Abbott Sustainability Report: Three 2015 Targets Met Four Years Early

by | May 3, 2012

Global health care company Abbott Laboratories reached its 2015 goals for carbon dioxide emissions, water intake and waste output in 2011, while increasing year-on-year sales by more than 10 percent.

In 2009 the company committed to a 15 percent reduction of its absolute Scope 1 and Scope 2 carbon dioxide emissions over 2005 levels by 2015, targeting CO2 emissions of 1.7 million metric tons. In 2011 the company emitted 1.66 million metric tons of CO2, a 3.6 percent drop on absolute levels from 2010. When normalized by sales the company has cut emissions by 17.5 percent over 2005 levels, according to Abbott’s 2011 sustainability report.

Abbott says that its Climate Responsible Energy Policy focuses on increasing energy efficiency in its manufacturing operations; investing in low-carbon energy; improving efficiency within its transportation fleet; encouraging a lower carbon footprint within its supply chain; and publicly reporting performance.

Carbon reduction efforts made by the company include installing energy-efficient lighting and controls at its vascular products manufacturing plant in Santa Clara, Calif. The company’s medical devices manufacturing plant in Ottawa, Canada, installed a solar-powered aerating pump in one of its ponds. The device produces 11,000 kW of power and reduced the company’s emissions by 6,600 pounds of CO2 a year.

In 2010, the company launched a front-end planning tool for assessing the environmental impacts of its buildings. When impacts are deemed to be significant, designers are mandated to evaluate environmentally friendly design alternatives. In the US the company uses LEED building design rating systems.

The company’s 2015 target for water intake was 341 gallons per $1,000 dollars of sales – a 50 percent cut from 2005 levels. In 2011 the company took in 338 gallons of water per $1,000 dollars of sales, beating the 2015 target, and cutting normalized water intake by almost 7 percent year-on-year.

Abbott is using the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s Global Water Tool to help its major manufacturing plants around the world assess their water needs and develop contingency plans, the report says. The tool predicts that 18 of its major sites will be at high risk for water constraints by 2025, and the company is focusing its water conservation at these sites. Abbott also worked with the Global Environmental Management Institute to develop the Local Water Tool, a locally focused version of the WBCSD product.

In 2011 Abbott designed a greywater reclamation system at a plant in Massachusetts, which will be implemented in 2012. It also installed water meters at its Karachi, Pakistan, plant in order to monitor and assess water use.

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