Stratasys released their very first ESG & sustainability report, perhaps the first in the industry.
In a way we should have known this was coming. Some months ago Stratasys created a new role, the VP of Sustainability, and filled it with Rosa Coblens. This was part of the company’s “Stratasys Sustainability Function”, and an annual report on progress clearly was in the making.
“ESG”, for those unfamiliar, is a focus on Environmental, Social and Governance aspects of business operation. ESG is rapidly becoming one of the key evaluation factors by investors seeking to improve our experience on the planet.
What about sustainability? Coblens explains in her statement in the report:
“Our commitment is being brought to life through our chosen UN Sustainable Development Goals. It is demonstrated in product improvements that impact climate change: in our ‘people first’ philosophy that champions inclusion, fairness, transparency and celebrates differences; and in our commitment to ethical, compliant and regulated operations and business practices.”
The report also said:
“Mindful Manufacturing calls for us to approach new world, post-COVID manufacturing challenges with a new outlook – not because of regulations, but because it’s good for people and the planet.”
That’s a good goal, but what is Stratasys actually doing for sustainability? The large 94 page report covers quite a bit of detail.
There is a considerable description of the company’s history, values and goals, and in particular the section on the company’s activities during COVID-19 were quite enlightening. It seems Stratasys was quite active, helping many operations worldwide produce necessary medical devices as required. They also shifted staff to 80% employment to avoid layoffs due to the economic downturn.
Stratasys has chosen to organize their sustainable development program around the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which include 17 “SDGs”. Stratasys has selected four to focus on that the company feels they could make significant progress:
- Quality Education
- Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
- Responsible Consumption and Production
- Climate Action
What will they do for each? Here’s what they say:
- Quality Education: “Stratasys both markets solutions to educators and advocates for them. We are partnering and working with local municipalities to integrate additive manufacturing into the everyday lives of children’s education.”
- Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure: “Stratasys aims to have additive manufacturing benefit people worldwide. We will do it by enabling designers, engineers and manufacturers with local, on-demand capabilities that empower companies and organizations of all sizes to improve quality of life everywhere.”
- Responsible Consumption and Production: “Additive manufacturing, accompanied by greater utilization of recycled and renewable materials, can be a more efficient production method. Stratasys is committed to innovation in reduced waste, reused materials, and recycled packaging.“
- Climate Action: “Stratasys is committed not only to reducing our own carbon footprint, but also to making it easier for our customers to do so as well.”
Those are lofty goals, but the report proceeds to explain in considerable detail how those goals are directly mapped to a wide variety of Stratasys initiatives, both internal and external. While they list some specific activities, they also commit to gathering the necessary data to monitor progress and make future decisions. This is not just words; Stratasys appears to be taking action and preparing for a lot more.
It seems clear that sustainable thinking will soak very deeply into all activities at the company as a result of this program.
I can’t go into all the details here, as there are far to many to list. You’ll have to read the report yourself, but in doing so you will end up with a very different view of Stratasys.
The fact that Stratasys has released this report and shown the vast shift underway at their company is a message to other leaders in the AM industry: where is your ESG and Sustainability program?
My hope is that all the major players consider undertaking a similar program.
The Stratasys report is freely downloadable by the public, and is quite a good read.