As a global health care Group, it is our responsibility to protect nature and use its resources carefully - because a healthy environment is the prerequisite for a healthy life. That is why our goal is to avoid possible negative impacts on the environment while protecting the health of our patients and employees.
The four business segments of the Fresenius Group independently align their environmental management with their business models. The basis for environmental management in our business segments is the ISO 14001 standard, and we are continuously expanding the number of sites certified to ISO 14001.
For decades, water consumption has been rising worldwide and water shortages are occurring in more and more regions1. We also need water - both in our production sites and in our healthcare facilities. We therefore use this scarce and vital resource responsibly. We have implemented local, regional or global management systems that control and manage water as a resource. We also ensure that water quality meets internal and external regulatory requirements and that water can be used safely during production, in processes and in our healthcare facilities.
The aim of our water management is also to avoid polluting the sources from which we draw water or into which we discharge our wastewater. Our corporate environmental protection monitors and controls environmental impacts. It analyzes environmentally relevant weak points in a targeted manner, develops suitable standard procedures and implements appropriate measures.
1 Source: www.unwater.org/publications/world-water-development-report-2019/
Climate protection: energy and emissions
Climate change and its effects do not stop at Fresenius. We are therefore preparing for an increase in severe weather events and - in our health care facilities - rising temperatures in order to protect the health of patients at all times.
Our production processes and the operation of healthcare facilities require a high level of energy. Energy efficiency measures can achieve cost savings in the short and long term; they also make an important contribution to climate protection with the increasing use of renewable energies. At the same time, an uninterrupted energy supply is always a top priority for Fresenius to ensure patient safety and smooth production. We therefore always consider possible energy-saving measures with the utmost care. Energy management is geared to the requirements of the respective business segments and is certified according to ISO 50001. Here we are continuously expanding the number of sites covered.
Overall, in energy management and climate protection, our aim is to go beyond the legal framework and find ways of keeping the impact on the environment as low as possible.
Climate neutral by 2040
We will be climate neutral in our own operations by 2040. This applies both to direct and indirect CO2 emissions (Scope 1 and 2). Our climate target is in line with the Paris climate agreement’s scientifically based goal to limit global warming to 1.5° C.
We have defined a concrete roadmap to achieve this target: By 2030 we plan to cut our direct and indirect CO2 emissions (Scope 1 and 2) by half from the 2020 level of about 1.5 million metric tons. Any emissions from organic business growth are included. Moreover, we will further intensify our management of emissions stemming from the upstream and downstream supply chain (Scope 3), eventually to be included in the climate target.
Waste and recycling management
Natural resources are becoming increasingly scarce all over the world. We can only operate sustainably if we make efficient use of the raw materials that are available to us. This also includes dealing responsibly with waste - because it contains valuable resources that can be returned to production. Through systematic waste management, we aim to reduce our material consumption and minimize waste volumes.
The handling of waste in the healthcare sector is strictly regulated. As a matter of principle, waste must not pose a risk to our patients, our employees or the environment. Our production processes and our treatments in health care facilities must always be hygienic and often sterile. For Fresenius, this means that proper, safe waste disposal and the requirements for hygiene and sterility in production processes and treatments in clinics go hand in hand. Our approach here ranges from the selection of suitable disposal containers to cleaning and sterilization procedures, to the occupational safety of our employees when disposing of hazardous, e.g. infectious, waste.
If necessary, we define internal guidelines for handling waste. We communicate the requirements from the guidelines to our employees through training courses.