthermore, transparency and reporting are essential components of Thermo Fisher's approach to Scope 3 emissions. By accurately measuring and disclosing its indirect emissions, the company demonstrates a commitment to accountability and provides stakeholders with a clear picture of its environmental impact.
Renewable Energy Investments: Thermo Fisher Strategy
One of the key strategies Thermo Fisher Scientific is employing to achieve its climate goals is a shift away from fossil fuels and a transition to renewable energy sources. The company recognizes the pivotal role of energy sources in greenhouse gas emissions and is committed to reducing its carbon footprint by adopting cleaner energy alternatives.
To expedite this transition, Thermo Fisher has been actively pursuing renewable electricity for its facilities. In a recent milestone achievement, the company announced an agreement with Enel, a leading global renewable energy provider. This partnership will enable Thermo Fisher to source 50% of its electricity needs in the United States from renewable energy sources. This shift to cleaner energy not only reduces the company's carbon emissions but also supports the growth of renewable energy infrastructure.
Partnering with Suppliers for Sustainable Practices
Thermo Fisher Scientific understands that achieving its climate goals requires a collaborative effort, extending beyond its own operations. A crucial aspect of this collaboration involves working closely with its suppliers. The company has set an ambitious target to collaborate with 90% of its suppliers by 2027 to establish science-based goals for reducing Scope 3 emissions.
By partnering with its suppliers, Thermo Fisher aims to influence and encourage sustainable practices across its supply chain. This approach not only helps reduce emissions associated with the production and transportation of materials and components but also fosters a culture of sustainability throughout its network of suppliers.
CEO Perspective: Marc N. Casper's Commitment
The commitment to climate action at Thermo Fisher Scientific is not just a corporate strategy; it's embedded in the company's leadership as well. Marc N. Casper, the CEO of Thermo Fisher Scientific, has been a vocal advocate for sustainability and environmental responsibility. He recognizes that achieving the company's climate goals is a collective effort, and he credits the dedication of the entire team at Thermo Fisher for their progress.
Casper emphasizes the significance of the company's net-zero carbon emissions goal, stating, "Our net-zero goal shows that Thermo Fisher as a whole is committed to protecting the environment." The fact that the company achieved its intermediate goals ahead of schedule is a testament to the hard work of its team members and the foundational investments in their ongoing climate strategy.
Global Impact: Thermo Fisher's Commitment to the 1.5°C Pathway
Thermo Fisher Scientific's new greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal aligns with global efforts to limit temperature rise. By targeting a reduction of more than 50% by 2030, the company aims to meet its commitment to the Business Ambition to 1.5°C campaign. This campaign seeks to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, a critical threshold identified in the Paris Agreement as essential to preventing catastrophic climate change.
Thermo Fisher's commitment to the 1.5°C pathway underscores its dedication to being part of the solution to climate change. By setting and striving for ambitious climate goals, the company is taking proactive steps to align with the climate strategies outlined in international agreements and initiatives.
Science-Based Targets Initiative
To further solidify its commitment to climate action, Thermo Fisher Scientific has submitted its climate goals for approval to the Science-Based Targets Initiative. This initiative, a partnership between CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project), the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute (WRI), and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), verifies and approves corporate emissions reduction targets based on scientific evidence.
Thermo Fisher's involvement in the Science-Based Targets Initiative underscores the company's commitment to adopting climate goals that are grounded in scientific rigor. It ensures that its emissions reduction targets are in line with what the latest climate science indicates is necessary to prevent the worst impacts of climate change.
Thermo Fisher Scientific's climate journey exemplifies the evolving role of corporations in addressing climate change. With its history of innovation and its commitment to sustainability, the company is making significant strides in reducing its greenhouse gas emissions, aligning its operations with renewable energy sources, and collaborating with suppliers for more sustainable practices. Thermo Fisher's expanded focus on Scope 3 emissions demonstrates its holistic approach to environmental responsibility.
The leadership of CEO Marc N. Casper and the dedication of the entire Thermo Fisher team underscore the importance of corporate leadership in combating climate change. By setting more ambitious climate goals and striving to achieve them ahead of schedule, Thermo Fisher Scientific is positioning itself as a role model for other companies, demonstrating that sustainability and profitability can go hand in hand.
As the company continues on its path towards a more sustainable and climate-resilient future, its commitment to the 1.5°C pathway and its involvement in the Science-Based Targets Initiative reinforce its dedication to making a meaningful and science-backed impact in the fight against climate change. Thermo Fisher Scientific serves as a beacon
Our Directors’ Institute- World Council of Directors can help you accelerate your board journey by training you on your roles and responsibilities to be carried out in an efficient manner helping you to make a significant contribution to the board and raise corporate governance standards within the organization.