Our planet, our health – addressing climate change and improving wellbeing in the medical device industry
Published: 7 April 2022
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than 13 million deaths around the world each year are due to avoidable environmental causes. This includes the climate crisis which is the single biggest health threat facing humanity; it’s driving diseases like cancer, asthma, heart disease, and mosquito-borne diseases like Dengue.
This places significant pressure on the medical and pharma sectors, but what can the industry do to address climate change and reverse the impact?
This year’s theme for World Health Day is ‘our planet, our health’ and focuses on urgent actions needed to keep humans and the planet healthy and foster a movement to create societies focused on well-being. Here’s four actions Shore is implementing:
1. Offsetting carbon emissions
In the UK, the NHS is aiming to become the world’s first carbon net zero nation health system by 2040. As the pressures increase on companies globally to address net zero, there are steps we can take.
Shore is a certified carbon neutral company. By offsetting our residual carbon footprint, we are supporting water filtration and improved cookstoves in Guatemala and a global renewable energy portfolio; projects which bring additional social and community benefits in developing countries as well as reducing greenhouse gases.
2. Using recycled materials and reviewing the product life cycle
The pandemic influenced mass production of PPE and high volumes of plastic-use for COVID tests and vaccines. The use of non-biodegradable materials and single-use plastics has slowed the industry’s goals for sustainability. This, added to the challenge of controlling contamination from devices and managing medical waste safely, makes recycling and reusing complex and costly.
Our design process encourages the specification of recycled materials and sustainable manufacturing methods. We’ve been exploring the use of alternative techniques such as paper injection moulding to replace plastic components in medical devices.
In addition to this, we conduct a detailed assessment of product life cycle. A full view of the life cycle should be observed not just for ensuring time to market, safety and regulatory compliance or low costs, but to reduce the environmental impact of products.
Swiss based device manufacturer Ypsomed, a longstanding Shore customer, has launched the first carbon emission free pre-filled autoinjector. As well as using alternative materials and optimising the value chain, the company has offset the remaining carbon emissions.
3. Embracing digital technologies
Like most industries, digital transformation is significantly impacting the medical device industry.
Through digital technology, companies are improving manufacturing processes using digital twinning, utilising AI and machine learning for drug discovery, and enhancing patient experience through IoT in wearable devices – just to name a few examples. These not only help to reduce carbon footprint but improve the wellbeing of patients by empowering them with a better understanding of their treatment. Connected health is booming, and increasingly so because of the pandemic.
We’re proud to have a close working partnership with LifeScan, a global leader in glucose monitoring and diabetes management. The company prides itself on supporting a life of wellness through innovative solutions. We’ve worked with LifeScan to evolve it’s OneTouch® brand and to create an innovate user experience through a simple, intuitive and engaging design which educates the user and improves the ability to manage their blood sugar, assists healthcare professionals in patient monitoring and management, and motivates lifestyle choices, all with the aim of improving quality of life.
4. Sharing responsibility
Everyone at Shore shares the same passion about protecting our environment and it’s not just through our device development. Through daily operations we are reducing waste, hybrid working and have a cycle to work scheme. We’re constantly exploring actions we can take to reduce our footprint on the world.
We’re passionate about working with customers on creating designs that deliver while playing our part to keep humans and the planet healthy.