Baxter tops medical products and equipment sector sustainability reporting

Source: Roberts Environmental Center, 20 April 2007

Of the 16 companies in the Fortune Global 500 medical products and equipment sector whose environmental and sustainability reporting was analyzed by the Roberts Environmental Center in 2006, Baxter achieved by far the highest ranking in environmental and sustainability reporting based on the Center’s Pacific Sustainability Index. Becton Dickinson was second getting a grade of B-, with all other companies in the sector getting Ds or Fs. Most of the companies in this sector have obviously not made any attempt at sustainability reporting on the web. It is not uncommon in any sector for a large percentage of companies with revenues less than about $8billion not to be engaged in reporting, and all but Baxter and Medtronic (with a grade of D-) fall into this category.
Baxter features prominent links to its sustainability reporting on its home page and both downloadable sustainability reports which it has released yearly since 1999 (although the latest is still the 2005 version) in Adobe Acrobat format and a series of easily navigable sustainability web pages. Baxter is one of the most aggressive companies in reporting social performance and in pushing its environmental and social standards down the supply chain. A particularly nice feature of the site is a downloadable summary data table that compares a large number of social and environmental performance metrics across years and makes it easy to assess where there have been improvements and where not. Not surprisingly there are more of the former than of the latter and it is clear that Baxter, whose performance is already very good, is continuously working at making it better.

Becton Dickenson (BD) has no links to anything resembling environmental or sustainability matters on its home page, but searching the site quickly gets one to BD’s Citizenship Report which contains the data leading to its second place PSI ranking. This is a series of linked web pages but there is no downloadable report, so getting an overview is much more difficult than in the case of Baxter. Most of the companies in this sector, by contrast, are reporting almost nothing.

These findings are based on the information available on the web sites of all of the companies in thin this sectors of the 2005 Fortune 1000 list as of September, 2006. No firms in this sector were large enough to be included in the Fortune Global 500 list. All firms were invited to review and comment on the analysis prior to publication, and eight of them brought to our attention relevant information, some posted to their web sites following their review of our draft report, that raised their scores.

Download the report