Waste Goals Outnumber Greenhouse Gas Goals; Supply Chain Gets Little Attention
New York City (April 4, 2012) – Green Research, a New York-based corporate sustainability research and advisory firm, today released its latest benchmark of corporate environmental sustainability goals, this one analyzing the medical equipment and supplies industry, a large and profitable industry where the top 10 companies generate over $100 billion in revenue annually. The study found that sustainability in this industry focuses to an exceptional degree on waste management. While only a minority of firms in the industry set public, quantitative sustainability goals, more of those goals are focused on waste management than on any other objective, more even than reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which tops the list in most other industries. “Reducing waste and diverting waste from landfills is a key imperative in this industry,” said David Schatsky, principal analyst and founder of Green Research. “It has even emerged as a new revenue opportunity.” The report highlights two companies, Stryker and BD, that have created businesses that reclaim, reprocess, recycle or remanufacture used medical products, helping hospitals reduce their own waste burden and creating a new revenue stream in the process. But companies are still missing significant opportunities.
The study found that just four of the 10 largest manufacturers of medical equipment and supplies have announced any public environmental sustainability goals at all. It also found that while these companies’ sustainability, citizenship or social responsibility programs are generally concerned not only with environmental issues but also social, ethical and other issues as well, when it comes to setting and disclosing specific, time-bound, quantitative goals, they tend to limit themselves to environmental goals. In the environmental dimension as well as the social dimensions, companies in this industry could go further in setting and declaring specific goals for themselves. The companies covered in the study are Baxter International, BD, Boston Scientific, Covidien, Medtronic, Smith & Nephew, St. Jude Medical, Stryker, Thermo Fisher Scientific and Zimmer Holdings.
Among the other findings: As in many industries, significant environmental impacts in this industry occur outside a company’s four walls, in its supply chain or in customer use or product end of life. Eight-seven percent of the sustainability goals companies have set, however, are focused on internal operations. Setting supply chain sustainability goals is a missed opportunity in this industry. Green Research also benchmarked how the medical equipment makers present information about their sustainability programs on their corporate websites, focusing on six communication elements including the use of the corporate website homepage, sustainability contact information and reporting of key data. Of the measures tracked, Baxter and Medtronic provided the most comprehensive information. Baxter provided all six elements, while Medtronic provided all but one: it did not engage a third-party assurance provider.
The medical equipment and supplies sustainability goals benchmarking research is available online at greenresearch.com. To learn more about the research, please visit greenresearch.com or contact David Schatsky at 646-783-8337 or firstname.lastname@example.org.