12.7 C
New York
Wednesday, March 22, 2023

The World’s Largest Onion: Implementing Sustainability Practices

Boston Scientific provides Med-Tech Innovation News with insights into the areas they have identified to make the company more sustainable.

What areas did you identify that you felt could make the company more sustainable, and how do you define “sustainability”?

We were the first major medical device manufacturer to commit to carbon neutrality by 2030 (in 2017) at our key manufacturing and distribution sites (scope 1 and 2 emissions). We have committed to net zero carbon emissions across our value chain by 2050, joining the United Nations Race to Zero initiative and the Science Based Targets (SBTi) Business Ambition for 1.5 degrees C campaign.

Other information that may be of interest:

  • 68% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions since 2009 (Scope 1 and 2)
  • 46% Boston Scientific is independently certified for energy efficiency by leading industry bodies, including LEED for design and ISO 50001:2018 for building operations, representing more than 4 million square feet
  • 91% of solid waste diverted from landfills
  • 74% of solid waste recycled
  • 73% of electricity consumed generated from renewable sources, exceeding our intermediate goal of 50% by 20212
  • 38% of energy from renewable sources, on track to our goal of 90% by 2027

Was there a review of how the devices were made and how the materials were sourced to help you try and reduce any “carbon footprint” or “waste”?

These are scope 3 emissions, and we are working with our suppliers to reduce emissions outside of our direct control, such as these, as part of our aforementioned commitment to net-zero carbon emissions across our value chain by 2050, having joined the United Nations Race to Zero initiative and the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

Some companies are at the beginning of this journey, how difficult is it to implement a plan to modify practices to make things more “sustainable”?

Going from a linear to a circular economy, where you reuse, recycle, remake, etc., compared to the previous linear economy of take, make, use and dispose, in the world of medical devices is not easy or fast . do.

We need to pay attention to many simple things, like proper waste disposal, extending the shelf life of products, ordering and opening only what we need, and getting to the place where ‘just-in-time’ ordering becomes more organized, before you immediately jump to ‘single use is bad, go reusable’.

We, as manufacturers, have a responsibility to ensure that our products are safe and effective, and that they are made with particular components, in specific formulations, to ensure things like sterility and reliability. What we can do is look at the best way to recycle specific components with a lot of embedded carbon, like precious metals, and look longer term to make sure our polymers don’t get mixed up, for example (unless the product properties don’t can be modified). otherwise insured) and are therefore ‘possible’ to recycle.

We should look to other sectors that are ahead of us for advice, not make assumptions!

This can be called the world’s largest onion, as you peel off one layer and find unintended consequences everywhere. Therefore, look first for simple things like minimizing waste, properly segregating waste, slowing down deliveries, making fewer deliveries, etc.

“The principles of circularity are that you make something, you use it, and the way the health system works is the opposite of circularity” – how do you square that particular circle when it comes to developing and designing new medical technology products? that address health care needs while being sustainable?

We will have to do it right, patient safety is paramount. But we can do better when it comes to breaking down components and recycling them and reducing wasteful practices and habits in our healthcare systems, looking through the lens of sustainability!

Companies may not have developed their products and ideas with sustainability and reuse in mind. Does this mean that manufacturers like yourselves had to look beyond best manufacturing practices…for example, a change in business model?

We have developed them with patient safety and reliability in mind. Now we need to overlay that with a sustainability lens and see where we can achieve all three. Patient safety first. We have to go through huge regulatory and clinical trial hurdles to bring a product to market, you can’t ‘change’ it overnight!

Recycling is often the one word answer when it comes to sustainability – what examples can you provide that might answer this question?

In addition to what has been described, we can start looking as an industry to establish best recycling practices in healthcare as a start, looking to minimize precious metal and other high-value components and embedded carbon first. The whole system will have to work together to achieve this, and look to other sectors for advice and regulations to adapt to allow it.

The NHS is the first health system in the world to commit to Net Zero goals.

Those of us who work here in the UK have a pioneering place to move the needle, in a meaningful and safe way, in the world of medical devices. We will work together with other companies and industry bodies, such as ABHI, to find practical and meaningful solutions for safe and environmentally sustainable patient care for years to come. We will all need to work together. None of us have all the answers, but we must show will and be prepared to try.

We can make immediate improvements! We can make a difference, and we envision a level of cross-industry and cross-sector collaboration like never before to achieve this. The healthcare system in the UK is responsible for 5.4% of the country’s GHG emissions, so it’s vital we do this!

We do not claim to have all the answers; remember, it’s the biggest onion in the world! However, we and other collaborators are full of good intentions, and those who work in this field, care and want to make a difference, from all the companies we work with and discuss future possibilities, in the world of health technology. .

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest Articles