The medical device industry is caught between environmental responsibility and innovation, according to a report on Friday.Despite the medical device industry's commitment to healthcare innovation, achieving environmental responsibility has been hindered by stringent regulations.
The report by GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, shows that the industry finds itself at a crucial juncture, balancing technological advancements with sustainable practices.It highlights the regulatory and disclosure changes that are promoting commitment to environmental sustainability and the initiatives by leading medical device companies to reduce emissions and better manage resources.
"Many companies are implementing sustainable packaging, efficient energy usage, and increased use of telemedical applications to make an immediate difference. But due to the nature of medical products, device quality needs to remain a priority, and swift eco-friendly changes will not be made at the expense of patient health.
Larger, long-term changes to medical devices and manufacturing will rely on proper regulation and risk mitigation," said Ashley Clarke, Medical Analyst at GlobalData, in a statement.Pressure from the private sector (customers, investors, workers) is still an important factor driving environmental, social, and governance (ESG) action by medical device companies.
However, the ESG regulatory landscape is starting to catch up.Popular opinion in GlobalData's latest ESG survey indicated that legislature and pressure from governments should lead ESG decisions (35 per cent of votes), superseding desire to improve financial performance (29 per cent of votes).
The ESG survey also revealed that 45 per cent of respondents said their company either had no ESG plan (27 per cent) or could not say whether they had one (18 per cent). This is down from the combined 68 per cent the previous quarter, suggesting communication surrounding ESG strategies is improving.
Corporate governance and legislative disclosure policies will continue to improve ESG transparency and promote open communication between stakeholders and medical device companies. It is essential to recognise the potential for positive change and collective action within the industry.
"In the past, environmental and ethical actions may have been exaggerated as companies become increasingly aware of the potential of ESG action to improve customer loyalty. Many still believe that ESG is treated only as a marketing exercise and companies are not fully committed to change," Clarke said.
"This has resulted in ESG plans working against companies rather than for them, so companies may choose to keep quiet about their ESG plans to avoid scrutiny and greenwashing allegations. But change cannot be realised if there is not proper communication between companies, consumers, workers, and investors about environmental initiatives, progress, and challenges".