In today's world, global communities are facing serious sustainability challenges that are impacting our societies, economies, and the environment with far-reaching consequences for every individual, company, or nation. To combat such challenges, sustainable development is critical. Corporations can play a big and bold role in helping build a more sustainable future, protecting our planet, and ultimately us.

What do we mean by 'sustainability' and 'sustainable development'?

The three pillars of sustainability are:

  1. Environmental Sustainability: Natural resources consumed and replenished at an equitable rate.
  2. Economic Sustainability: Ensuring communities' access to resources required to meet their needs.
  3. Social Sustainability: Human rights and basic necessities attainable by all.

These ideas come together in the phrase 'sustainable development' which, broadly defined, refers to meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Sustainable development should be an international corporation endeavour for the preservation of human welfare, the environment, ecology, and global economies.

Sustainable development goalsIn 2015, the United Nations introduced 17 Sustainable Development Goals

The importance of global sustainable development

Sustainability challenges will impact the lives of future generations. To combat such challenges, sustainable development is crucial. For example, everybody should have access to safe and clean drinking water – an essential resource to life. Other key examples are tackling climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and helping end world poverty.

How organizations can pave the way toward a sustainable future

Achieving SDGs requires collaborative partnerships across many institutions such as governments, private organizations, as well as among individual citizens within their communities. For organizations, adopting more long-term sustainable business goals over time is fundamental to prioritizing sustainability-friendly operational procedures and forward-thinking innovations.

To determine and scale their sustainability initiatives, companies may choose to evaluate key business factors including:

  • What an 'appropriate' contribution to society is on their behalf.
  • The opportunities, risks, and future trends that could impact the company and its stakeholders.
  • The company's existing capabilities and how new targets accelerate towards a sustainable future.

Agilent's role in building a more sustainable future for the planet

Agilent's 2019 Pharma Lab Leaders SurveyAgilent's sustainability work touches many of the UN SDGs.
Agilent's 2019 Pharma Lab Leaders SurveyCarport solar system, at the Agilent site in Lexington, MA.

Innovative advancements from Agilent are propelling us towards a much more sustainable future. Agilent's work touches many of the UN SDGs. Discover more from our most recent Corporate Social Responsibility report.

A key example of how Agilent contributes to industry, innovations, and infrastructure (UN SDG #9), as well as climate action (UN SDG #13), is demonstrated by the newly installed SunPower Solar Photovoltaic System at the Lexington, MA site. This carport solar system provides 38% of the power consumed by the site and is specially designed to reduce snow load and improve stormwater management.

Similarly, in Singapore, Agilent is introducing an energy-reducing solar project. The 2.5 MW system with 6767 solar panels will provide 21% of the Agilent Singapore site power.

Sustainable innovation in laboratories

Not only is Agilent dedicated to achieving SDGs, but we are also passionate about supporting our customers through sustainable innovation. In a recent global Pharma Lab Leaders Survey, 87% of lab managers within large pharma indicated that sustainability goals are important in terms of how their labs are run. Furthermore, 68% of pharma labs reported that further work is required to achieve their sustainability goals.

To support sustainable innovation in laboratories, Agilent has recently become a top-level sponsor of My Green Lab, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving sustainability of scientific research. Agilent is now working with My Green Lab to have their instruments independently audited for the organization's Accountability, Consistency, and Transparency (ACT) label. The ACT label provides information about the environmental impact of manufacturing, using and disposing of a product and its packaging, enabling purchasers to make better informed, sustainable choices.

Sustainability via innovative R&D and manufacturing at the forefront of Agilent products

  • Intuvo 9000 GC - requires less than half the electrical power of a conventional GC.
  • IDP Scroll Pumps - are oil-free, compact, quiet, high-performance vacuum pumps.
  • 4210 MP-AES - runs on air, eliminating flammable or oxidizing gases.

Agilent's mission is to advance the quality of life, and so sustainability is an important part of meeting that mission. We strive to consistently improve sustainability within our operations, and also through our innovative products and technologies that address complex issues in a sustainable way.


  • Read how Agilent supports its customers through sustainable innovation in our infographic and press release.
  • Visit Agilent's Awards page for more insights into our global sustainability achievements.