Philips’ Robert Metzke talks sustainability at key European conferences
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Philips’ Global Head of Sustainability highlights practical examples of Philips’ push for supply chain sustainability and circular economy solutions
How do you make the value chain truly circular, upstream with your suppliers and downstream with your customers? The answer – put forward a solid business case, innovate and lead by example. That’s the message Philips’ Global Head of Sustainability Robert Metzke will deliver at two upcoming sustainability events in Europe – the Financial Times ‘Future of Manufacturing Summit’ on October 8 – 9 in London (UK) and Ethical Corporation’s ‘Transform 2019’ conference on October 16 – 17 in Amsterdam (The Netherlands).
While the idea of improving the responsiveness of supply chains to demand-side changes has long been regarded as key to the efficient use of resources – less overproduction and waste – there is now a general consensus that the linear ‘take-make-use-throw’ model of production and consumption that we have become accustomed to for the last one hundred years is no longer fit for purpose. By 2050 we would need the natural resources of at least two planet Earths to keep it going.
Future of Manufacturing Summit
In the Future of Manufacturing Summit’s panel discussion on ‘Connected, Sustainable and Consumer-Driven Supply Chains’, Robert will highlight Philips’ Supplier Sustainability Performance (SSP) approach, which moves away from traditional auditing toward a model of proactive collaboration based on structural improvement, transparency and commitment. Its SSP program is part of a determination by Philips to invest in relationships with suppliers who provide a safe working environment, treat their workforce with respect, and work in an environmentally sound manner. As a strategic partner in the European Partnership for Responsible Minerals (EPRM), for example, Philips is committed to ensuring that all the metals used in its products are conflict-free. It has also invited many of its largest suppliers to join it in reporting their carbon footprint via the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) Supply Chain initiative. In its own North American and Netherlands operations, Philips already acquires 100% of its electricity from renewable sources, and in terms of its service offerings it is pioneering telehealth solutions that reduce the carbon footprint of healthcare delivery. With clearly stated, SBTi-approved greenhouse gas reduction targets, the company has been on the CDP Climate Change A List for the last six consecutive years.
At the Ethical Corporation ‘Transform 2019’ conference, Robert will reinforce his sustainability message with examples of how Philips is closing the loop in its upstream and downstream supply chain by creating new strategies, business models and collaborative partnerships to implement the circular economy. For example, Philips has not only stated that it will take back and recycle/repurpose all large Philips medical systems that its customers are prepared to return to it, it is also establishing long-term managed service partnerships with hospitals in which Philips retains ownership so that the whole process is easier and more effective. According to Robert, making sure that returned systems are recycled/repurposed efficiently, with different materials looping back into the upstream supply chain or being repurposed at suitable points in the downstream chain, is where collaborative stakeholder engagement and involvement are critical to success. Philips is also incorporating design-for-recycling into its product development processes.
For Philips, sustainability, circularity, innovation and collaboration are key elements in the company’s mission to improve people’s lives by ensuring healthy people and a sustainable planet.
Robert will be joined in the panel discussions by other international thought leaders in sustainability and the circular economy.
As Head of Sustainability at Philips, Robert leads the company’s ‘Healthy people, sustainable planet’ program, which runs from 2016 to 2020. The program reflects Philips’ commitment to the universally agreed United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially SDG #3 – ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. It also reflects the company’s commitment to sustainable consumption and production patterns.