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Our Technical Services Laboratory is “Green” — and we’re proud of our commitment to environmental sustainability

environmental sustainability team

Our Corporate Central Laboratory located in Puslinch, Ontario is the first laboratory in Canada to receive “Green” Status in the My Green Lab (MGL) Certification Program, the highest level of certification!

By Maple Leaf Foods Sustainability Committee, Technical Services, and Central Laboratory

My Green Lab (MGL) is an international, non-profit organization, which offers sustainability certification for laboratories, worldwide. It’s a global community of scientists and laboratory professionals that are actively working to reduce the environmental impact of their laboratory’s operations. It’s also recognized by the United Nations (UN) and is a partner with the UN’s Climate Change High-Level Champions team.

The Laboratory Certification program was selected as a Breakthrough Outcome for the UN-backed “Race to Zero” campaign. This partnership accelerates progress towards achieving the campaign goal of having zero emissions by 2023 and reaching a healthier, more resilient net-zero world by 2050.  The MGL certification program is a key measure of progress towards a zero-carbon future and is considered the gold standard for laboratory sustainability best practices around the world. 

Currently, there are more than 1,300 labs in 38 countries worldwide that are in some stage of the certification process with MGL, and the numbers are increasing! In Canada, there are 45 laboratories registered in the certification program, mainly in the pharma, biotech, and university industries. 

Assessing laboratories’ environmental impact

MGL Certification involves 14 categories that impact environmental sustainability. For the Central Lab, 12 categories were applicable and assessed:

  • Plug Load: equipment plugged into outlets which accounts for 20-25% of the energy used in the lab
  • Fume Hoods: the most energy consumptive equipment in the lab
  • Large Equipment: incubators and vacuum pumps, as well as biological containment cabinets as they have unique energy efficiency considerations
  • Cold Storage: refrigerators, freezers, walk-in cold and freezer rooms – another energy consumptive equipment category
  • Infrastructure Energy: the air handling system that includes 15% of the energy consumed from lighting
  • Water: labs consume 4 times more water than office spaces and 25% is used in regular laboratory processes
  • Waste reduction and recycling: labs generate a lot of waste, especially plastics, which has been estimated at close to 2% of the global plastic production
  • Resource Management: saving resources, time, and money by managing the lab’s material effectively
  • Purchasing: smart purchases with an eye on resource efficiencies helps to reduce our environmental footprint
  • Green Chemistry: using the 12 principles of green chemistry in our protocols, we can reduce the use of hazardous chemicals and processes in our work
  • Community and Engagement: sharing our experiences, methods, and tips with our colleagues worldwide
  • Travel: searching for options for less travel, more virtual meetings, conferences, and meetings to reduce our carbon footprint.

Our mission to achieve environmental sustainability

The MGL certification program has five levels of certification: bronze, silver, gold, platinum, and green. The “Green” certification indicates that 80% or more of assessment actions have been implemented in the laboratory. At our Central Lab – a score of 82% was achieved in October 2022 and we were the first Canadian Lab to achieve this certification and recognition! The Central lab has a “Sustainability Committee” made of staff from both Chemistry and Microbiology labs, committed to leading Technical Services to achieve sustainable development and supporting Maple Leaf Foods’ vision to be the most sustainable protein company on earth.  

We are delighted to join a community of hundreds of labs globally that have been My Green Lab certified! Click here for more information about this program.

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