For The Better

Sustainability Q&A with Suneet Chadha

August 17, 2022
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Sustainability in business is more critical than ever. Many companies are setting sustainability goals, taking definitive steps to make their operations for environmentally friendly and working to bring sustainable solutions and products to the market.

In this Q&A, Suneet Chadha, VP & General Manager, Applied Markets at PerkinElmer, discusses how this global company brings sustainable solutions to the market and helps customers advance their sustainability programs.

Q:  How is your team incorporating environmental sustainability into their work?

A:  Around the world, there is a fundamental need to safeguard our environment while also ensuring economic opportunities and the availability of clean water and sufficient food supplies for a growing population. This intersection of business and the environment helps improve the world we live in and addresses some of our biggest challenges, including climate change, water scarcity, soil degradation, and air pollution.

Our team is focused on bringing about this positive environmental change and sustainability through a number of initiatives.

  • We work to create solutions that aid our customers in achieving their own environmental goals, developing new, more sustainable materials and products, producing food and agricultural products, and providing sustainable services.
  • We focus on making our solutions – applications, workflows, and instrumentation – more sustainable whenever possible. That could mean reducing energy consumption and waste, cutting down on needed solvents, or incorporating recycled materials and packaging.
  • We are committed to incorporating environmental sustainability into our mindset and bringing it to our day-to-day activities – as well as recycling, reducing waste, cutting down on energy consumption, etc. – in our offices, homes, and communities.

PerkinElmer is committed to environmental sustainability as part of our ESG program, and we are taking robust actions at our sites around the world to reduce our environmental impact.

Q:  How do you enable customer sustainability?

A:  Our solutions are utilized by customers worldwide to enable sustainable operations and research, which we are highlighting in our Empowering Sustainability initiative. This initiative is focused on celebrating our global collaborations and utilizing our analytical workflow to address some of the most significant environmental sustainability challenges we are currently facing.

Some specific examples of this work include our customers initiatives in researching new battery technologies to support electric vehicles and renewable energy, reusing water to address shortages in drought-prone areas, developing circular economy alternatives for plastics, creating next-generation materials that reduce environmental impact and increase energy efficiency, exploring ways to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and utilizing our food quality solutions to recycle and minimizing waste in food production processes.

Q:  What is Sustainable by Design? How does that benefit customers?

A:  As we investigate new applications, develop new workflow solutions, and create next-generation instrumentation, we are doing so with sustainability as well as analytical outcomes in mind. Minimizing solvent and gas usage, reducing hazardous waste, and optimizing energy usage in our design process results in solutions that enhance both analytical performance and sustainable operations.

In addition, we also look to reduce needed maintenance and increase instrument lifetimes, both of which lessen the amount of waste associated with instrument disposal. Some specific examples are our Avio® Max ICP-OES Systems, which have an argon consumption at least 50% lower than other systems and our OilExpress 4 automation system has up to an 80% reduction in solvent and waste volumes.

Our recently released GC 2400™ Platform not only includes innovative technology to maximize productivity, simplify its operation and provide the highest level of analytical performance; it was also specifically designed with sustainability in mind.  It has a smart gas management feature which reduces gas consumption, can utilize hydrogen as a sustainable alternative carrier gas and with flexibility and smart sampling capabilities can support sustainability lab growth into the future.

When customers implement these solutions in their laboratories, they enhance their analytical capabilities and improve the sustainability of their facility.

Q:  Are there specific customer success stories that you could share?

A:  We work in close collaboration with companies and governments worldwide in many different industries as they look to solve environmental and sustainability challenges. Some highlights from those close associations include:

Q:  Is sustainability impacting the food industry and how is PerkinElmer supporting its customers in that market?

A:  Most food companies are incorporating sustainability into their operations dependent on the products and markets that they serve.  One of the major trends is around transitioning to farming practices for animal protein that reduces the stress on the environment.  For example, the environmental impact from farming is now better understood and this has led to a sharp increase in alternative proteins, cell-based meats, and other alternatives.  Another aspect of this is minimizing waste associated with production processes when possible and looking for alternative uses for previously discarded by-products.  For example, tallow can be taken from the production process and converted to biofuel.  We have equipped customers with analytical instrumentation to understand composition and look for impurities in that process.

Other food producers are looking to reducing the amount of water used to either grow crops and raw ingredients as well as reducing it when it is needed for the final product.  GMOs in farming are used to try and reduce the number of pesticides needed on crops, allow for growth in harsher conditions and better optimize crop yields.  Smart fertilizers are being developed to minimize the amount of chemical nutrients needed while maximizing production.

Overall, the food industry has been very forthcoming and aggressive in its sustainability goals, focusing on everything from water stewardship to smart agriculture, to renewable energy sources and incorporating circular packaging. As an organization, PerkinElmer works closely with our customers to understand their needs and equip them with the right sustainability solutions to help them meet those goals.

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