From grassroots initiatives to global policies

Through dozens of projects around the world, Medtronic is lessening its environmental impact by conserving energy and water, increasing recycling, and reducing waste. These projects range from large, enterprise-wide corporate sustainability initiatives like energy reduction or building an onsite nitrogen generator, to smaller, volunteer-led environmental stewardship efforts at local sites.


San Isidro facilities’ leadership team helps advance Medtronic sustainability goals to minimize the environmental impact of its operations.

San Isidro facilities’ leadership team helps advance Medtronic sustainability goals to minimize the environmental impact of its operations.

In the past, a ship ferried tons of liquid nitrogen twice per week from Trinidad and Tobago to the Dominican Republic, where Medtronic operates four facilities in San Isidro. There, Medtronic teams converted the liquid into nitrogen gas to control humidity and ensure quality and safety in their production of medical devices.

While shipping the liquid nitrogen in the Caribbean region supported a critical requirement in Medtronic operations, it was costly — both in expense and especially in the potential environmental impact. “We don’t produce nitrogen gas here. In fact, most things we have to bring into the Dominican Republic because we don’t produce them,” said Ricardo Borbon, a facilities manager.

So began a two-year project to build an onsite nitrogen generator, resulting in an annual savings of $1.4 million and a reduction of 27 metric tons in greenhouse gas emissions. And, it’s only one of many corporate sustainability initiatives across Medtronic that help advance the company’s broader sustainability goals to minimize the environmental impact of its global operations.


Six people seated around a table.

These employees started The Tree Hugging Community in Fort Worth to work on environmental projects.

“Our approach to corporate citizenship is anchored in our Mission, which gives employees a shared sense of purpose and a common set of guiding principles for how we operate as a company,” said Anita Tuch, Vice President of Global Operational Risk and Facilities. “Making progress toward environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors requires action and accountability — and our 90,000+ employees in 150+ countries are up to the challenge.”

Medtronic executes dozens of projects around the world to conserve energy and water, increase recycling, and reduce waste. Many are large, facility-wide projects like the nitrogen generator, but Medtronic employees are also identifying, starting, and driving environmental stewardship efforts on their own every day.

“We are seeing more employees spark an idea and then rally their colleagues to build sustainable programs with remarkable results,” said Valora Putnam, Senior Director, Environmental, Health, and Safety. “It’s exciting to see this grassroots momentum along with strategic corporate support. It says a lot about the passion our employees have to be good stewards of the environment.” Two recent examples include:

  • The Green Meetings Initiative, suggested by a meeting planner in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to promote 20 possible green practices for Medtronic-hosted meetings and a mechanism to track the impact. To date, three practices have netted the most gains:

    • Adopting a mobile app instead of printed materials
    • Using water stations instead of bottled water
    • Walking to nearby evening venues instead of chartering buses

    Other practices include recycling badges, using digital signage, choosing venues with composting or donation programs for leftover food, and eliminating pre-filled water at meals. Over the last year, the Green Meetings Initiative has spread across U.S. sites, resulting in reductions of 24,000 pounds of paper, 14,000 bottles of water, and 2.7 tons of CO2 emissions. This year, the Green Meeting Initiative is expanding these green practices to more locations across the globe.

    “There’s an extraordinary mobilization of the green movement around the world,” said Kendra Olive, global program lead for Strategic Meeting Management. “People get it. They want to be part of that movement. They want to feel connected and be part of the solution.”

Woman kneeling before a pile of litter.

Sandra Rosas is one of the employees who started The Tree Hugging Community in Fort Worth.

  • In Fort Worth, Texas, a Styrofoam cup sparked a movement led by six employees who dubbed themselves “The Tree Hugging Community.” “We were going through 3,000 Styrofoam cups a week,” recalled Sandra Rosas, project manager in Fort Worth. She saw bags of cups in the facility’s breakroom. She and others started urging colleagues to bring in reusable mugs, followed by utensils and other dishes.

    In the past year, the employees eliminated more than 600,000 Styrofoam cups, saving $12,000 per year. They also started a weekly cleanup of the facility and surrounding property, a gardening club, and two recycling programs. The group, now with 11 core members, is looking at composting and additional recycling initiatives.

    “I come from Latin America where you’re closer to landfills. In the United States, you can throw away trash and never see it again,” Rosas said. “If everyone at our site stopped using Styrofoam, that’s 3,000 cups a week that would not go to the landfill. That’s humongous. So, it only takes a small change to make a big difference.”


From grassroots initiatives to global policies, Medtronic is committed to reducing our environmental footprint. Borbon and his colleagues in San Isidro, for instance, are already eyeing additional conservation projects, while fielding questions from other Medtronic facilities that want to build their own nitrogen generators.

“We only have this planet to live on, so anything we can do to conserve, we should do right now,” Borbon said. “Tomorrow is too late.”

Learn more about our Environmental Stewardship (PDF).