Our Sustainability Journey

Our Sustainability Journey

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Our Initiatives

Thorlabs supports the efforts of The Nature Conservancy (TNC)
of New Jersey, which holds the indispensable task of preserving
the area’s waterways and wildlife habitats.

Product Packaging

  • All new products undergo a sustainable packaging analysis
  • We are reimagining our fiber, cable, and optics packaging and implementing recycling and return programs for product packaging
  • All products include disposal or reuse instructions

Manufacturing and Facilities

  • We conduct an annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions survey
  • Energy efficient solutions are evaluated and
    implemented in all new manufacturing facilities
  • We use native plants and rain gardens in our landscaping and maintain trails nearby


  • We offer a "Ship Complete" option to reduce the
    number of packages shipped from a single order
  • We are transitioning from plastic packing materials
    to paper wherever appropriate
  • We are testing reusable containers for intercompany shipments

Energy Use

  • We are transitioning to 100% renewable energy in our
    largest Newton, New Jersey facility
  • Our virtual IT services save 167 metric tons of carbon
    dioxide equivalent (MTCO2e) annually
  • We have seven dual onsite electric car charging stations at our new HQ building

Making an Impact


We work to improve the efficiency of our manufacturing processes and operations to better serve our customers and work toward our vision of providing net good for our planet.


We give back to the community by providing financial support for organizations focused on sustainability and offering PTO for employees to make an impact! Many of our locations are walkable, bikeable, and/or connected to trails and nature areas.


We share our customers' commitment to a sustainable future. We are dedicated to providing necessary photonics tools and technologies while simultaneously reducing our global carbon footprint.


We are developing employee-led volunteer Green Teams that will evaluate and implement sustainability ideas put forth by peers. Sustainable practices are woven into our employee and work culture.

We have the ability and responsibility to put our environmental and social sustainability values into practice. We recognize and accept the responsibility to improve the efficiency and impact of our manufacturing and distribution practices and to develop a sustainable lifecycle for our products.  


We will reduce current greenhouse gas (GHG) and baseline emissions by 50% by 2024.


By 2030, we will switch to 60% renewable electricity, reduce operational waste by 50%, and 95% of our product packaging will be sustainable.


We are committed to reducing GHG emissions to net zero and converting to 100% renewable electricity by 2050.

More than Net Zero: Our ultimate goal is to be a net good for the planet.

A Letter from Our Leaders

The world can’t wait. If there was any doubt, the 2021 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report made it clear we are facing an imminent and existential threat to the enduring health and wellbeing of the earth and all living beings who call this planet home. As sea levels rise, weather patterns intensify, and the unique and beautiful diversity of our natural world shrinks species by species, many of us have felt grief and fear for our collective future.

We must turn that emotion into action. As the owners of Thorlabs, a privately held and family-owned company, we have the privilege and responsibility to put our environmental sustainability values into practice. We know that we do not stand alone and that many of you deeply hold these beliefs as well.

While we’ve implemented some sustainable practices over the years at Thorlabs, including a recent and ongoing shift to more sustainable product packaging as well as enhanced environmental standards in our manufacturing facilities, we know there is still more work to be done.

We will be embarking on an ambitious environmental sustainability journey over the next few years. It is our goal to build a transparent, science-based roadmap to a resilient and regenerative future – we have a bold vision for Thorlabs in which we accomplish net good for the planet, not just offset our negative impact to achieve net-zero.

Our hope is that our company’s journey to more sustainable practices helps create a safer and more equitable environment for all – we know that climate change and environmental racism disproportionally impact communities of color and indigenous people. Our commitment to inclusion and racial justice is tied to our commitment to environmental and climate justice.

As a manufacturer, we know that our current business practices produce greenhouse gas emissions and material waste. But as a vertically integrated company, we are uniquely positioned to identify the full scope of our supply chain, the impact it has on the planet, and to transform our business to support a resilient future.

In addition, we will look for collaborations and partnerships where our products and technologies may be part of the solution – from environmental monitoring and sensing to renewable energy and carbon capture. As technologists, engineers, and scientists, we believe in the transformative potential of human ingenuity.

In the months to come, we will be developing and publicly communicating a clear, auditable, and inclusive strategy to ensure responsible practices at Thorlabs that will positively impact our global communities. The work begins now – we hope you will join us.

Jenn Cable, President & Alex Cable, Founder and CEO
Thorlabs, Inc.

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