We believe that we can harness science and technology to help tackle many global challenges. From supplying innovative therapies and empowering scientists around the world to advancing digital living, our business models are oriented around creating both business and societal value. Our goal is to minimize and ultimately exclude negative sustainability impacts – not only during production but also during their use. These efforts also help our customers achieve their own sustainability goals.
Life Science: Reducing environmental impacts throughout the product life cycle
We work to decrease the environmental impacts of our products. This applies to the entire life cycle – from production and use through to the disposal of our products. To reduce the environmental impact of our devices and instruments during their use by customers, we apply our Design for Sustainability (DfS) program. This comprehensive approach keeps sustainability criteria in the foreground during product development, capturing the improvements in a scorecard to help inform customers. When developing a new product, our aim is to improve as many of these criteria scores as possible. Beginning with the concept stage, product teams identify potential environmental impacts and opportunities to make improvements. By the end of 2020, 38% of these product development projects met at least three or more sustainability criteria.
In addition, our scientists are developing innovative solutions in line with the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry developed by chemists Paul T. Anastas and John C. Warner. The objective is to enable research that is as environmentally conscious as possible and to minimize adverse effects on human health. More than 1,100 greener alternatives to conventional products have been made available to date, such as the new bio-based solvent Cyrene™. Derived from waste cellulose, this product serves as an alternative to widely used solvents, which are subject to increasing regulatory restrictions due to their associated toxicity. Cyrene™ was awarded an EU Horizon 2020 grant to expand the production of the material in Europe.
With DOZN®, we developed a web-based quantitative Green Chemistry analysis tool. DOZN® 2.0 now brings new possibilities for sustainable product design to our customers and empowers them with data to make more environmentally friendly choices in their sourcing and development processes.
To ensure that our packaging impacts the environment as little as possible, we developed a sustainable packaging strategy for Life Science called SMASH. We have set four goals: reducing the amount of packaging, achieving zero deforestation, improving plastic sustainability, and maximizing recycling. For instance, thanks to the collaboration with our vendors and customers, we have conducted several product and distribution packaging improvement projects that will cut plastic and corrugated packaging by more than 100 metric tons annually. Additionally, for the shipment of our glass reagent bottles, we have been working continuously to replace expanded polystyrene inserts with molded pulp inserts, which resulted in the use of more than three million molded pulp inserts in 2020.
Performance Materials: Increasing the sustainability of end products
Thanks to our liquid crystal window (LCW) technology, windows can be darkened in a matter of seconds. We commercialize this technology under our eyrise® brand. These darkened windows regulate the heat generated by direct sunlight. Estimates based on planned customer projects show that this technology can reduce the energy consumed by building climate control systems and lighting by up to 10%, thereby replacing conventional shading. In addition, the people behind these windows feel more comfortable and work more efficiently thanks to the positive effects of natural daylight.
Over the past decade, our semiconductor materials customers have been increasing their efforts to use more environmentally sustainable materials in their chip manufacturing, while simultaneously improving the performance of their computer chips at lower costs. We have responded to this challenge by developing next-generation colloidal silica products using at least 30% less colloidal silica. This reduces the volume of product needed, which in turn shrinks our environmental footprint.
In the cosmetics industry, we are addressing the continuing trend towards ingredients that meet stringent sustainability criteria. Our portfolio of fillers eliminates the need for microplastic particles, which are highly resistant to environmental biodegradation, fragment into ever smaller pieces, and do not dissolve in water. Our cosmetic formulations comply with strict criteria. By the end of 2020, 78 of our cosmetic pigments and active ingredients had been certified according to Ecocert’s COSMOS standard for organic and natural cosmetics.
* The contents of this chapter or section are voluntary and therefore not audited. However, our auditor has read the text critically.