Medtronic Drives Sustainability Goals With First CSO Hire

Healthcare technology leader Medtronic has appointed Raman Venkatesh as first Chief Sustainability Officer as it accelerates ESG reporting and goals

When you set yourself bold sustainability goals as a global organisation with revenue upwards of US$30 billion and 95,000 employees, that task is made doubly hard if you do not have a dedicated Chief Sustainability Officer leading the way.

With that in mind, it’s surprising to hear that healthcare technology leader Medtronic has already achieved so much, before appointing its first CSO.

Reporting regulations are coming into force across the world, and a company such as Medtronic – which served 74 million patients in FY23 – would certainly have had that in the back of their mind as they announced Raman Venkatesh as the company’s first CSO.

The good news for Venkatesh is that Medtronic is already making good on some of its promises, but there is still work to do. The company’s latest Sustainability Report (for FY23) states that it has achieved a 35% reduction in GHG emissions intensity compared to FY20 – against a target to reach 50% by FY25.

When it comes to energy, Medtronic has reduced consumption by 6%, but has a FY25 target of 20%, and hopes to source 50% of its energy from renewables and alternative sources by that time.

Looking further ahead, Medtronic aims to be carbon neutral in global operations by FY30, and to achieve net zero by 2045.

“We are actively working to protect our planet by building on progress towards carbon neutrality in our operations by FY30 and setting a net zero emissions ambition across our business and value chain by FY45,” stated Greg Smith, Executive Vice President, Supply Chain and Operations, Medtronic.

Who is Raman Venkatesh, CSO of Medtronic?

Interestingly, although having 30 years of impressive executive experience – including at the likes of heavyweights Unilever and the American Chemical Society – he has never held a specific sustainability position, so this is a first for both him and the company.

Of course, Venkatesh does have sustainability experience, including at water company Aquaporin, and in other roles that demanded sustainability initiatives.

Medtronic’s Chief Technology and Innovation Officer, Ken Washington, said Venkatesh and his team would help drive Medtronic forward on its sustainability journey.

“I am confident that together we will shape and unlock new innovative solutions that serve our patients and our planet,” said Washington.

Medtronic’s teams across the world are working to reduce our energy use, invest in renewables, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions intensity. This also includes creating climate-resilient operations and supporting communities recovering from natural disasters caused by climate change.

The company has been transparent in its sustainability efforts, reporting on ESG performance since 2008, using recognised disclosure standards and frameworks.

Venkatesh will lead the development and execution of Medtronic’s environmental sustainability strategy.

In 2023, the company committed to submitting climate targets to the Science-Based Targets Initiative, and that will be one of Venkatesh’s main remits. 

One of the biggest challenges may well be tackling Medtronic’s Scope 3 emissions, as the company is still in the process of assessing these notoriously tricky emissions to monitor and mitigate.

Scope 1 and 2 emissions were reduced by 14% in 2023 by making energy efficiency gains and via renewables.

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