Customers, governments and other stakeholders are increasingly focused on the materials and chemical substances used in products and packaging. With regard to medical products, stakeholders are especially focused on health and safety and environmental impacts, especially at product end-of-life. In some countries, legislation restricts the use of specific substances in products (see Case Study: Materials Restrictions). Customers are also interested in which materials are recyclable, such as in product packaging.
Baxter carefully considers the potential impacts of the materials it uses in its products and packaging, and takes a disciplined approach to identifying materials for possible restriction. The company focuses on the amount as well as the types of materials used, working to eliminate hazardous substances wherever possible. For its electronic products, Baxter also works to maximize product service life, reuse and recycling as appropriate. This decreases the demand for virgin materials to produce new products.
In 2011, Baxter purchased more than 150,000 metric tons of major commodities for use in its products and packaging, in addition to pre-manufactured components (see Major Materials Used in Manufacturing). The company continues working to improve the efficiency of its materials use. Baxter implemented projects that reduced total packaging by 1,100 metric tons and corrugated cardboard consumption by 732 metric tons in 2010-2011, on an annualized basis1 (see Packaging for details). Because plastic scrap from manufacturing is Baxter's largest waste stream, generating roughly one-third of the company's non-hazardous waste, reducing plastic waste and increasing recycling is another key focus see Waste for details).
Baxter's research and development and manufacturing operations work with environmental, health and safety (EHS) specialists to ensure that new products meet robust environmental design principles, comply with environmental regulations and satisfy customer requirements. As part of the company's product development process, Baxter applies a Product Sustainability Review (PSR) to all new medical devices, assessing EHS impacts across the product life cycle, including those related to materials selection and use. This includes an enhanced screen for toxic chemicals, which Baxter works to eliminate when feasible. For example, new devices under development are designed to meet the European Union's Restriction on Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive guidelines worldwide and to avoid chemicals from the REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) Directive list of "Substances of Very High Concern" as is appropriate.
Supplementing PSR, Baxter also uses formal life cycle assessment to evaluate the environmental performance of its products and determine ways to reduce environmental footprint. This may include decreasing the presence of chemicals of concern and reducing life cycle water or energy consumption, carbon footprint and waste generation. See Product Sustainability Review for more detail.
Reporting Material Use
Customers and governmental regulations increasingly require companies to disclose information about materials and chemical substances used in products and manufacturing. However, effectively tracking and complying with these regulations is complex given the number and evolution of these standards, and since a product may contain components from numerous suppliers worldwide
To better meet this challenge, Baxter is implementing a global project to determine and record in one resource the material chemical content of all substances and parts purchased for use in Baxter's products. The project also seeks to better understand what, if any, key chemicals of concern are present and to meet global regulations, such as the RoHS and REACH Directives. To date, the company has gathered information from more than 1,000 suppliers for about half of its product components (out of a total of tens of thousands of parts overall). Ensuring compliance will require heightened levels of supplier engagement, working with new suppliers, and potentially modifying product designs.
Baxter is implementing a product stewardship software application to manage environmental and other information related to new and existing products. This system will interface with other company product information systems as well as supplier information systems.
To meet the preferences of some customers and address drug compatibility issues in specific clinical applications, Baxter has invested significant resources to develop a variety of materials that meet the unique technical, design, regulatory, clinical and commercial requirements of individual product lines and markets. The company now offers a portfolio of more than 300 intravenous medications, parenteral nutrition solutions, injectable drugs, biopharmaceuticals, IV sets and access devices and other products that use or are contained in non-DEHP [di-(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate] or non-PVC materials. See Baxter's position statement on PVC in medical products.
Baxter recognizes the interrelationship between materials choices and other environmental issues. The company estimates that in 2011 the greenhouse gas emissions in Baxter's supply chain attributable to Baxter's business equaled 1,121,000 metric tons carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), 23.1% of Baxter's total GHG emissions footprint. This included an estimated 266,000 metric tons CO2e for Baxter's first-tier suppliers, and 855,000 metric tons CO2e for emissions from sub-tier suppliers, including raw materials extraction and processing as well as other activities (see Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Climate Change for more detail). These numbers do not include GHG emissions related to product transport.
|1||These savings represent the total savings attributable to identified projects across the company, counted only for the first year the packaging innovation is implemented.|