Research Models & Services Sustainability Initiatives

Sustainability, one of the four pillars of Charles River’s Corporate Social Responsibility program, is an initiative that has been woven into many facets of our global operations. It ensures that regardless of location or function, we will continuously strive to identify and adopt measurable approaches to minimizing our global environmental footprint.

planet earth inside a raindrop closeup on a green leaf

Within our animal production facilities, we have implemented several green initiatives focused on sustainable production, operations, and delivery. Click on each of the tabs below to learn more.

Sustainable production focuses on the various methods, including breeding, packing, and shipping, that we employ to efficiently maintain our animal colonies while minimizing our environmental footprint. As a result of this focused effort in 2017, which included integrating several key sustainability initiatives into our research model business, Charles River exceeded our organization’s global carbon reduction goal.

Initiative Summary Green Impact
Space Utilization Underutilized breeding rooms were populated with high-demand models, thus allowing our production facilities to increase their breeding and capacity efficiencies. This initiative has resulted in a reduction in structural footprint and energy usage as well as lowered our inbound carbon emissions for key raw materials (e.g., feed, bedding). 506 MT CO2e reduction
Waste Reduction Our GnotoSafe® Shipping (GSS) container was redesigned to increase capacity by 50% and be recyclable. This modification greatly reduced the waste output associated with disposal of caging and cardboard boxes. Further, by changing to more durable safety gloves, glove changes due to wear and ensuing waste were reduced dramatically.
  • 100% recyclable containers
  • 50% reduction in glove waste

Note: MT CO2e = Metric Tons of Carbon Dioxide Equivalents

Over the past several years, there have been key site-specific projects that have combined green technology with systems and equipment updates to further minimize our environmental impact.

Initiative Summary Green Impact
Structural Enhancements Several production sites have undergone structural and equipment enhancements such as LED lighting retrofits, data center upgrades, and demand control ventilation installation that resulted in a substantial carbon footprint reduction. ~2,000 MT CO2e reduction
Operational Waste Initiatives Several of our animal facilities have implemented measures to repurpose, recycle, and reuse animal waste. For example, by donating clean bedding waste to local farms for use as fertilizer, we are able to minimize waste to landfill and incineration. 2,274 MT of waste diverted (954 MT CO2e diverted)

Note: MT CO2e = Metric Tons of Carbon Dioxide Equivalents

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the transportation sector generates the largest share of greenhouse gas emissions (, 2018). At Charles River, because we deliver approximately 95% of our animals via ground transportation, it was critical that we assessed this system’s impact on the environment.

Through data collected by working with an industry leader in supply chain planning and analytics, we were able to assess our carbon emissions impact and assign a goal for its reduction. To meet this goal, we have developed a new delivery system that takes account of factors such as delivery run times, fuel consumption, hi and low-use routes, and sequential routing options. We estimate that this new delivery system will reduce our CO2 emissions by approximately 6.5% while maintaining the flexible delivery options necessary for you to conduct research.

Factor Summary Summary of Findings* New System Estimated Reduction
CO2 Emissions Emissions were based on total consumption of fossil fuels (gasoline and diesel), vehicle type, and total miles driven. 4,019 MT CO2e reduction 6.5% (~261 MT CO2e reduction)

* Findings based on transportation data collected in 2017
Note: MT CO2e = Metric Tons of Carbon Dioxide Equivalents