The European Green Deal[1] is the strategy aiming to transform the EU into a modern, resource-efficient and competitive economy, with no net emissions of greenhouse gases by mid-century. The main goal is to harness the significant potential in global markets for low-emission technologies, sustainable products and services in order to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. However, achieving a climate neutral and circular economy requires the full involvement of industry, and each Member State playing its role. The EU industry strategy will lead with twin green and digital transitions with an eye to yielding greater competitiveness globally. As corollary, it is expected that industry will be able to reduce its carbon footprint by providing affordable, clean technology solutions and by developing new business models.

Consider the case of the German National Sustainable Development Strategy (GSDS). This strategy is the single most important enabling factor for implementing the EU Green Deal requirements. A vital element of this wider drive is the so-called Lieferkettengesetz 2021 policy directive[2]. By 2023, it will affect German companies employing more than 3.000 people, and by 2024 companies employing more than 1.000 people. It covers aspects of sustainability in the supply chain for manufacturers, from raw material to finished product and will be an instrumental vehicle to help Germany achieve its sustainability goals. It is our conviction that this type of policy – although agnostic in its approach vis-à-vis all manufacturers – should be seriously considered by Medical Device manufacturers. (NB: As of the most recent United Nations Sustainability Development Goals report[3] Germany is ranked 6th out of the 34 participating countries ranking progress to achieving sustainability.)

Another more direct example effecting the med-tech and health care industry is the focus in the UK on ethical and sustainable practices and supply chains serving the NHS. The UK is currently ranked 20th in the progress ranking to UN SDGs and this sector is important in improving this ranking. Currently NHS tenders require bidding companies to be able to demonstrate sound ESG strategies with strong weighting awarded towards such companies in tender processes. Procurement policy PPN 06/20[4] sets out these standards that suppliers and contractors who wish to do business with the NHS must prove they adhere to, and that they are on track to achieve the goals as set out in NHS sustainability and ethical standards. Overall, industry practice is shifting towards more sustainable supply chains as evidenced by the fact that globally operating companies are requesting that their suppliers provide evidence of sustainable business practices. To do so, they are employing certifications such as Ecovadis.

Clearly countries are working hard to establish new directives and regulations at pace to support sustainability. Across the board, ESG agendas are becoming increasingly important to large medical device manufacturers as they work hard to establish green operations and supply chains.

In this thought leadership we’ll discuss: