In this interview, we talk to Robert Metzke, Philips’ Global Head of Sustainability. 

One of Philips’ slogans is “Improving people’s lives” and the multinational giant certainly wants to do that for the planet. Sustainability is very important to Philips, especially in the orthodontist and periodontist sphere.

“We see climate change as a serious threat to the planet and the health and wellbeing of people. There is a strong interdependence between healthcare, and climate change,” says Robert Metzke, Philips’ Global Head of Sustainability.

He adds “That represents a unique opportunity for us to act in a way that will both mitigate climate change and positively impact human health.”

Philips makes things, equipment and devices, and that has to be done sustainably.

Robert says that “Through investments in sustainable innovation and EcoDesign, 100% of our products and services will be designed in line with our EcoDesign requirements aimed at improving energy efficiency, especially during the customer use phase. By 2025, we will source 75% of our total energy consumption (including fuel) and 100% of our electricity from renewable sources.” Nothing will go to landfill at the end of a product’s life.

Philips has also stepped up its supplier sustainability program with the goal of at least 50% of its suppliers (based on spend) committing to science-based targets (SBTs) for CO₂ emissions reduction by 2025. Decarbonizing the supply chain has an impact seven times greater than the reduction of CO₂ emissions from Philips’ own operations.

“On average, 80% of our products’ total environmental impact – including energy during use and material impact – is determined in the design phase. That is why we ensure to make sustainable choices from the very start,” says Robert, whether that is making things lighter to recycling parts, all part of its EcoDesign policy.

Customers expect this too. Healthcare generally accounts for 4% of global CO2 emissions, more than aviation and shipping! It is closer to 10% in a highly industrialised countries like the UK. Customers want that number to come down and it does affect buying habits. With energy prices soaring, devices that use less power is very appealing to customers too, including dentists!

Customers also want the supply chain to be ethical. Governance is a key element of Philips’ ESG framework. “As part of our ESG commitments, we aim to improve the lives of 1 million workers in our supply chain by 2025,” says Robert Metzke. “All of our ESG data is externally audited at the highest level, building on Philips’ strong track record of transparency in its ESG plans, actions, and reporting.” 

So where does Philips see itself in, say, 5 years’ time?

Doing the right thing! “Philips is a purpose-driven company that is committed to improve the health and well-being of 2 billion people per year by 2025 through innovation and to ensure that 400 million people in underserved communities gain access to health care.”

Robert adds “We are on track to deliver on our 2025 ESG commitments aimed at driving circular and carbon neutrality throughout our operations. By 2025 100% of our products will be ecodesigned, at least 25% of our business is circular, and of course we continue to operate carbon neutrally across the globe.” 

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