Finding the balance: the sustainability journey of PENTAX Medical

Sustainable development is a journey that everyone must embark on – whether it’s entire industries, single corporations, national governments or individual households. The time to act is now.  Especially in the healthcare sector there is still a lot to gain. This is why PENTAX Medical has embarked on a transformation of “finding the balance”, whereby the medical device manufacturer aims to balance patient safety and the inevitable impact on the environment and climate. Becoming a responsible and accountable corporate citizen is being embedded into the core of the business.

Aligning to the SDGs

One of the ways PENTAX Medical is aligning themselves with the international sustainable development movement, is by committing explicitly to multiple United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). For example, the smart solutions provider is committed to SDG 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production) by continuously assessing how it can reduce the size of its packaging and minimize the use of plastics during the transportation process. As a result, PENTAX Medical has been able to use 33% less cardboard and 69% less cushioning materials since 2020. [1] The medical device manufacturer is also assessing how to improve the resources used
in its actual products, which is why the PlasmaBAGTM endoscope storage bags are now made up of 80% recycled polyethylene. In terms of SDG 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure), PENTAX Medical is looking for ways to neutralize the carbon emissions resulting from the manufacturing of its products. It supports the Togo reforestation projects to compensate for the carbon emissions in the production of the PlasmaBAG endoscope storage bags.

Moving into more social SDGs, the smart solutions provider is also fully aligned with SDG 4 (Quality Education). The PENTAX Medical Forward Academy provides an education platform for the next generation of endoscopists and ensures that talented medical professionals can learn the latest insights in medical care. Ultimately, PENTAX Medical is aligning many of its sustainability endeavours with the SDGs and planning to do even more.

New design principles

This sustainability-focused way of thinking was codified into the PENTAX Medical innovation process, when new products are developed. Formed around device design, materials, packaging, distribution, disposal and production, this new design principle (Figure 1) encourages product managers and engineers to consider the total impact of their innovations. It challenges teams to develop sustainable solutions that balance patient safety and environmental impacts. The AquaTYPHOONTM was the first product for which this principle was applied. By critically reflecting on the manual pre-cleaning process of flexible endoscopes, the AquaTYPHOON was created as a sustainable alternative that minimizes waste and resource use.

The journey to a more sustainable future has just begun and together a balance must be found – for nature and society.

1. Source: Production engineering PENTAX Medical Japan