Sustainability is at the heart of Cytiva's strategy. We know that we can advance and accelerate the next generation of therapeutics while pursuing ambitious sustainability goals.
And to meet those goals, we are transitioning from a linear approach (take, make, waste model) to a circular one (where waste is minimised because everything is transferred and used somewhere else). How do we get there? We design out waste and carbon emissions, keep products and materials in use when possible.
Applying this concept goes beyond the 3 R’s of reduce, reuse and recycle – it’s a paradigm shift in how we conduct our business. A circular approach actively improves the environment – something Cytiva and its customers care about deeply.
Cytiva has put significant efforts into designing innovative products with reduced environmental impact. The result is the "Design for Sustainability" (DfS) framework, a tool ensuring that sustainability is considered at every stage of a product's life.
Initially piloted in R&D for early-stage new product introductions (NPIs) in 2022, the DfS framework guided teams in selecting and sourcing materials, reviewing manufacturing processes, optimising packaging materials and logistics, rethinking use, and eventually revising disposal options.
This was a shift in our design process, and now all new products are developed according to the DfS framework. Companies must use resources wisely at each stage of the product lifecycle, making sustainability a core part of their culture.
Now let’s look beyond product design and see how we’ve applied the same concepts to our entire value chain.
For Cytiva, good sustainability performance is a criterion for doing business with us. For the past two years, our Swedish sites received Platinum in EcoVadis’ global sustainability ranking. We also reached a milestone where 1000 of our suppliers have completed their EcoVadis assessments.
Today, our green spend reflects 30% of our purchasing spend — comprising top performers in our sustainability assessments. This index will inform future sourcing decisions and direct our spending to suppliers who share our commitment.
Vendors are increasingly using sustainability performance to assess suitability of manufacturers increasingly even before assessing that manufacturer’s product details. For example, carbon reduction requirements are being written into Supplier Codes of Conduct.
It is a key differentiator if both vendors provide solutions that are relatively equal.
Cytiva is incorporating the Danaher Business System (DBS), a system of continuous improvement, into its operational toolkit at manufacturing sites, to improve processes around waste, energy management, and water stewardship. By taking this approach, we have seen significant improvements at several sites:
- Singapore reduced water consumption by 8.6%
- Tonglu identified electricity reductions of 9%
- Westborough shredded and recycled 8418 kgs of their own plastic film waste
- Dassel identified a 22.5% waste reduction opportunity
We have also focused on reducing our carbon footprint in operations where possible. We are actively shifting to renewable electricity at manufacturing sites.
Our goal is to have 100% of our sites powered by renewable electricity by 2025. Our site in Umeå, Sweden is the first site to become fossil-free by installing geothermal heating that uses bore hole energy storage for heating and cooling.
By the end of this year, we expect to hit 90% of our overall target.
Distribution – shifting from air to ocean transport
At Cytiva, 95% of our emissions are Scope 3*, which means they occur outside of our immediate operations. The two subcategories with the highest emissions are: inbound shipping of raw materials from suppliers and outbound shipping to customers.
So how do we ship sustainably and ensure our products are delivered safely and on-time? One way we are doing that is by shifting from air transport to ocean transport for shipping.
Ocean transport has a significantly smaller carbon footprint but is slower. Therefore, collaboration with customers and suppliers to plan for longer shipment times are key if we are all going to win here.
Packaging – reducing plastic in packaging
We know we must reduce our reliance on plastic packaging by switching to sustainable alternatives for tape, labels, bubble wrap, void fill, and shrink wrap. We piloted a successful plastic reduction program in Sweden and Singapore and are rolling out the program across all of our distribution centers.
We are also in the process of eliminating polystyrene from all secondary packaging. Working with TemperPack, Cytiva rolled out ClimaCell liners, which are made primarily with renewable paper and corn starch.
The liners maintain the necessary low temperatures needed to ship many of our products. By 2025, Cytiva plans to eliminate 60 000 polystyrene boxes from its distribution chain per year, a savings of ~2300m3 or 71 shipping containers.
At times, opportunities to minimise plastic waste are more straightforward than one might expect. By employing the DBS tools available to us, the Qualification Services Operations team sought out areas with excess plastic waste.
They swiftly discovered that removing plastic dividers from the IQOQ binders could save over two tons of plastic and 16 tons of CO2 by reducing shipping weight while also significantly reducing production time. The team is also exploring electronic document delivery where feasible.
Use – improving customer workflow
Globally, over 5.5 tons of laboratory plastic is used and discarded annually*. Reducing plastic consumption is vital for long-term environmental sustainability.
Cytiva tackled this issue by modifying and refining an existing customer workflow for high recovery of purified recombinant monoclonal antibodies using filter plates.
The antibody production process is intricate and time-consuming, involving a multi-step workflow that combines various chromatography techniques and filtration steps.
By thoroughly analysing and focusing on specific stages of the workflow, we succeeded in making the process more efficient, enhancing the quality and yield of target molecules, while using seven times fewer consumables.
Disposal – recycling plastic waste at customer sites
Cytiva understands that our dedication to sustainability can’t end when our customers receive our products. We're constantly striving to find ways to lower our and our customer’s environmental footprints.
Each year Cytiva produces over 25 million syringe filters, which serve various purposes, from healthcare to monitoring air pollution levels. The use of these filters generates plastic waste equivalent to the sise of a checkers game piece each time one is used.
Cognisant of the environmental ramifications of sending plastic waste to landfills, Cytiva partnered with TerraCycle, a trailblazing recycler focused on eliminating waste.
Working together, we recycle filtration devices using the Zero Waste Box programme. Filtrations devices are collected at customers sites, shipped to TerraCycle, and processed into recycled material suitable for use in composite decking, shipping pallets and compression molding.
The program expanded worldwide in 2023, enabling customers in the pharmaceutical, food and beverage, municipal water, and bioethanol sectors in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and the UK to recycle their Cytiva filtration devices.
Collaboration across the entire value chain
A successful sustainability program requires collaboration across the supply chain.
By incorporating sustainability from the outset, we gain a holistic view of how we can minimise our environmental impact, from raw materials through customer use and end-of-life considerations.
It also allows us to better understand and manage resources, and partner with like-minded organisations.
No one organisation can do it alone, we must always be looking for ways to collaborate to advance sustainability.
Ryan Walker is Sustainability Program Leader at Cytiva