By Ronan Coffey, global energy manager at Boston Scientific
A critical challenge for Boston Scientific as a global medical device manufacturer is to deliver on our promise to customers and patients while caring for the planet. The way we do our jobs each day contributes to reducing our environmental impacts. To hold ourselves accountable, we set aggressive environmental goals. We have a lot of important work to do, but we are making measurable progress on several fronts.
Working Toward Carbon Neutrality
Increased levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere are closely tied to climate change. That’s why we committed to achieving carbon neutrality across our manufacturing and key distribution sites by 2030. This means achieving net zero carbon emissions associated with manufacturing operations and energy use. We’ve reached several milestones in support of that goal:
- Over the past two years, we’ve reduced our carbon footprint by 22 percent while impacting the lives of 25 percent more patients.
- In March we signed a virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA), reducing our carbon emissions by almost half and surpassing our goal of 50 percent renewable electricity by 2021. Combined with other efforts, the VPPA has allowed us to achieve a 66% reduction in global carbon emissions since 2009, up from a 47% reduction as of 2019.
- In addition to signing the VPPA, we subscribed to a portion of a community solar portfolio in Massachusetts that serves to drive demand for renewable energy and increase access to local, clean electricity across the state.
- We joined a cross-industry group in signing the Renewable Thermal Collaborative (RTC) Buyers’ Statement, to promote the expansion and acceleration of the renewable thermal energy market to reduce carbon output.
Boston Scientific is on target to source or generate 100% of our electricity from renewable energy sources by 2024. And by 2027, we expect that 90% of all energy, including electricity and natural gas, will be renewable at all our facilities. We are tracking our progress using a robust Global Energy Management System (GEMS) that provides insight into the types and amounts of energy we use.
Equipped with this information, we realized not only how feasible a commitment to carbon neutrality was, but that we are positioned to accomplish this by 2030 and deliver on our ambitious goal we set in 2017 – the first global medical device manufacturer to make such a commitment.
While 4.3 million square feet (roughly 45 percent) of global Boston Scientific real estate is already independently certified green, we continue to focus on the environmental impact of our facilities, from waste management to water usage. Recent successes include:
- Being recognized with 14 LEED-certified buildings worldwide.
- Reducing water usage by 30 percent from 2009 to 2019.
- Diverting 95 percent of landfill solid waste through recycling, plastic segregation, redesigning packaging and other environmentally responsible measures.
We also committed to a 2030 goal of achieving TRUE Zero Waste Certification for our operations and key distribution sites. This certification will create a framework for minimizing non-hazardous solid wastes and maximizing the efficiency of our resources.
Delivering on our promises
We challenge ourselves every day to deliver on the promises we’ve made to our customers, the patients we serve together, and our employees, all while caring for the planet. Our pledge to be good corporate citizens and stewards of the environment has pushed us to lead in our industry and always strive to improve. Boston Scientific teams have embraced the challenge and we are inspired by the opportunity to improve the health of patients around the world while also making measurable contributions to the world we share.
Recognizing the company’s continued commitment to people and the planet, Boston Scientific was recently ranked on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) and was named one of America’s Most Just Companies by Forbes and Just Capital and one of America’s Most Responsible Companies by Newsweek.