Medline issues first global ESG Report

Medline issues first global ESG Report

By Medline Newsroom Staff | July 27, 2023

Environmental, Social & Governance

Medline issues first global ESG Report

A Q&A with Francesca Olivier, Medline vice president of environmental, social and governance

Medline Australia tree planting

Medline recently released the company’s first global Environmental, Social and Governance Report, highlighting the company’s strategies, successes and future priorities for helping to make healthcare more sustainable and equitable.

The report introduces the company’s ESG pillars—climate resilience and environmental action, responsible products, people and communities, and robust governance—and outlines Medline’s focus areas and priorities. The report also reflects Medline commitment to serving people: maintaining the highest standards of safety and health in the workplace; creating opportunities for connection and development for employees; promoting diversity, equity and inclusion across the organization; and addressing health equity in the more than 125 countries where Medline operates around the world.

To learn more about the company’s evolution from a traditional corporate social responsibility program to a comprehensive ESG model that includes a broader, global and data-driven approach, the Medline Newsroom recently spoke with Francesca Olivier, Medline vice president of ESG. Olivier was recently named to Crain’s 2023 Notable Chicago Leaders in Sustainability list.

  • Why is ESG important to Medline?
  • Francesca Olivier: There are few sectors that are so intrinsically tied to ESG topics as healthcare. Health equity, access and affordability are basic human rights. While other sectors may have trouble seeing the immediacy of climate change, our customers experience the effects on their patients and communities every day. Human health impacts resulting from air pollution, temperature extremes, weather events and vector-borne diseases are changing the needs of patients and entire communities. These issues shape the future of healthcare, and it is our responsibility to our stakeholders—employees, customers and communities—to ensure we are building a resilient, forward-thinking company. ESG provides a framework to identify the needs most pertinent to us, and a blueprint for the future.

“Our approach to ESG is aligned to our business strategy—investing in renewable energy, developing sustainable products and programs, and ensuring an ethical supply chain. They’re not just the right things to do; they are good for business, too.”

Francesca Olivier, Medline Vice President, Sustainability

Francesca Olivier

Medline Vice President, ESG

  • What are some highlights from 2022 that you are proud of?
  • There is much to be proud of in our first year since expanding our strategy to encompass the broader principles of ESG, and numerous stories to highlight our progress against each pillar. As part of our efforts to reduce our environmental footprint, we have continued investing in solar energy and have expanded our portfolio of global solar panel installations. From a social perspective, we now have seven Employee Resource Groups that represent Medline’s unique and diverse population, allowing employees to feel included in many ways. Additionally, I am proud of the work done to provide worldwide medical relief through product donations during times of disaster and hardship. Lastly, under governance, I am particularly proud of the active participation and substantive contributions to our ESG strategy from Medline leaders throughout the company. A successful ESG program requires cross-functional collaboration across all of Medline’s divisions, departments, markets and regions. Our global leaders have been essential to building our ESG foundation and will continue to be vital as our ESG strategy matures and grows.
Tree of Life_Medline
Partnering with nonprofit organizations and health facilities all over the world, Medline donated the equivalent of 643 metric tons of product—valued at more than $2.7 million—in 2022.
  • What has been the most significant change since evolving to an ESG model? 
  • Francesca Olivier: In expanding from a traditional CSR to an ESG model, we have adopted a more holistic view of what it truly means to a responsible corporate citizen. Accordingly, we have taken a global approach that aligns our ESG goals with our existing business strategy. We are also widening our focus to include increased data and transparency. Previously, we limited our scope of work to a few key causes, but since initiating our ESG strategy, we have expanded our scope to address 17 material topics globally. We also now emphasize that ESG is the responsibility of every Medline employee. We are working to push the ESG strategy and spirit to all corners of the company. Our belief is that we can only achieve what we aspire to if we have the full force of Medline behind us.
  • What has been done to make sure Medline is taking a global approach to ESG? 
  • In 2022, we made headway in developing a truly global ESG program. The U.S. and EU were the first regions with dedicated ESG employees. Australia added a full-time ESG manager and Japan will follow suit in 2023. Beyond that, we have convened a Global Alignment Committee whose members support ESG work in their respective markets and in addition to their day jobs, lead other ESG support roles focused on human resources, communications and more. While a relatively simple step on paper, having the right people in place to promote ESG globally is critical to ensuring that we have a truly global ESG program sharing a central vision.
Solar panels at Medline Uxbridge, Massachusetts distribution site
Medline has invested $34.4 million in solar energy globally. Today, the company’s portfolio consists of approximately 60,000 solar panels across 10 facilities, generating more than 11 million kWh of energy from these facilities in 2022.
  • What makes this ESG report different from past Medline reports?has been the most significant change since evolving to an ESG model?
  • Francesca Olivier: While we have been publicly reporting our CSR initiatives for years, this report marks a few firsts. This 2022 ESG Report is the first report which is global in scope, and the first that aligns our efforts to the SASB standards. This is significant, as third-party standards ensure transparency and alignment in ESG reporting across companies. 
  • What are the key focus areas for Medline’s ESG team looking ahead?
  • In 2022, we conducted our first materiality assessment and identified the material topics that are most important for Medline to address from an ESG perspective. The immediate next step is to convene global working groups for each topic to develop global strategies and capture relevant data. We have already initiated this process for DEI, Ethical Sourcing and Supplier Diversity. Other priorities include establishing processes for developing global, auditable data and working to more closely align our public reporting with global standards such as those provided by the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, and the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures.
Categories: Company News, Social Responsibility

Medline Newsroom Staff

Medline Newsroom Staff

Medline's newsroom staff researches and reports on the latest news and trends in healthcare.

View All Stories From This Author