Engineering Impact: Reducing Our Footprint
Reducing our environmental footprint and using resources responsibly helps preserve precious natural capital, reduces our operating costs, and maintains positive relationships with our stakeholders.
We are committed to implementing policies and responsible practices to minimize operational impacts on the environment and play our part in safeguarding the planet. Guided by our Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Policy, we focus on using resources responsibly and reducing the energy, emissions, water, and waste footprints of our operations.
Environmental performance goals
We are pursuing FY25 environmental performance goals to reduce our environmental footprint. Our goals are focused on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, energy, water, and waste — measured against an FY20 baseline.
Most of our energy and water use and waste generation arise from our manufacturing facilities. Office closures during the pandemic increased the portion of the relative impact from our manufacturing facilities compared with previous years. Our significant reduction in waste intensity in FY21 is largely due to commercial office closures during COVID-19.
Managing GHG emissions and energy use
Our climate strategy
Our ambition is to become carbon neutral in our operations by FY30. Our approach includes:
- Continuing to reduce energy use by increasing efficiency
- Increasing our use of clean energy through onsite renewable and alternative generation
- Expanding our share of cleaner electricity through utility partnerships
- Investing in more renewable energy credits (RECs) and carbon offsets
- Shifting to virtual green power purchase agreements (VPPAs) in the long term to maintain neutrality
Our combined Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions for FY21 were approximately 271,000 MT CO2e — a 3.4% absolute decrease from last year and an 11% decrease in intensity over the same time period. We are currently seeking external assurance for our emissions data.
Our FY21 total energy use of approximately 853,000 megawatt hours (MWh) was virtually unchanged from last year. Our energy use did not drop significantly amid COVID-19-related office closures because our manufacturing facilities remained open.
To keep our manufacturing employees safe during the pandemic, we increased the use of air ventilation systems, leading to more energy consumption at those locations. We continue to invest in energy efficiency measures across our operations. Our Global Energy and Corporate EHS teams review and approve projects that align with our environmental performance goals.
In FY21, we completed 82 projects that will save more than 18,000 MWh per year and reduce our operating costs by $2.2 million. The projects tackled the energy consumption of lighting; heating, ventilation, and cooling; and chilled water, as well as a range of other energy saving initiatives. The savings generated by these projects equal 2% of our total energy use in FY21.
Renewables and onsite generation
A key part of our journey to become carbon neutral is sourcing renewable or alternative energy and increasing onsite generation capabilities.
At the end of FY21, 15% of our electricity was generated onsite, compared to 12% in FY20. New installations included solar panels, cogeneration plants, and an aquathermy plant. We have 11 projects currently underway and expect to bring an additional 22,179 MWh of capacity online in FY22.
In FY21, we used 127MWh of renewable electricity. This represents 15% of our total energy use for the year and was a significant driver of progress toward our FY25environmental performance target on energy sourced from renewable and alternative sources.
Our electricity supplier in Ireland, Electric Ireland, is now providing 100% renewable electricity to our three Ireland sites, increasing our annual renewables footprint by 5,700 MWh. In Italy, all Medtronic sites are supplied with 100% renewable electricity through We also invested in carbon offsets in FY21 totaling more than 12,500 MT CO2e from a wind power project in China and delivery of renewable energy credits of more than 53,000 MWh from a hydroelectric project in Austria.
Reducing emissions in our logistics supply chain
We are tackling transportation carbon emissions through our new Scope 3 emissions reduction program for global distribution and logistics. Our first step is to establish a baseline, and then work with suppliers to set reduction goals. While this work is underway, we will continue to reduce logistics emissions through ongoing initiatives, including participation in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
SmartWay program. Additionally, our General Surgery and Market Access Operating Network worked with a leading logistics provider to offset freight emissions. As a result, our Medical Surgical portfolio offset 50% of its calendar year 2020 global freight emissions with that carrier, equivalent to 24,448 MT CO2e.
Reducing water use and waste
We are increasing efforts to reduce our water and waste footprints, with a focus on efficiency, minimization, and infrastructure projects across our operations.
Reducing water use
In FY21, we used approximately 1.8 million cubic meters (m3) of water, a nearly 16% reduction from FY20. The COVID-19 pandemic impacted this year’s figures because more employees worked from home.
Although our operations are not generally water-intensive, we recognize the global issue of water scarcity and the potential for water availability to become a critical issue in some regions. This year, we refreshed our water risk assessment and updated objectives for our 15 sites that use the most water. We also require all sites in water-stressed regions to establish water targets.
In FY21, we began collecting data on well water usage from relevant sites so we can better monitor water consumption at our sites and at select supplier sites. We are working to ensure accurate, up-to-date water and energy metering at all sites so we can alert managers of abnormal use, catch leaks earlier, and improve efficiency. We also began reusing nonproduction water at several sites, saving more than 27,000m3 per year. In FY22, we will expand this initiative and expect to save more than 63,000m3 annually.
In FY21, we produced approximately 30,000 MT of total waste, a 10% decrease from last year.
Our approach to non-hazardous waste reduction is focused on prevention and minimization. The shift to working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic was responsible for much of our waste decrease in FY21. We are assessing what the longer-term impacts might be so we can adapt our workplace waste and recycling services accordingly.
We proactively manage hazardous waste to prevent negative environmental impacts and reduce liability risks. To ensure vendors meet or exceed our standards, we monitor their waste management processes prior to contracting and throughout our relationship.
Environmental management and oversight
We take a consistent global approach to goal setting, measurement, and integration of sustainability into decision-making, guided by our environmental performance management system. Our corporate EHS
team oversees all activities in this area, collaborating internally to make programs and policies consistent across our worldwide operations.
We use management systems based on the ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 standards to track and improve performance at manufacturing sites. Currently, 12 sites have ISO 14001-certified management systems and three have ISO 18000/45000-certified systems.
We always aim to comply with environmental laws and regulations and investigate any noncompliance to uncover the root cause and take corrective actions, including setting up processes to mitigate future risk.
n FY21, we had 23 environmental compliance inspections. Of these, five resulted in non-compliance notices and none resulted in fines. We completed corrective actions for all noncompliance issues identified
in FY21 and addressed process changes where possible to avoid future issues.
We manage 24 cleanup sites where remediation is required due to historical discharges that were permissible during past operations. None of these sites are included in our ongoing operations and many results from historic acquisitions. Nine of the U.S. sites are multiparty sites, meaning Medtronic entities are one of multiple potentially responsible parties addressing site remediation under the applicable state or federal program.