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News & Trends - MedTech & Diagnostics

Compelling shift from public and private hospitals to elevate sustainability agenda for medtech sector

Health Industry Hub | October 30, 2023 |

MedTech & Diagnostics News: In a paradigm shift for the healthcare sector, rising expectations from various stakeholder groups, including policymakers, investors, customers, and employees, have propelled Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) considerations into a critical strategic focus. This industry-wide transformation acknowledges the healthcare sector’s dual role, significantly impacted by climate change while also contributing to it.

Staggering figures highlight the magnitude of the healthcare industry’s carbon footprint, revealing that it is responsible for a significant 4.4% of global greenhouse gas emissions and a substantial 7% in Australia, surpassing the emissions of the aviation industry by more than double.

A new report, the result of a collaborative effort between APACMed and Bain & Company, has united 15 member companies to create a comprehensive online dashboard. This dashboard is tailored to provide insights into environmental regulations specific to the medtech value chain across six major markets in the Asia-Pacific region, including Australia.

The report’s survey, conducted among 120 respondents from public and private hospitals in key markets such as Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea and Vietnam, has uncovered a compelling shift. More than 70% of decision makers responsible for medtech purchases have defined ESG strategies, complete with key objectives, metrics, and targets. This figure rises to over 90% in Australia, signifying an exceptional commitment to sustainability in the region.

Remarkably, 85% of Australian hospitals have pledged to make ESG a focal point in their key purchasing criteria within the next two years, surpassing the APAC average by a significant margin, which stands at 53%. Furthermore, 30% of hospitals now prioritise environmental sustainability as one of their top three criteria when selecting medtech suppliers.

In addition to its environmental implications, the healthcare sector is grappling with workforce challenges in attracting and retaining talent. The APACMed report, encompassing insights from over 800 medtech company employees across the region, including Australia, has illuminated a striking finding. An astounding 74% of employees have expressed their reluctance to work for companies with a negative environmental impact. Notably, 89% of customer-facing teams regard environmental issues as pivotal to their company’s day-to-day operations.

However, the road to environmental sustainability within the Australian healthcare system is fraught with challenges. A lack of clear national objectives and framework, coupled with reporting criteria to measure progress on targets, adds complexities to the journey.

Despite these challenges, environmental sustainability policies are progressively evolving in Australia. The government’s development of a National Health and Climate Strategy, following a consultation that concluded in July, represents a significant stride in this direction.

In addition, the Senate’s referral of the Climate Change Amendment Bill 2023 for inquiry in August seeks to require decision makers to consider the welfare of current and future generations when making decisions that contribute to climate change. The inquiry report is expected to be released in March 2024, holding the promise of further environmental action in the healthcare sector.

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