Green Rankings 2012: Health Care

Companies in this sector are involved in pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and life sciences, and health-care equipment and services.

While not typically considered an industry with a significant environmental footprint, the Health Care industry must manage various forms of waste, most notably discarded pharmaceuticals. Leading pharmaceutical companies now conduct product life-cycle assessments starting at the research and development stage through digestion and eventual egestion. Proactive initiatives include programs to collect and properly dispose of expired, unused, and contaminated pharmaceutical products. Some companies have gone further to extend their definition of “waste” to include materials that some regulatory bodies do not classify as harmful. Reduction programs are then put in place, supported by long-term targets and annual disclosures on progress. Although many companies report compliance with ISO 14001 environmental management standards, comprehensive life-cycle assessments are not the norm, and the industry as a whole lacks effective waste, water, and emission-reduction programs.

 

Key Industry Impacts

 

• Water, greenhouse-gas emissions, and general waste together account for more than 85 percent of the industry’s total environmental footprint.

• The Health Care industry accounts for about 1.5 percent of the environmental impact of all ranked companies.

 

Critical Issue Profile: Hazardous-Waste Management

 

Many health-care companies engage in activities that lead to the generation of hazardous waste, posing risks to both environmental and human health through contamination of the air, soil, and water. According to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO), health-care facilities are one of the main sources of mercury released into the atmosphere due to emissions from the incineration of medical waste. Mercury is extremely toxic if inhaled or exposed to the skin. Although mercury-based equipment can be replaced with digital and aneroid alternatives, the chemical element is still used in thermometers, blood-pressure devices, and other more sophisticated medical devices. Companies that fail to comply with increasingly stringent hazardous-waste regulations face significant fines and penalties, as well as the high costs associated with remediation of contaminated sites.

 

 

Industry Ranking: How U.S. Health Care Companies Stack Up

 

Industry RankCompanyOverall RankIndustry SectorImpactManagementDisclosureGreen Score2011 Green Score
1Baxter18Healthcare60.782.482.372.674.9
2Allergan25Healthcare63.481.454.870.670.1
3Agilent Technologies26Healthcare65.775.266.970.171.7
4Becton Dickinson32Healthcare62.479.657.269.664.4
5Biogen Idec33Healthcare65.869.583.669.367.5
6Johnson & Johnson36Healthcare61.581.047.668.974.6
7Pfizer37Healthcare62.376.662.468.766.2
8Covidien51Healthcare60.774.064.267.058.6
9Merck & Co58Healthcare59.573.268.366.658.4
10Hospira63Healthcare61.370.265.565.766.0
11Medtronic65Healthcare62.469.461.565.464.2
12Humana72Healthcare87.246.945.864.962.9
13Eli Lilly77Healthcare61.965.371.164.463.1
14Bristol-Myers Squibb78Healthcare63.564.467.464.363.4
15Life Technologies97Healthcare58.174.823.662.162.5
16Amgen102Healthcare64.362.547.961.861.4
17Aetna113Healthcare81.049.423.761.158.5
18CIGNA119Healthcare86.941.229.860.659.2
19WellPoint121Healthcare87.340.429.260.460.3
20Boston Scientific144Healthcare59.763.334.058.756.8
21Quest Diagnostics177Healthcare71.142.558.356.958.3
22UnitedHealth Group192Healthcare73.644.429.556.054.5
23Coventry Health Care200Healthcare87.436.30.055.755.4
24Health Net201Healthcare87.436.30.055.755.4
25Abbott Laboratories208Healthcare48.860.261.955.254.2
26DaVita209Healthcare71.050.74.255.251.6
27Thermo Fisher Scientific217Healthcare63.952.720.854.654.8
28Cerner225Healthcare79.241.50.054.351.4
29Express Scripts236Healthcare78.740.40.053.652.0
30Cardinal Health259Healthcare69.743.316.752.549.5
31Zimmer Holdings263Healthcare60.851.716.752.354.2
32McKesson266Healthcare73.042.52.452.253.9
33Stryker270Healthcare61.953.04.252.148.5
34Community Health Systems277Healthcare62.750.46.351.544.4
35Henry Schein291Healthcare71.242.50.051.250.8
36St. Jude Medical315Healthcare61.648.14.249.849.6
37Tenet Healthcare342Healthcare62.743.28.348.545.3
38Laboratory Corp. of America344Healthcare71.036.30.048.348.0
39AmerisourceBergen345Healthcare71.036.30.048.347.9
40CareFusion358Healthcare61.644.50.047.845.5
41Omnicare361Healthcare69.536.30.047.647.9
42Celgene362Healthcare56.145.917.247.647.1
43Gilead Sciences363Healthcare56.045.317.547.347.0
44Watson Pharmaceuticals365Healthcare57.646.44.247.246.8
45C. R. Bard385Healthcare61.338.211.445.944.6
46Forest Laboratories386Healthcare55.845.34.245.945.5
47Perrigo388Healthcare55.246.60.045.8N/A
48Mylan396Healthcare55.245.30.045.245.1
49Health Management Associates407Healthcare62.736.90.044.844.4
50Universal Health Services422Healthcare62.734.40.043.743.3
51Dentsply International432Healthcare56.637.44.242.7N/A