CASE STUDY: At Life Technologies Quantifiable Benefits Support a Holistic Approach to Sustainability

Life TechnologiesLife Technologies – Dedicated to Accelerating a Sustainable Future.

Life Technologies is a company working on new frontiers in biotechnology, pursuing solutions that will ultimately lead to a more sustainable world. Their products are used to address fundamental challenges, like how we will feed and power the world.

Their story is striking on a number of levels. Through its Global Citizenship approach, the company has generated an impressive commitment to integrating sustainability principles, not only as a part of the company’s stewardship of community, people, science and ethics, but also as a compelling business strategy, with a strong focus on quantifiable benefits.

There are a number of interesting angles we can learn from Life Technologies. At the strategic level, the company has developed a four phase Evolution Model, through which its sustainability program has emerged, a model that we explore in depth in our detailed case study.  Additionally, the company has produced an internal playbook that provides a road map for integrating sustainability principles, and is used by each of Life Technologies’ sites around the world

This structured approach has delivered an impressive range of eco-efficiency achievements. Between 2004 and 2008 Life Technologies delivered 36% reduction in carbon emissions, energy savings of 32%, waste recycling at 23%, and millions of dollars in operational cost savings.

Strategically, this approach has also helped to transform the design of the company’s products, has heavily influenced process innovation, especially in distribution and transportation operations, and resulted in new thinking such as reclamation via a product take-back initiative.

Life Technologies has also discovered, as have many companies that pursue sustainability as a business strategy, the phenomenon of virtuous circles, generating improvements in one area that lead to beneficial impacts in other areas, e.g. reduced packaging means less waste, lower transportation costs and added value to customers.

The quality of sustainability reporting is also very strong, demonstrating visibility, transparency, and with a real sense of what has been done and where the business is going.  There are also some exciting strategic developments, as the company takes up the challenge of moving towards a closed-loop business model.

Follow this link  to download and read the full in-depth case study.
Michael Townsend is the Founder and CEO of Earthshine Solutions.  He is passionate about promoting the benefits of sustainable business, and author of The Rough Guide to Sustainable Business (forthcoming).  Michael is an engineering graduate and MBA: a business transformation leader with over twenty-five years experience in a range of sectors.