The balance between quality and the environment is very important, not least for those who use our products everyday. We spoke to Håkan Strandberg, Vice President of Sales for Northern Europe, about the measures and initiatives Wellspect are taking to continuously improve our commitment to sustainability.
What environmental initiatives have been set in motion at Wellspect Healthcare?
We’ve been proactive in assessing the environmental requirements for procurement throughout the Nordic region, with these three steps:
i) Life Cycle Analysis
Historically, our first major appraisal was the life cycle analysis conducted by IVL Svenska. They compared the available plastics used in catheter production, with a report published in 2008. We also produced one form of product-specific EPD – Environmental Product Declaration Government policy pushed for the phase out of phthalates in plastic PVC, so we partnered with environmental strategists, procurement groups and other relevant parties.
ii) Environmental Policy
The government moved to replace PVC completely as there now exist several PVC-free alternatives with equivalent features.
iii) Demonstrate that our Swedish made catheter has a lower environmental impact
Ours is a disposable product, so we have a responsibility to minimize our environmental impact. We ensure that comprehensive environmental documentation is available to our customers, and are always aspiring for the lowest environmental impact at the production stage. It’s important for health care professionals who work with our products and our users.
If you are a user, there should be no compromise between product performance and better environmental performance.
Now, environment is of the utmost important as is the quality of the environmentally friendly product that replaces the less friendly product – it has to be at least as good. We have held internal training with a focus on the environment for our salespeople, who have all gained a better grounding in why we should phase out PVC, how a life cycle analysis is built, and more.
What environmental initiatives are happening currently at Wellspect Healthcare?
We’re a global company, so we’ve taken our environmental communication beyond the Nordic region, for example, to the Netherlands and the UK. Other things we do which the sales organization supports is to have an environmentally sound travel policy. Before the pandemic, we opted for bus and train travel in Scandinavia as an alternative to flights as the most travelled routes were between our Scandinavian capitals. We have implemented a new company car policy and have increased the amount available to spend if the chosen car is environmentally friendly.
And what are the plans for the future with regards to environmental issues in the sales organization?
For us to be a leader, it's crucial that we lead in development. It could, for example, be a life cycle solution – to return used plastic products for production to reduce the total environmental impact. It could also be driving the development of other materials, for example: bio-based materials that perform to the same standard.
It has to be commercially viable, but I believe that those who innovate, and further reduce the burden on the environment, increasing quality requirements, will also be rewarded with increased demand from both healthcare professionals and users.
The pandemic has seen a universal need for developing a digital operation, and to be able to offer our customers and partners good opportunities to be able to meet virtually. Solutions already exist today and the technology has got to support our company, our customers and our users as we strive to lessen our impact upon the environment.