The Impact of Seeing the Full Picture:
Sustainability Within Healthcare
Bracco’s standpoint on sustainability - and environmental sustainability in particular - is that it is essential to look at the full picture. As a global leader in diagnostic imaging that enables healthcare providers to unlock the invisible, we understand the importance of not making decisions based on a partial view. We therefore work to measure and manage sustainability across the entire value chain, planning for people and the planet at every step.
From an emotional angle, seeing the full picture means that we recognize that we are part of something bigger than ourselves, and that the UN Sustainable Development Goals are only achievable if the public, private and personal spheres all work together. From a practical angle it also means that we look at every step in our process from R&D to waste recovery to assess and limit impact on the environment.
Below you can get a sense for some of our highlights across the value chain, or explore these in more detail in our brochure, From Every Angle.
Fig 1: highlights of some key initiatives across each step
Carbon neutrality by 2030 | Optimizing efficient water and energy use | Building only on previously developed areas
We take our commitments to reporting seriously and voluntarily publish an annual Sustainability Report which aligns with the Global Reporting Initiative’s (GRI) Core Standards and relevant UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Improvements across our value chain are also clearly articulated in the Sustainability Plan we use to define and monitor our strategy across the 2022-2030 horizon, with particular emphasis on people, planet and innovation.
Moving forward, we want to invite our stakeholders to consider their relationship not just with us, but with all of their healthcare suppliers in terms of sustainability in business. Whether it’s piloting more sustainable packaging, considering alternative logistics solutions, or making commitments to render carbon neutrality a reality, true transformation within the healthcare sector is only achievable if we start asking the right questions.
Innovation Will Drive the Healthcare Sector’s Transformation
If we consider the full picture of sustainability, it’s not enough merely to understand the challenges - we should and can work on innovation to meet these head on. Solutions can be found for environmental challenges in healthcare manufacturing and delivery without ever compromising the needs or safety of the patients we ultimately serve.
One of the key factors at play here for companies like ours is the recovery of iodine. Iodinated Contrast Media (ICMs) are safe for the human body but there are concerns about by-products for wastewater and drinking water ecosystems. For disciplines such as Radiology to truly go “green” we must go beyond looking at iodine’s end-stage impact as a waste material separate from the rest of the business operations, and focus on efficiencies in the entire product life cycle before, during and after use in the imaging department.
One example of Bracco’s responsible stewardship of iodine is to be found in our manufacturing sites. By utilizing the best available technologies, we have seen incredible results at our new-generation sites that employ reverse osmosis systems, recovering 87% to over 90% of iodine from wastewater in the production process that would otherwise have been lost, something you can learn more detail on in one of our Talking Images podcast segments. Responsible use of this trace substance is deeply embedded throughout multiple other steps, ranging from the sizes we make available to limit wastage, to cutting-edge AI algorithms that allow optimized images with lower dosages of contrast media.
The long-term solution to true minimal iodine impact across every step is an ongoing journey for us, but it is one to which we are wholeheartedly committed, as we walk alongside our key stakeholders in a transparent manner.
Conclusion: Improving People’s Lives Today and Tomorrow
Our purpose is “to improve people’s lives by shaping the future of prevention and precision imaging.” To be true to this cause, we’re building plans for innovation and honest dialogue that bring people in healthcare together to have as much respect for the planet as we have for the human body.