Baxter International Inc., a true sustainability game-changer in the healthcare industry, issued its 2011 (and 13th consecutive) sustainability report about its social, environmental and economic performance. The report features the company’s progress toward its 2015 sustainability priorities and goals as well as its commitment to addressing the needs of stakeholders worldwide.
“At Baxter, sustainability is about creating lasting social, environmental and economic value by addressing the needs of our wide-ranging stakeholder base,” said Robert L. Parkinson, Jr., Baxter’s chairman and chief executive officer. “We succeed as a business by operating responsibly in service of these diverse stakeholders – which, in turn, ensures we can continue to advance our sustainability priorities well into the future.”
The report focuses on nine key priorities to Baxter and its stakeholders:
- strengthen access to healthcare through product development and strategic product donations
- strengthen the company’s commitment to math and science education
- drive a sustainable supply chain
- drive reductions in the company’s carb0n footprint
- drive reductions in natural resource use
- drive enhanced product stewardship
- promote a safe and healthy workplace
- promote an inclusive and diverse workplace
- promote ethical conduct and legal compliance
2011 achievements within these priorities include:
- Reducing absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 7 percent since 2005, due in part to innovative renewable energy strategies such as using biomass fuels rather than fuel oil. For example, Baxter’s Alathur and Waluj, India, facilities use coconut shells, rice husks and sugar cane remnants as energy sources in boilers, which decreases fossil-fuel related greenhouse gas emissions, reduces energy costs and contributes to the local economy.
- Reducing absolute water use by 6 percent since 2005, primarily through water conservation strategies. For example, Baxter’s Atlacomulco, Mexico, facility, located in a water-stressed region, reduced absolute water use by 26 percent compared to 2010 through innovative water reuse projects.
- Decreasing the environmental impact of packaging by reducing the amount used and substituting for environmentally-preferable materials. Baxter’s facility in Cali, Colombia initiated a project in 2011 to reduce the packaging size of peritoneal dialysis (PD) solution cartons with a new design, in turn saving 34 metric tons of corrugated material annually.
- Incorporating 20 sustainable criteria into its purchasing program since 2009 to provide its procurement organization a framework to evaluate suppliers’ sustainability initiatives. These criteria fall into five categories that align with Baxter’s own sustainability efforts, including a category added in 2010 to evaluate suppliers’ protection of human rights.
- Increasing access to healthcare through more than $80 million in combined giving from Baxter and The Baxter International Foundation, the company’s philanthropic arm. Product donations helped people in 75 countries during the year, including contributions of intravenous (IV) antibiotics and other IV solutions following the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and extreme rainfall and flooding in Thailand.
Baxter’s 2011 Sustainability Report is aligned with the Global Reporting Initiative guidelines, which provide a uniform and transparent set of metrics to systematically report on sustainability initiatives and results.
“Our annual assessment of progress also serves as a reminder of how much more we can accomplish,” said Parkinson. “While the path forward for the healthcare industry remains challenging, there is immense potential to foster innovation through Baxter’s sustainability priorities as we advance the company’s mission on behalf of our patients… Employees at all levels of the company are taking action, motivated by a sense of responsibility and desire to make a difference.”
Photo courtesy Baxter International Inc.