Most people in need of medical devices don’t stop to think about the environment. But that’s not stopping some medtech manufacturers from implementing policies to make their operations more sustainable. Arlington, Virginia-based MackMedical, which provides injection molding services to the medical device industry, is focused on the environment. The company has installed solar power, reduced cardboard consumption, increased materials recycling, and taken other steps towards sustainability. These moves saved the company tens of thousands of dollars, making the environmental projects more than feel-good PR stunts.
Small companies aren’t the only ones working to save money while saving the environment. The medtech giant Johnson & Johnson has been increasing its sustainability since 2003. According to CEO Alex Gorsky, Johnson & Johnson is “targeting our water conservation efforts, having mapped the location of our manufacturing facilities against known areas of water stress. We’ve increased the amount of clean-technology energy capacity [and] we’ve transformed and expanded our supplier standards.”
One of the greatest challenges in the coming decades will be helping people obtain healthcare in a sustainable manner. However, a study by the New York-based corporate sustainability firm Green Research found that only four of the 10 largest manufacturers of medical equipment and supplies announced any public environmental sustainability goals. Most of those initiatives involve recycling and waste reduction. As the health of people and the health of the planet intersect, sustainability in the medtech industry is at a crossroads. But saving money, saving people, and saving the planet are compatible goals, which offer a way forward as more companies consider sustainability an important aspect of doing business.