Medical equipment manufacturers are making strides in terms of sustainability initiatives, but continue to miss significant opportunities, according to a report released last month by Green Research, a corporate sustainability research and advisory firm. The report, which analyzes corporate environmental sustainability goals within the medical equipment and supplies industry, focused on the sector's top companies, including Baxter International, BD, Boston Scientific, Covidien, Medtronic, Smith & Nephew, St. Jude Medical, Stryker, Thermo Fisher Scientific, and Zimmer Holdings.
Stryker and BD are lauded in the report for their commitment to creating businesses that "reclaim, reprocess, recycle, or remanufacture used medical products, helping hospitals reduce their own waste burden and creating new revenue stream in the process," according to a press release issued by Green Research. However, the report states that only four of the top 10 medical equipment manufacturers examined have publicly announced environmental sustainability goals. "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 report recommends.
In addition, the report notes that 87% of sustainability goals established by medical equipment companies are internal and do not take its supply chain, customer use, or product end of life into account. Setting goals for the supply chain, in particular, was cited as a missed opportunity.