Seven steps toward greater sustainability

April 9, 2020
Seven steps toward greater sustainability

Last year’s sustainability achievements enable us to raise the bar even further. Although we are in the midst of a pandemic, we aim to build on the progress made in 2019. Simultaneously, we are expanding the ways in which we at Elos Medtech can contribute to a sustainable society.

Our sustainability goals for 2020

1. Improve evaluation regarding the sustainability of our critical suppliers.

One of our 2019 sustainability goals was to inform all of our critical suppliers of our Code of Conduct. Having done that, we will now follow up to see if they have started implementing it. This will be done as part of our regular evaluation of our critical suppliers.

2. Secure sustainable investments corresponding to at least 5% of the agreed investment spending, and aim for a decrease in our environmental footprint.

Environmental sustainability will be an explicit aspect, and point of evaluation, in all of our major investments. Our ambition is to make these investments beneficial not only for us as a company, but for the environment as well. One example of this is the insulation that was recently installed at our facility in Memphis. While the facility has no need for insulation from a heating perspective, the insulation will help it save energy. It also decreases the need for air conditioning in the summer.

3. Increase the response rate to 80 percent in the Employee Engagement Survey.

As our employees are our greatest strength, we value the responses in the annual employee survey highly. The more people respond, the better the representative result that will allow us to make decisions on measures that bring added value to our employees. We need to make it easier for our production personnel, those with limited internet access in particular, to submit survey responses. This can be done in several ways. Production personnel can be provided with a computer on which they can fill out the survey, or they may fill out physical forms that are later computerized.

4. Increase awareness through internal campaigns on how to live more sustainably.

At Elos Medtech, we want to make it easier for our personnel to live sustainably. That is why we have launched a campaign on our intranet, where we provide tips and advice that we hope will benefit our personnel in their everyday lives. The first campaign focuses on reducing household energy consumption, the second on food consumption and groceries. In the latter case, we want to inform our personnel not only about useful things to keep in mind when buying groceries, but also the possibility of growing or making your own food.

5. Compensate our CO2 footprint through certificates where a change to renewable energy is currently not possible. Goal: Reach Scandinavian level at all sites.

Increasing the ratio of renewable energy used at our facilities is not a new priority. However, due to a lack of providers offering power from renewable energy, this was not previously possible for the facilities in Memphis and Tianjin. Today, 50% of the power required to run our facility in Memphis, Tennessee comes from renewable energy sources. In Tianjin, we have seen no change so far, but there is a lot of positive development in this field in China in general. In the meantime, we are compensating for the non-renewable part of our power consumption by means of emissions trading in both the United States and China. The money we spend on emissions certificates goes to projects that aim to increase the amount of renewable energy as a total in the overall powergrid.

6. Reduce scrap rate to 2.8% or below at the end of 2020.

2019 saw us make a significant scrap rate reduction. Our goal for 2020 is 2.8%. It is our experience that successful scrap rate reduction requires a dedicated effort. Looking specifically at your scrap rate will provide you with concrete numbers and volumes, and help you identify where most of the discarding takes place. Scrap rate reduction presents a win-win situation; companies profit from having to discard fewer items than before, and they do not have to buy and consume as much raw materials.

7. Report water consumption on a regular basis in water-stressed areas, and set a goal.

The facility in Tianjin is located in a so-called water-stressed area of China. Our purchase of a new wastewater treatment system in 2018 reduced the site’s water consumption by no less than 53% during 2019. This year, we will set a goal together with our customer in Tianjin, and work to achieve the lowest possible water consumption for the site while maintaining the quality of the production.

Tianjin China - steps toward greater sustainability

Drawing the right conclusions by understanding the challenges of your sustainability work

Integrating sustainability into your production does not have to be a challenging process. That said, there are situations where certain parameters may have to be weighed against one another, requiring thorough consideration. Like an expensive machine that saves a lot of energy, or a highly environmentally beneficial production process that lowers the performance of a product somewhat.

These kinds of sustainability issues rarely have easy answers. The production must work in an optimal way, while increased sustainability must become an integral part of that process in order for it to remain economically and environmentally feasible. It is a process that in many cases require just as much work with people’s mindsets as with their facilities and production systems. What it most certainly requires, is pragmatism.

Every customer wants to have a zero carbon dioxide footprint – some even want it to be negative. At Elos Medtech, we help our customers in this work, and in making sustainable investments. Doing so means that benefits and priorities will, occasionally, have to be compared and considered in great detail, in order to achieve the best possible result. A general, overarching ambition of our sustainability goals is to continually emphasize the importance of sustainability to us as a company – in our agenda, production, personnel policy, and more.

If you want to know more about our sustainability work and ambitions, you are welcome to email me at anders.bjorklund@elosmedech.com. Visit our website to read more about our sustainability responsibility, and recent annual sustainability reports. You will also find plenty of other articles on the work we do for and with our customers around the world, here at the Elos Medtech blog!

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Author

Anders Björklund

QA/RA Director at Elos Medtech

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