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Agilent commits to net-zero emissions by 2050

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Agilent Technologies, which employs about 1,000 at its Little Falls campus, has committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050. | DBT PHOTO BY JACOB OWENS

WILMINGTON — Agilent Technologies, a developer of equipment and software for laboratories with a large Delaware workforce, announced Wednesday that it is committing to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions no later than 2050.

Agilent is one of Delaware’s 50 largest employers, with about 1,000 employees working at a Little Falls campus just west of Wilmington city limits. The Delaware operations focus on the $46 billion, publicly traded company’s chemical analysis business.

The net-zero announcement, timed just before the start of the COP26 global climate change summit in Glasgow, U.K., upholds the goal of the 2015 Paris Agreement, when governments, corporations, and other institutions agreed to limit warming of the climate to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

In making the commitment, Agilent joins other major Delaware employers that have made the same or similar goals, including DuPont, AstraZeneca, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Barclays, Amazon, Proctor & Gamble, and Johnson Controls.

To hit the net-zero goal, Agilent announced interim greenhouse gas reduction targets of 50% in direct sources and 30% in indirect sources from a base year of 2019 by the end of this decade. To accomplish those targets, Agilent will continue to invest in renewable energy and focus on three areas where its carbon footprint is greatest: purchased goods and services, sold products, and transportation and distribution, the company said.

“These goals are a starting point. As we learn more and technologies evolve, we intend to enhance and expand our commitment,” added Neil Rees, vice president of workplace services and head of Agilent’s ESG programs, in a statement.

Since Agilent’s creation in 2000, spinning out of Hewlett Packard, the company has reported on its progress in reducing energy, waste, water, and carbon dioxide emissions every year. It has reduced its direct carbon dioxide emissions by 22% since 2014.

“Agilent has been committed to sustainability and environmental protection since our founding,” President and CEO Mike McMullen said in a statement. “This commitment to net zero is consistent with our history and our mission of delivering insights that advance the quality of life. Agilent, with our culture of innovation, is in a strong position to contribute important solutions to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

“Our commitment to net zero isn’t just the ‘right thing’ to do. It’s aligned with our core business objectives as well,” he added.

Agilent has focused on environmentally conscious product design in recent years, engineering instruments to be more sustainable from product design and manufacturing to usage and disposal. It was one of the first companies in its class to be independently audited for the environmental impact of some of its largest product lines, including liquid and gas chromatography products and mass spectrometers.

Several Agilent products have already received the My Green Lab Accountability, Consistency, and Transparency (ACT) label, which provides customers important information on the environmental footprint of products. For seven consecutive years, Agilent has been named one of the Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World and has ranked in the top three of Barron’s 100 Most Sustainable Companies for three consecutive years.

“We view our commitment to net zero as an important and serious initiative that will influence all aspects of our business,” McMullen said. “We believe our approach that includes interim targets, planned third party reviews, and a robust set of processes to ensure we achieve net zero by 2050 is substantive, thorough and methodically designed to achieve our goals.”

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