Elekta working toward a low-carbon future
Company addressing greenhouse gas emissions from multiple angles in accordance with the Paris Agreement
Since – as the saying goes – there is no “Planet B,” individuals, companies and governments should work hard to reduce their impact on the Earth’s climate. In February 2023, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) declared that “the pace and scale of what has been done so far, and current plans, are insufficient to tackle climate change,” so more work is needed. Technology companies like Elekta have been on this journey for several years, and Elekta has recently stepped up its ambitions further by setting science-based targets.
“It is about our future, our home – this is a mission that we all share at Elekta.”
“From a humanity perspective, climate change is the biggest challenge we have faced in terms of the transformation needed to secure a sustainable future for coming generations. It is about our future, our home – this is a mission that we all share at Elekta,” says Hilma Nordquist, Elekta’s Group Sustainability Director. “From a corporate standpoint, it’s critical that Elekta can demonstrate to our stakeholders that we are prepared and able to transform for a low-carbon economy.”
A science-based imperative
To assure the utmost transparency, Elekta and other companies are working with an organization called Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). The SBTi drives action in the private sector by supporting companies to set science-based emissions reduction targets and provides independent validation of each company’s targets.
“SBTi has reviewed our greenhouse gas emissions profile in addition to the targets Elekta has set,” she says. “If we work toward these targets and reduce our emissions accordingly, then SBTi validates that we are aligning our global operations with what climate science says we need to do.”
Elekta has calculated its emissions according to the international standard Greenhouse Gas Protocol. The largest sources of emissions in Elekta’s inventory include the use of its products, and emissions from the supply chain and production of input materials. Elekta has set targets to address these emissions as well as emissions in its own operations, such as company facilities and car fleet.
“Elekta’s car fleet gives rise to emissions, and we are setting out to reduce those; here we either have to operate fewer cars or switch to hybrid or electric vehicles, which we have opted to initiate in some countries,” Nordquist says. “In terms of facility energy consumption, actions taken so far include for example installing more efficient heating and cooling systems in the Netherlands brachytherapy production facility.”
Elekta also aims to use 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030.
Expanding access to care while minimizing environmental impact
Global cancer incidence is increasing annually, meaning that the need for radiotherapy treatments is growing. Elekta intends to drive cancer access and make cancer treatments more environmentally efficient by maximizing the number of treatment courses delivered per machine lifetime. To support this approach, Elekta is measuring emissions from the use of sold products per cancer treatment course. In that way, Elekta intends to increase access to radiotherapy by driving more efficient clinical use of the machines, while also minimizing its environmental footprint, in, for example, product power consumption supporting our customers’ sustainability agendas.
“In product utilization for some of our products, for instance, we continue to drive for better, faster workflows at the customer site so that session times are reduced,” she observes. “In addition, the trend toward hypofractionation – delivery of higher dose per fraction with fewer number of treatment sessions per course – supports access to therapy by treating more patients over the machine’s lifetime, while also being more environmentally efficient via fewer treatment fractions.”
“In our product development, Elekta works to drive environmentally conscious design,” Nordquist explains. “We look at the whole life cycle of our products from design to usage to disposal, looking at what materials go into the design, and we are exploring how we can limit waste by enabling refurbishing and recycling, and how we can further optimize packaging and service.”
Extending beyond the company itself, Elekta is engaging with its suppliers to set their respective emissions targets. “We see a significant part of our emissions come from our supply chain. Therefore, we are working with our suppliers and motivate them to set their own emissions reduction targets over the next years. In that way, we aim to drive larger scale collaboration for the climate.”
A company-wide mindset
Environmental sustainability efforts are not limited to the aforementioned three sources (product use, supply chain; and product transportation), they apply to every Elekta office in the world and to all employees, she stresses.
“We see strong commitment for sustainability across Elekta. We have worked with all functions in the company to integrate environmental sustainability.”
“We see strong commitment for sustainability across Elekta. We have worked with all functions in the company to integrate environmental sustainability,” Nordquist says.
Each function supports the sustainability agenda, and examples of how individual Elekta offices are already taking action, including the installation of charging stations for employees’ electric cars, recycling and active waste management programs and even recycling of coffee grounds.
“We’re proud of the programs and initiatives we have implemented so far in support of the Paris Agreement, but we also acknowledge that there is so much more work to do, and we continue to work to improve our methods for measuring and decreasing our environmental impact while maximizing the positive social impact through our core business,” she says. “Achieving the Paris Agreement’s objectives is an ambitious undertaking but being a good corporate citizen and respecting the health of the Earth are critical. Every person, company and government needs to get on board – there is no ‘Planet B.’”
Click here to learn more about Elekta’s commitment to sustainability.