Protecting the environment, health and safety has always been a hallmark of QIAGEN. As a pioneer in the effort to eliminate harmful substances and waste products in laboratories throughout the world, we strive to reduce energy and water consumption, and set limits on packaging, waste, and transport. With these efforts, we aim to operate in the most cost efficient and environmentally friendly way possible. As effects and concerns over climate change and dwindling natural resources continue to impact pricing, we will be exposed to fluctuations in costs of these key inputs. By being able to improve our manufacturing efficiencies and limit our dependence on finite resources, we are engaging in active risk management and enhancing the value of our company.
For QIAGEN, commitment to safe, environmentally sound practices comes with a culture of operational excellence – reinforced by training, decision-making and standard procedures. Operations employ a concept called QIAzen, derived from the Japanese word KAIZEN, which means “continuous improvement.” Key employees in Operations have received QIAzen training to identify and prioritize avenues to improve our manufacturing organization, initiate projects, and monitor implementation with cross-functional teams. By constantly optimizing workflows in manufacturing and production, QIAGEN reduces transportation, saves electricity and minimizes other impacts on natural resources.
Energy Consumption and Emissions
QIAGEN regards climate change as one of the most pressing global challenges. To increase transparency regarding our own global energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, QIAGEN recently introduced a systematic approach to sustainability data management. Energy consumption and other parameters are gathered worldwide at all significant sites and monitored at our Hilden headquarters. Currently, our reporting covers direct emissions from combustion of fossil fuels on our own premises as well as indirect emissions from procured electricity and heat.
QIAGEN sites use about the same amount of energy from electricity and heat, as well as a smaller fraction of fuel for our own vehicle fleet. A total of 35.3 GWh of energy has been used by QIAGEN around the globe in 2017.
When it comes to greenhouse gas emissions, QIAGEN emits approximately 30% - or 3.6 kilotons CO2 equivalents (ktCO2e) - directly through natural gas heating and other fossil fuel use. The remaining 70% - about 8.9 ktCO2e - are indirect emissions originating from external generation of electricity for our operations. The total energy use causes greenhouse gas emissions of 12.5 ktCO2e. We calculate greenhouse gas emissions from grid-bound energy sources such as electricity using emission factors for regional production mixes. This method ensures good comparability between different carbon footprints and is also referred to as the “location-based” method.
QIAGEN is committed to reduce its energy consumption and respective CO2-emissions in the long-term and to increase its energy efficiency in a continuous improvement process. To this end, an energy management system has been introduced at our operational headquarter in Hilden, Germany and been certified according to EN ISO 50001:2011 in 2017. We have set ourselves the goal to reduce our energy consumption from electricity and gas by 10% by 2020 compared to 2017.
To meet our goals and limit the footprint of our business on the environment, we have introduced a broad panel of activities and programs. We run simulations to reduce energy consumption and have installed energy recovery and control systems to provide only the minimum of power required for operations. Improvements encompass energy extraction from co-generators, better insulation, heat recovery and installation of intelligent building systems.
In 2011, we opened Europe’s first “green” laboratory complex at our site in Hilden. This state-of-the-art research and production facility has been awarded gold-level certification for sustainable construction by the internationally recognized US quality system LEED. In addition, our German facility in Stockach is certified according to DIN EN 16247, a European norm defining quality standards for energy audits.
As a significant part of the energy consumption associated with our business occurs beyond our own premises, transportation of people and cargo is an additional focus. At QIAGEN’s headquarters, discounted train and bus tickets encourage employees to use public transportation, and we have installed charging stations for electric cars and bikes. The pool of company cars has been changed to ecological and CO2-efficient models in a continuous adjustment process. Low emissions play a critical role in the decision process for new company cars. At most sites, video conferencing systems have been installed to encourage virtual team meetings and reduce travel between sites.