Celebrating achievements in sustainability – our green timeline

· Sustainability

Celebrating achievements in sustainability – our green timeline

The myclimate foundation informs businesses how their carbon emissions can be avoided and minimized, and how they can support climate protection projects. Myclimate has supported INTEGRA for several years in continuously monitoring the impact of our global operations according to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. Reports detailing our annual greenhouse gas emissions are available from 2019 to 2023.

We also joined the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) in 2022, a partnership between the Carbon Disclosure Project, the UN Global Compact, the World Resources Institute, and the World Wide Fund for Nature. This organization develops standards, tools and guidance to help companies set greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets, and independently assesses and approves companies’ carbon-reduction goals according to strict criteria. Through this initiative, we have publicly committed to reducing our corporate greenhouse gas emissions across all of the SBTi’s 3 scopes covering different areas of the business.

Scope 1 includes all direct emissions from owned or controlled sources, such as business travel in company cars or the combustion of fuels in heating systems.

Scope 2 includes all indirect emissions from the production of purchased electricity consumed by the company.

Scope 3 includes all other indirect emissions within the supply chain, encompassing upstream processes during the production of raw materials, and downstream processes such as the distribution, use and end-of-life treatment of products.

Our long term goal is to become net zero by 2050 at the latest, and we have set several short term targets to reach by 2030 to support us in achieving this. These include reducing our emissions across all 3 scopes by about 50 percent between 2020 and 2030. In addition, we have committed to using 100 percent renewable electricity sources by 2030. To learn about these targets in more detail, refer to the carbon report of 2023.

INTEGRA’s green timeline – an overview of our road to sustainability

INTEGRA's sustainability roadmap

2019 – Our photovoltaic system in Zizers, Switzerland, was extended

Our campus in Zizers, Switzerland, has been our headquarters since 2009. The buildings here boast excellent insulation values, are heated and cooled using fossil-free heat pumps, and have been equipped with a photovoltaic system since we moved in. The surplus electricity generated by the system is fed into the local grid and, if needed, INTEGRA purchases additional energy generated through Swiss hydropower. This means that the entire headquarters complex has run exclusively on renewable energy since 2009. In 2019, the site was extended, allowing us to build an even bigger photovoltaic system of around 830 m2, which is capable of producing 106,000 kWh per year.

2020 – A new sustainability coordinator position was created

In 2020, we welcomed our first in-house sustainability coordinator, Dr Ursula Leuthold, who is responsible for driving our many sustainability projects. Ursula holds a master’s degree in biology, a PhD in immunology, and postgraduate education in business administration. She originally joined INTEGRA in 2007, and her active engagement in environmental politics from a young age means that she is ideal for this role.

2020 – ECO Racks were launched to reduce plastic consumption

Single-use plastics make up most of our greenhouse gas emissions for the manufacture of products. This is why we launched the ECO Rack GRIPTIPS® for handheld pipettes in 2020. They contain 60 percent less plastic and have half the carbon footprint than our alternative racks for handheld pipette tips and help to reduce manufacturing emissions. Launching the ECO Rack meant that we could reduce CO2 emissions generated by the manufacture of pipette tips for handheld devices by 41 percent per million racks sold between 2019 and 2023. 

A graph showing the reduction in carbon emissions generated by handheld pipette tip manufacture from 2019 to 2023.
ECO Rack pipette tips have enabled INTEGRA to reduce the CO2 emissions generated by manufacturing tips for handheld pipettes by 41 % per million racks sold from 2019 to 2023. 

2021 – Photovoltaic plant commissioned in Hudson, US

We installed 1500 bifacial solar cells on the buildings at our US campus in Hudson, New Hampshire, in 2021. The cells are capable of producing 640,000 kWh per year, and are expected to produce more than 16 million kWh in their service lifetime.

2022 – Air freight of pipette tips reduced

In 2021, the transport of raw materials and products accounted for 46 percent of our corporate CO2 emissions, and 75 percent of this was attributed to the transport of GRIPTIPS pipette tips alone. Reducing pipette tip-related transport emissions therefore became one of our main priorities. Historically, all our GRIPTIPS for European customers were produced in the US, shipped to our headquarters in Switzerland by plane or boat, and then distributed to our subsidiaries, distributors and customers in other countries. Starting in 2022, we began reducing the number of pipette tips shipped from the US using air freight, as this mode of transport generates approximately 250 times more carbon emissions than shipping by sea. Although this was challenging during the COVID-19 pandemic, we still managed to reduce the annual volume of goods transported by air freight from the US to Switzerland from 436 t in 2021 to 207 t in 2023 by transporting goods by boat instead – 229 t less!

2023 – ISO 14001 certification received and SBTi reduction targets validated

We have incorporated sustainability requirements into all of our processes, which are checked and continuously improved. Multiple sustainability criteria also play a large role in the selection of our suppliers and in life cycle analyses carried out during product development. We were extremely proud to receive ISO 14001 certification for our comprehensive environmental management system in 2023! The short- and long-term emissions reduction targets for scopes 1 to 3 described at the beginning of this article were also validated by the SBTi in August 2023, giving us the green light.

2023 – All production facilities transitioned to exclusively renewable electricity 

Our Swiss headquarters have run exclusively on renewable energy since 2009. In 2023, we added a further 3000 m2 of photovoltaics onto the additional roof space created by the construction of our new campus. We also switched to a renewable electricity provider for our production site in Hudson in 2023. This allowed us to reduce our absolute direct company emissions by more than half from 2022 to 2023. Our SBTi emission reduction targets stated that we needed to reduce these emissions by 50 percent by 2030, but we have in fact already hit this target, surpassing our milestone 6 years early! 

A graph showing the reduction in INTEGRA’s annual scope 1 and 2 CO2 emissions since 2021.
INTEGRA has already surpassed its 2030 target of reducing its annual scope 1 and 2 COemissions by 50 %, hitting this milestone several years ahead of schedule! 

Of course, we won’t stop there; our long-term goal is to achieve net zero across the whole company. This may take longer to reach in geographical areas where our sales offices are located in rented buildings, as we are not permitted to switch over to renewable heating and electricity sources or make structural changes – such as improving insulation – in these properties. We won’t let that get in the way of our progress though, and we’ll continue to make positive changes wherever we can in other areas of the business to achieve our net zero goal.

2024 – GRIPTIPS to be produced in Europe near to customers 

At the end of 2023, construction of our second tip production facility in Zizers was completed, and manufacturing will begin later in 2024. Having a production facility in Switzerland will allow us to manufacture our pipette tips for European customers locally, eliminating the need to ship them from the US. This will help to reduce our corporate transport emissions by an estimated 26 percent. More information on the new tip production facility can be found here.

2024 – Sowing native wildflowers

This year we have sown 50 different species of native Swiss flowering plants on the roof of our headquarters in Zizers, making the most of areas without photovoltaics. This will contribute to the area’s biodiversity and will play an important role in supporting local ecosystems.

2025 and beyond…

To drive down our emissions even more, our strategy is to continue our defossilization journey by further reducing the amount of plastic used during consumables manufacturing.

We’re extremely proud of what we have achieved so far, but we aren’t going to slow down! INTEGRA is dedicated to sustainable science, and we have plenty more plans on the horizon to further shrink our carbon footprint. Watch this space to find out about our upcoming efforts and see how they will support us in maintaining green business practices.