Our Priorities > Safeguarding the Environment Addressing Global Climate Change: Direct Impacts
In 2011, we met and surpassed our 2015 goal to reduce CO2e emissions. From our baseline year, 2005, to this year, we reduced total absolute CO2e emissions by 17.5 percent.
At our manufacturing facility in Shanghai, steam collected from the manufacturing process is used to generate heat. This process is just one element in our efforts to increase Abbott’s energy efficiency and lower our carbon footprint.
In 2010, one of Abbott's key commercial buildings at our headquarters in Illinois earned our first LEED Gold certification for operation and maintenance. New high-efficiency water fixtures, installation of a more efficient irrigation system, and converting to green cleaning chemicals and equipment, plus other changes, made the building more environmentally friendly.
Climate change is a serious issue for our planet, and it has the potential to affect businesses in many ways. For example, extreme weather patterns and water scarcity may pose challenges for sourcing, operations and distribution, while a more carbon-constrained world could add to energy costs. Additionally, climate change could lead to significant changes in the global disease burden.
It is clear that action is required – not only to mitigate these risks, but also to help society adapt to the climate changes already under way. As a global health care company, we are committed to helping address this issue – by reducing our direct impacts from manufacturing and by making a positive difference from indirect impacts across our value chain.
Abbott’s Carbon Footprint
Like most companies, Abbott emits carbon directly from our manufacturing, warehousing and office activities and through our vehicle fleets. We also contribute indirect carbon emissions throughout our value chain – through our sourcing and distribution as well as consumers’ and health care professionals’ use and disposal of our products. We are committed to further reducing carbon emissions in every aspect of our business.
We have been measuring and managing our direct emissions for many years, especially with respect to our three greatest sources of impact – our manufacturing fuel combustion, our electricity use and our global sales fleet. Abbott has a comprehensive environmental management program aimed at reducing our emissions from each of these sources.
We work across the value chain to reduce our carbon emissions, and we encourage our suppliers, distributors and other stakeholders to reduce their impact as well.
Reducing Our Footprint: Abbott's Climate Responsible Energy Policy
Our Climate Responsible Energy Policy provides guidance and goals to help our employees around the world appropriately manage energy use and related emissions. Our policy focuses on increasing energy efficiency in our manufacturing operations; investing in low carbon energy; improving efficiency within our transportation fleet; encouraging a lower carbon footprint within our supply chain; and publicly reporting our performance.
Our Global Energy Council includes representatives from our most energy-intensive businesses. The council works to monitor, evaluate and reduce total energy consumption globally while negotiating best-in-class price and delivery contracts and promoting the installation of financially beneficial energy conservation and alternative energy projects.
Through our numerous energy management initiatives, we:
- Negotiate competitive energy contracts
- Implement financial hedges to reduce volatility
- Perform energy audits to identify new opportunities
- Transfer best-in-class energy practices
- Communicate energy knowledge
- Identify and implement financially responsible energy capital projects
Carbon Footprint Reductions in Manufacturing
In 2009, we updated our carbon reduction target, pledging to reduce absolute carbon dioxide emissions (from direct emissions or sources we own or control and from electricity we purchase) by 15 percent by 2015 compared with 2005 levels. By the end of 2011, we had already reduced CO2e emissions, normalized by sales, by 17.5 percent.
We are achieving these reductions in our carbon footprint by improving energy efficiency and switching to "clean" energy – including low-carbon fuels, cogeneration and renewable energy. We have undertaken these measures at most Abbott facilities, part of our ongoing focus on reducing Abbott's carbon footprint in daily operations. An important component of that footprint comes from the energy we purchase from various sources. In 2011, we achieved a 12.2 percent reduction in purchased energy normalized by sales.
Examples of energy efficiency programs that help reduce carbon emissions at our manufacturing plants include:
- Our vascular products manufacturing facility in Santa Clara, California, removed and replaced old, inefficient lighting with new, more energy efficient lighting and controls. The project delivered an immediate return on investment.
- Our medical devices manufacturing facility in Ottawa, Canada, installed a solar-powered pond aerating pump. The solar energy substituted 11,000 kilowatts of electric power and reduced emissions by 6,600 pounds per year.
Carbon Footprint Reductions Through Green Building
Abbott is increasing efforts to integrate green engineering technologies and concepts into our regularly scheduled projects, such as re-roofing and other renovations, as well as new building design. Some of these projects involve new and emerging technologies that, if proven successful at one plant, may improve our global environmental performance at other locations.
In 2010, we implemented a front-end planning process and assessment tool for evaluating the energy and environmental impacts of capital projects costing $2.5 million or more. When those impacts are deemed significant, planners are required to evaluate design alternatives that might prove more environmentally friendly.
Our front-end planning tool gives project designers three-dimensional models for analyzing and comparing various alternatives that might improve energy efficiency, optimize natural light and ventilation and incorporate the use of various other green components. The tool also estimates energy usage and costs over a building's useful life. In addition, our assessment tool provides carbon footprint reporting and optimization alternatives that can improve a building's carbon neutral potential.
We are committed to using green building guidelines when planning or evaluating each construction project, whether it involves a new building or renovations to an existing building. In the United States, we follow the U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating systems. Wherever practical, Abbott project teams attempt to execute construction and renovation projects in alignment with the green building guidelines and with the ultimate goal of achieving LEED certification. At present, Abbott has four facilities that have achieved LEED Gold certification, one LEED Silver and two additional facilities with green building certification.
Our Carbon Footprint: Examining Our Carbon Emissions
We use energy in many aspects of our operation: stationary sources, which include our manufacturing facilities and office buildings, and mobile sources, which include our sales fleet. We monitor the amount of energy each source uses and the resulting carbon emissions to understand the impact of our carbon footprint reduction initiatives. In this document, we share those results.
Year-on-year, our total energy usage has decreased as we have made conscious efforts to reduce the amount of energy we use. This includes our initiatives to increase energy efficiency and switch to clean energy in our manufacturing facilities, to integrate green engineering technologies and concepts into our regularly scheduled projects and to make our fleet greener.
Note: All data in the Global Citizenship section reflects activities prior to the separation of Abbott and AbbVie on January 1, 2013.