12 Steps to a Green Chemicals Score

Oct 4, 2019 11:20 AM ET
Article

SOMETIMES a task can seem too daunting. That’s how we at the life science business of Merck felt when we repeatedly got requests for lifecycle analysis (LCA) for our products. You may be saying, “Yes, they’re detailed, but come on.” Well, doing LCAs for more than 300,000 products isn’t an easy task. Was there a better way to tackle these requests?

The idea for an improved framework came to me after reading a story about how Nike was equipping its designers with tools to think with a more environmentally friendly mindset when designing shoes. Since Nike has a competitive environment, it turned this task into a competition as well. The company designed apparel and was then asked if it could do it better. I stepped back and thought, if they could do that, why couldn’t we? We’re not having any monumental scientific competition or anything, but if I’ve learned anything over 15 years in the life sciences, it’s that scientists and data go well together.

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