Man and nature in balance
Our environment faces growing challenges: climate change, resource scarcity and an increasing global population. As a globally operating company, B. Braun has the responsibility to utilize resources in a sustainable and responsible manner. This includes the use of alternative and renewable energies as well as the construction and maintenance of environmentally friendly buildings. As far as possible we use environmentally-friendly materials for our packages.
„For me, sustainability means the obligation to minimize our ecological footprint and to maintain our environment for future generations.“
Renewable energies win
We consider renewable energy to include biomass, solar, hydro and wind power. While the increase in non-renewable energies equaled six percent, we were able to increase the use of renewable energy by 23 percent. The ratio of renewable energies rose by two percent during the reporting period 2015-2017.
Water is one of the most important resources for our products and their production. For the most part, we obtain this water from public companies and private supplies. At individual locations, B. Braun operates its own deep wells and uses precipitation water to a lesser extent.
The right color for a clean environment
Clean water is a crucial raw material for production at B. Braun. Accordingly, we make protecting groundwater a particularly high priority. Liquid medications and medical devices with organic compounds are a hazard to groundwater. Waste water disposal is a central aspect of our production chain, which is continually examined.
To ensure that every container, every substance and all waste water is disposed of properly, employees must always have the strict waste regulations in mind. For that reason, B. Braun developed a concept in which the disposal classes for infusion, injection and rinsing solutions and the waste water produced during manufacturing are identified by different colors. For example, solutions are differentiated into those containing active substances and those without, those containing fats and those containing zinc, and the corresponding disposal route is clearly specified. Containers (Ecoflac Plus, glass bottles, bags, Ecotainer) which accumulate in production and in the lab, among others, are collected in specially sealed transport containers and disposed of later.
We use modern building technologies and utilize daylight in our industrial facilities for natural, energy-effcient illumination of workstations. With our own initiatives and voluntary certifications, as well as sustainable construction methods, we accept additional responsibility for the environment.
More space for sustainability
A state-of-the-art B. Braun logistics center opened in 2015 in the Guaxindiba district in São Gonçalo, Rio de Janeiro. The building’s special architecture uses sunlight effciently and allows it to be ventilated naturally. Energy consumption in the logistics center was thereby reduced 40 percent, outside by 35 percent. It is one of the largest distribution centers for pharmaceutical products in Brazil and has been awarded the LEED Gold Standard Certificate (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) - an international quality label for sustainable construction recognized in 143 countries. In 2016, the project also received the FIRJAN Environmental Action Award in the “Greenhouse Effects and Energy Effciency Management” category.
Using old stuff, implementing new ideas
In 2016, B. Braun also commissioned a new high bay warehouse module for the goods distribution center in the Pfieffewiesen plant at its main location in Melsungen. The expansion made space for around 70,000 pallets in the overall plant, which are automatically stored and retrieved. B. Braun consistently pursued the goal of sustainability when designing the building. The facade of the building was designed with panels of recyclable aluminum. A new, complex ventilation system allows for passive cooling without air conditioning.
Sunlight as an energy provider
Between 2011 and 2016, the B. Braun production facility in Rubí, Spain, was improved expanding the size of the Lean Infusion Factory Technology Plant (LIFT), which automatically manufactures infusion solutions. A large triple-glazed façade allows natural solar light to be used for most of the day while avoiding energy losses by isolating the offces from the outside. Similarly, the temperature and ventilation are automatically controlled and the air conditioner uses a centralized control to manage its operation energetically at each moment according to the needs. Solar panels on the building’s roof provide enough electricity for the offces.
As a manufacturer of medical and pharmaceutical products, we are subject to strict regulations, which does not permit the use of secondary raw materials thus consequently reducing the amount of recyclable waste materials.
We recycle our waste for materials and heat – such as raw materials and thermal recovery – or dispose of them at the landfill. Through consistent sorting, we were able to return up to 86 percent of waste created during production to the economic cycles through recycling for materials or heat in 2017.
New technology, less waste
Producing as little waste as possible in the production of our products is part of B. Braun's global sustainability strategy. A new method in the production of Ecoflac bottles in our Leading Infusion Factory Europe plant enables the reuse of polyethylene residues. When starting up the production systems and later in the production chain, residues of the plastic granulates are created which are not reusable in this form. For that reason, B. Braun developed a special method that recycles - regranulates - the polyethylene residues, making them usable again as raw materials for production.
Regranulate and new granulate can be mixed at a ratio of 30:70 without influencing the quality of the final product. Developed by the Pharmaceutical Center of Excellence in Melsungen, this new technology has now been established in France, Malaysia and Spain. The method increases cost-effcient production of Ecoflac containers and simultaneously fulfills one of our environmental targets – reducing raw material waste. In 2017, an approximate total of 17 tons of polyethylene was recycled every day for the production of new infusion containers at our plants in Germany, France, Malaysia and Spain.