Environment – Progress and measures 2020

GRI 302-1

Our business sectors achieved the following progress and measures for environmental protection in the focus areas of water management, waste and recycling management, energy management, and climate protection.

Fresenius Medical Care

Improve products and use resources more efficiently

Fresenius Medical Care counts on innovations to improve the environmental performance of its products and services. Most of the water utilized by Fresenius Medical Care is needed to produce dialysate during life-saving treatments in the company's dialysis centers. Fresenius Medical Care's latest dialysis machine generations, the 5008 and 6008 series, are both designed to be more eco-friendly. They automatically adjust the dialysate flow to the patient's blood flow. This allows Fresenius Medical Care to save substantial amounts of dialysate, water, and energy while maintaining a consistently high dialysis quality.

The 2008T BlueStar machine is another example of Fresenius Medical Care's ongoing efforts to limit the environmental footprint of dialysis. Compared to similar devices, the 2008T machine features an idle mode to reduce dialysate and water usage by up to two-thirds, thus saving additional costs. In 2020, almost every second dialysis machine we produced belonged to one of these resource-friendly machine generations.

Life Cycle Assessments

Fresenius Medical Care also conducts simplified product life cycle assessments for selected products. By assessing the environmental impact along a product’s life cycle from raw material extraction to production, distribution, use, and disposal, the company can identify processes and materials that it needs to focus on to improve the eco-performance of its products and services. Based on international guidelines, Fresenius Medical Care calculates the environmental impact caused during the different stages of a product’s life cycle in accordance with ISO 14001 and the IEC 60601-1-9 standards. The latter standard applies to efforts to reduce the adverse environmental impacts of medical electrical equipment. Fresenius Medical Care currently applies such life cycle assessments to the majority of its medical device product lines. The company is gradually extending them to disposables, including bloodlines and peritoneal dialysis bags. Fresenius Medical Care has also assessed the environmental impact of its dialysis machines and identified the life cycle phase with the highest impact. In 2021, Fresenius Medical Care is planning to increasingly consider sustainability aspects in its research and development activities.

In addition, Fresenius Medical Care has conducted detailed comparative product life cycle assessments for important disposables. The assessments follow the structure and requirements of the ISO 14040/44 standards and compare the eco-performance of several of its acid concentrates and dialyzers.

Reduced water consumption

To generate water savings at its manufacturing sites, Fresenius Medical Care engaged in several initiatives in 2020. The business segment managed to reduce water consumption by optimizing the pure water discharge processes as well as reducing the feeding frequency of water treatment with salt or other liquids used for tank cleaning. Further, several plants reclaimed water and wastewater to reuse it in other parts of the plant. This allowed the business segment to minimize the total usage of water and the amount of contaminated water.

Self-sufficiency and improved transport systems

Fresenius Medical Care is working on different projects to reduce GHG emissions. Its biggest plant in St. Wendel, Germany, accounted for around one fourth of the total GHG emissions reported by Fresenius Medical Care's manufacturing sites in 2020. The company operates an internal gas power plant with a heat recovery steam generator. This allows the company to generate close to 100% of the electricity used at this site on its own. Here, in 2020, the business segment was able to save more than 23,800 tons of CO2 compared to buying an energy mix from the electricity grid. This corresponds to a global avoidance of CO2 emissions of 6% for total manufacturing.

In 2020, Fresenius Medical Care worked on further saving measures, including different transportation packaging systems. These allow the company to carry more products at a time, resulting in reduced fuel consumption and, consequently, lower CO2 emissions. As part of the Global Sustainability Program, Fresenius Medical Care is planning to define qualitative environmental goals as well as quantitative reduction targets for GHG emissions.

Fresenius Kabi

Information platform for energy and water management

In 2019, Fresenius Kabi established an internal information platform for exchanging information on energy and water management practices, which is directed at all relevant production sites. This exchange has already produced ideas for improvements, which resulted in eight energy-saving projects and five water-saving projects of which the implementation began 2020.

Product improvements to save materials

In the enteral nutrition product segment, for example, Fresenius Kabi is continuously working on reducing the material consumption of its product packaging. This also contributes to reducing plastic waste from product packaging. The amount of plastic used for the enteral container EasyBottle (200ml) has already been reduced from 20g to 16g in the recent years. In addition, Fresenius Kabi has been delivering the EasyBottle without a drinking straw since 2019 in order to avoid plastic waste from drinking straws. Through these steps, the amount of plastic used for the EasyBottle has already been reduced by almost 5g or 23% of the original weight. In 2020, the business segment managed to reduce the weight of the EasyBottle again by more than 12% of the previous weight. Production of the lighter EasyBottle started in 2020.

In order to analyze the environmental performance of the EasyBag – another of Fresenius Kabi’s product packaging for enteral nutrition over the product lifecycle, the business segment commissioned an external institute to conduct a lifecycle assessment. The environmental performance of the EasyBag was assessed and compared with other product packaging for enteral nutrition over the various phases of the product life cycle – from raw material extraction to, production, use, and disposal. Overall, the EasyBag performed better according to the environmental criteria than comparable product packaging in the market. This is particularly due to the low material consumption: the EasyBag is 60% lighter than the average product packaging for enteral nutrition available on the market and thus generates about 85% less plastic waste in volume.

Fresenius Kabi also attaches great importance to environmentally friendly materials for the outer packaging of the enteral nutrition products. In the enteral nutrition product segment, cardboard boxes are used that are made from 100% FSC-MIX certified materials. The cartons MIX-certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) are made from a mixture of materials from certified forests, recycled material, or controlled wood.

Energy savings in production

Fresenius Kabi continuously works to improve its energy and environmental performance. In 2020, for example, Fresenius Kabi replaced an air compressor with a new, more efficient one at its plant in Bad Homburg. This can reduce the energy consumption by approximately 57 MWh of energy or 14 tons of CO2. In addition, the steam traps were tested at the same location. The test enabled the optimization of the condensate conductor, which has lead to energy savings of approximately 263 MWh of energy or 53 tons of CO2.

Fresenius Helios

Improving water quality

Helios Germany has a plan according to which water pipes must be flushed regularly ‑ at the latest after 72 hours. This is to prevent water from stagnating in the pipes for too long and becoming contaminated with germs. In this way, Helios Germany was able to significantly improve water quality.

In-house generation at the Helios clinics

Helios Germany's covers a low double-digit percentage of total electricity requirements by electricity generated in-house. This provides a secure and uninterrupted energy supply to the clinics. Thanks to its own power generation, Fresenius Helios saves CO2 at its German hospital sites compared to purchasing it entirely from outside sources. Thanks to its balanced electricity supply, Helios also counters fluctuating prices on the energy market. With regard to the construction of alternative technologies for energy generation (e.g. photovoltaic systems), Helios Germany carefully considers in advance whether this form of in-house generation is legally permitted under energy legislation.

Seven Helios Spain clinics use thermal solar energy and photovoltaic systems to generate energy. To generate thermal energy, the division also uses micro cogeneration plants at two clinics and biomass at another clinic.

Sites and infrastructure

Fresenius Helios relies on an external service provider for the timely collection of energy data from the German hospitals. Evaluation and assessment are carried out centrally by the Infrastructure business unit. Various parameters can be controlled via a central portal - from the price of electricity on the energy market to the hospitals' respective energy consumption. In order to monitor energy flows more precisely, a measurement concept is being implemented at relevant sites. This is an essential component to meet the requirements of the ISO-50001 standard.

With the help of its central energy procurement and management system, Fresenius Helios can compare the consumption values of the clinics, initiate targeted improvement measures, and share best practices from individual clinics within the company.

At Helios Spain the emissions from business trips by plane and train have been calculated. In addition, the emissions of the journeys made by workers to their workplace have been estimated with a mobility survey. Helios Germany does not currently record Scope-3 emissions. Nevertheless, the division is aiming to reduce such emissions through a benchmark system. The mobility of employees is a particular focus: At 21 sites, they have the option of leasing a bicycle. Since 2020, it has been possible to use electric vehicles as company cars.

Simultaneously, guidelines were introduced throughout Germany for the establishment of charging infrastructure by service providers, as well as for the charging of electric vehicles at the Helios Germany sites. At some pilot sites, the business segment is trialing electric-powered patient and visitor transport on the hospital premises. One example is the cooperation on the first autonomous electric vehicle in Wiesbaden, Germany.
In some spanish Helios clinics, cooling, heating and pump systems were replaced in 2020, resulting in improved performance and energy efficiency. In addition, Helios Spain was able to save energy in the year under review by introducing LED systems and timer circuits at its sites, as well as making insulation and air conditioning more efficient.

International exchange for optimization

In all areas, Fresenius Helios is constantly looking to improve and make more efficient use of resources for patients and employees. Besides the know-how exchange between Helios Germany and Helios Spain, the business segment keeps track of regional, national, and even international developments. This includes the comprehensive evaluation of new environmentally friendly technologies before they are used in the clinics ‑ e.g., the possible use of biodegradable disposable products with subsequent energy recovery.

Fresenius Vamed

Water-saving and environmentally friendly technologies

In project business, Fresenius Vamed ensures that the latest generation of water-saving technologies is used. Future operators and employees receive comprehensive training. The participants learn, for example, how they can save water most effectively. In the non-European markets, the business segment uses fully biological sewage treatment plants in its project business to treat wastewater. In the reporting period, Fresenius Vamed integrated such a plant into a project in Trinidad and Tobago.

CO2-neutral power supply

The majority of Fresenius Vamed's consolidated health care facilities in Austria are supplied with CO2-neutral electricity from hydropower. Fresenius Vamed also obtains a modest amount of energy from its own combined heat and power plants in Germany. Swiss healthcare facilities purchase regional electricity, some of which comes from renewable sources.

LEED standard for Vamed

During its project developments for new functional buildings, Vamed consults during processes and awarding of contracts for services in accordance with the specifications of the sustainability standard LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and incorporates them into energy-conscious construction at the Gold quality level.

Climate protection – energy and emissions

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