How Green Goals Are Good for Business

Sustainability|Feb.26, 2020

While Abbott's main goal is to help people live their best lives through better health, protecting the environment is also an important part of our mission. That's why we seek the most sustainable ways to deliver life-changing technologies to people around the world. It's an important part of Abbott's strategic approach to addressing key environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues.

Our 2018 Global Sustainability Report highlights these efforts to improve our impact on the environment and details the many other ways that Abbott has built a more sustainable and responsible business that delivers long-term value to those we serve.

The report also provides updates on Abbott's performance regarding our ambitious 2020 environmental targets for reducing carbon emissions, water use and waste as well as our development of a new sustainability strategy. The report includes an overview of the topics that will be the focus of this new strategy, including climate change and water use.

"Our environmental strategy informs how we operate our day-to-day business in a manner that safeguards the environment and helps improve the efficiency and sustainability of our business," said Agnes Ortega, divisional vice president of Compliance and Operation Services at Abbott. "We've made strong progress toward our 2020 targets and we look forward to establishing our next-generation environmental strategy."

Reaching Abbott's 2020 Goals

Abbott works to limit the company's environmental impact in the more than 160 countries where we do business. This includes 77 projects aimed at reducing our impact on the environment globally and meeting the company's 2020 targets.

Improving our environmental performance has already strengthened our business by improving operational efficiency. Since 2010, our efforts to reduce product packaging have eliminated more than 41 million pounds of packaging and saved more than $100 million.

Here is more of the action that we've already taken to improve our impact on the environment as well as what we have planned for the future.

Less Power, Fewer Emissions

At Abbott's manufacturing plant for nutritional products in Casa Grande, Arizona, we upgraded the controllers and transformers on seven energy substations at the facility. The Casa Grande plant became the first U.S.-based facility to use a new technology that helps optimise power flows and saves on energy costs. It also provides a model for upgrading electricity infrastructure at other Abbott facilities.

Because of initiatives like that one, Abbott is at 42% less overall emissions for 2018, which is ahead of our 2020 goal of 40% (both compared to 2010 baseline and normalised for sales).

Conserving Water

In Rio de Janeiro, we built a wastewater facility that processes 18 million litres of water for reuse. It meets more than a third of the facility's total water needs. The new reuse capability allowed the plant, which produces Abbott's branded generic medicines, to increase production 11% in 2018 without requiring more water.

Other Abbott sites are pursuing additional water conservation projects, from using wastewater for gardening in facilities in India to investing in smart new infrastructure in Donegal, Ireland, for the company's diabetes business. At the Donegal business, water use fell 8.1 percent because of installation of new water tanks that conserve water.

Along with cutting Abbott's water use, we also engage our employees and suppliers about better water practices as well.

With a 2020 goal of 30% less water use compared to 2010, Abbott sits at 27% for 2018 amidst strong growth across its core businesses in both established and developing markets.

New Thinking Around Waste

Building on our long-standing work to minimise waste, we're transitioning to a circular economy approach for Abbott's manufacturing operations. This involves decreasing waste through preventive maintenance, improving manufacturing processes, creating better designs and finding ways to reuse materials, among other initiatives.

When combined with recycling and other tactics, this new approach ensured that 88% of Abbott's non-product waste was diverted from landfill in 2018.

These efforts helped the company get close to the 2020 goal of cutting total waste by 50%. Abbott has reached a 44% reduction from 2010 levels to date, with 33 of our facilities around the world achieving Zero Waste to Landfills certification.

We're focusing on waste reduction when it comes to our products as well. We set an aggressive target to reduce the total weight of packaging by 10 percent by 2020 compared to a 2010 baseline. This goal was surpassed in 2017 and we continued this progress by increasing the reduction total to nearly 14% in 2018.

As we create and improve life-changing technologies, we'll continue to work toward making the world a better place for everyone. To find out more, see the Safeguarding Our Environment section of Abbott's 2018 Global Sustainability Report.


Disclaimer: This publication/article/editorial is meant for awareness/educational purposes and does not constitute or imply an endorsement, sponsorship or recommendation of any Products. Please consult your doctor/healthcare practitioner before starting any diet, medication or exercise.