Baxter creates products that save and sustain lives worldwide. This is the company’s mission and its most important contribution to society. The demand for Baxter’s products will only continue to grow, as the world pushes towards 9.7 billion people by 20501and standards of living continue to increase globally. Quality and patient safety underpin the company’s ongoing success. Baxter has extensive policies and processes to ensure excellence in those areas, and continues to innovate new products and services that enhance patient safety.
Manufacturing and delivering products, however, has extensive environmental impacts. These are mainly due to the materials Baxter’s products contain and the energy, water, and other resources needed to make, transport and use them. To capture the most value from these natural resources, the company is continuing to shift from a linear model of “take, make, dispose” to a circular model that maximizes the value gained from materials. Innovative product, service and systems design, increased reuse and recycling, and collaboration across sectors, enable product materials to remain in use for longer. This approach can save Baxter money, improve its reputation, and decrease the company’s environmental impact and that of its customers.
Quality and Patient Safety
Baxter’s reputation and ongoing success depend on the quality and safety of its products and services. A focus on quality is embedded in Baxter’s culture across the product life cycle, from product development and enhancements to post-market surveillance activities.
In 2016, Baxter established Top 20 Complaint Reduction, a comprehensive program to enhance product performance and safety. This program helped the company decrease product complaints by 22%, exceeding the goal of a 15% reduction by 2020. Compared to 2015, Baxter also reduced medical device reports by 48%, field alert reports by 6%, and field actions by 46%. Continuing to improve in these areas will free up resources to focus on innovation and new technologies.
Baxter’s Product Sustainability Program—in partnership with the research and development (R&D), marketing and supply chain groups—embeds product stewardship across the company. Product Sustainability Review (PSR) underpins the company’s sustainable design efforts. This required assessment, or a similar analysis, occurs during the product development process for all medical devices, to assess EHS, sustainability, and regulatory considerations and requirements across the value chain. Since 2005, Baxter has used PSR to evaluate more than 20 medical devices, and currently has multiple devices under assessment. To supplement PSR, Baxter uses life cycle assessment in select cases to evaluate and improve the sustainability performance of its products.
During 2016, Baxter remained involved with the Coalition for Sustainable Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices (CSPM) , a working group of leading healthcare companies of which it was a founding member. Baxter will continue collaborating with the organization to understand customer needs and trends related to sustainable healthcare and to help drive the industry forward.
Materials use is a key driver of Baxter environmental footprint, so getting the most value possible from materials is a priority and central to our drive towards a more circular economy. Reducing plastic waste and increasing recycling is essential, since plastic scrap from manufacturing is the company’s largest waste stream. During 2016, Baxter reduced plastic scrap per unit of production by 5% compared with 2015, at 17 sites representing 73% of the company’s overall plastic volume. Baxter also innovates to decrease the environmental impact of product packaging by reducing the amount used and substituting for environmentally preferable materials. In 2016, the company eliminated 320 metric tons of packaging material from its products shipped to customers.
Baxter has global strategies and programs to help ensure it meets product materials restrictions such as the EU RoHS2 Directive and the EU REACH Regulation among others. The company also works to minimize or avoid the use of conflict minerals in its products and reports progress . In addition to materials restricted by regulations, Baxter also gathers information about substances such as bisphenol-A (BPA) and latex, which are of interest to some customers.
Baxter works to keep valuable materials in use at the end of product life. Some of the electronic medical devices Baxter sells, such as renal automated peritoneal dialysis cyclers, are designed to support the circular economy through serviceability, repair and reuse. The company leases certain types of its electronic medical products to customers and patients, which helps ensure they have the technology that best meets their needs and provides increased flexibility compared to ownership. This model also ensures those products will be returned to Baxter after a set period of time.
Baxter also works with customers, industry peers and recycling and disposal vendors to facilitate the recycling and responsible treatment of disposable medical products such as IV bags. During 2016, Baxter participated in a pilot project of the Healthcare Plastics Recycling Council and the Plastics Industry Association to demonstrate the viability of recycling non-infectious, pre-patient healthcare plastics on a regional basis. In 2013, Baxter established a partnership with the Vinyl Council of Australia (VCA) to launch the VCA’s PVC Recovery in Hospitals initiative in Australia. During 2016, the initiative expanded to reach 62 hospitals in Australia (up from 48 in 2015) as well as 28 in New Zealand (up from 12 in 2015). Together, these locations are estimated to collect about 10 metric tons of PVC for recycling per month.
Learn more about our programs and performance in quality and patient safety, sustainable design, materials use, and product end-of-life in the Product Innovation section of the Baxter 2016 Corporate Responsibility Report.