Product Environmental Impacts
How We Address Environmental Impacts across the Product Life Cycle
As part of our product design process, we conduct an Environmental Health and Safety Evaluation Plan that assesses the use of hazardous materials, waste generation, air emissions, energy use, waste water, packaging, and product disposition. As part of this assessment, the plan also identifies opportunities to decrease existing environmental, health and safety risks and impacts.
Raw Materials Extraction/Processing
Medtronic applies guidelines for validating alternative materials introduced into our electronic components in response to regulations such as the European Union’s Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive. These guidelines help ensure product integrity and performance.
Our Design for Reliability and Manufacturability program identifies ways to reduce manufacturing waste by analyzing and enhancing aspects related to mass production, such as materials selection and assembly.
We are also taking action to strengthen sustainability activities among our suppliers. In May of 2010, Medtronic joined the Electronics Industry Citizenship Coalition and committed to the coalition’s Code of Conduct, which calls for suppliers’ business operations to be conducted in a responsible manner. The Code provides guidance in the following areas; labor (covering various aspects of human rights), health and safety, environment, management systems, and ethics.
Documentation, Labeling & Product Packaging
During fiscal year 2010, Medtronic continued its migration to electronic manuals for new and existing products. eManuals can be accessed online in five languages. All new products will be launched with eManuals by the end of fiscal year 2011.
In fiscal year 2010, Medtronic began implementing a single, integrated global distribution network managed through Medtronic Operations. The plan consolidates domestic shipping of all Medtronic products through three U.S. centers, which are located close to freight industry hubs. This will decrease shipments and related transportation, energy use, and emissions. Work on optimizing international distribution networks in Asia-Pacific and Europe will continue through fiscal year 2011.
Medtronic Operations also launched GreenBox™ shipping, a sustainable thermal management packaging system for shipping chemicals and pharmaceuticals. GreenBox™ products can be reused and are biodegradable, supporting our goal to reduce waste.
Medtronic devices use minimal amounts of energy. However, our engineers strive to develop smaller, more energy efficient devices when applicable, to improve functionality, extend product life, and decrease environmental impact.
Medtronic complies with applicable local, state, national, and international requirements for the management of electronic waste, including the European Union’s Waste and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive, which regulates the collection, treatment, and recycling of electronic products. Recognizing that responsible treatment of products at the end of their useful life is a shared responsibility with our customers, we label appropriate products sold in Europe with the WEEE symbol, indicating that they should be collected separately and returned to a designated recycling service.