Ellen Kondracki, director of sustainable innovation & stakeholder relations at Becton Dickinson, discusses the importance of sustainability.
Why is sustainability important at BD?
BD’s purpose is helping all people live healthy lives, and we know that there is an indisputable connection between healthy people and a healthy environment. Our commitment to pursuing our purpose guides our work in sustainability and helps us to created shared value for our business and for society at large. We are driven by a socially conscious company culture that dates back to our founding in 1897. Societal needs, as well as economic needs, define markets, and patients and customers require value beyond our products. Sustainability is a natural extension of our work in addressing societal needs and challenges.
What is your company’s approach to sustainability?
BD’s approach to sustainability is to create value through achieving strong financial performance, promoting environmental stewardship and advancing social responsibility. This includes a focus on addressing unmet health care needs, creating a safe workplace for our associates, shrinking our environmental footprint, promoting diversity among our associates and acting at all times with the utmost integrity.
BD’s environmental stewardship strategy is centered around two key areas: Sustainable Operations, which is how we manage the environmental impact of energy, greenhouse gases, waste and water at our facilities and in our supply chain; and Product Stewardship, which is how we develop sustainable product and packaging improvements, identify and eliminate materials of concern in our products, and encourage innovation in product end-of-use management.
What are some of the ways you incorporate sustainability into
BD has a diverse product portfolio, ranging from single-use disposable devices to large-scale electronic instruments. Our strategies for incorporating sustainability into our products range from material selection and source reduction to designing for recyclability and disassembly, among others. We have also incorporated a sustainability assessment into our Global Product Development System. This assessment requires product teams to identify customer sustainability needs and seek disclosure from raw material suppliers on the presence of any materials of concern.
Sustainable packaging is also a focus area for BD. While packaging of medical products and devices ensures sterility and protection from damage during transport, it presents a potentially costly challenge to the environment and end users who pay for disposal. We are focused on increasing packaging efficiency and using recycled content where possible. We are also looking to improve the recyclability of our packaging, using the Design Guidelines issued by the Healthcare Plastics Recycling Council (HPRC) of which BD is a member.
What are some challenges you face in the health care industry?
There are many economic constraints within the health care industry today, so we remain focused on identifying product improvements and process efficiencies that reduce our environmental footprint and create value for our customers, while providing tangible, long-term business benefits. Additionally, global disease challenges such as HIV/AIDS, diabetes and cancer, among others, present opportunities for BD to make a difference and provide health care solutions.
What are your sustainability goals in the future?
BD has been making great progress in meeting our 2015 Sustainability Targets, focused on reducing energy, water and waste from our operations. In the future, we plan to take a broader approach which is focused on measuring and reducing environmental impacts throughout our supply chain, not just our own operations.
With regard to product stewardship, we will continue making improvements to products and packaging by reducing material use and chemicals of concern, but similar to our sustainable operations approach, we will become more focused on measuring and reducing the lifecycle impacts of products.