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Case Study in the Evolution of Sustainability: Baxter International Inc.
Journal of Business Ethics (2012)
  • Kathy K Dhanda
Baxter International Inc. (Baxter) is a global, diversified healthcare company based in Deerfield, IL. In 2011, Baxter had sales of $13.9 billion and employed approximately 48,500 people worldwide (Baxter’s 2011 Sustainability Report). Baxter is also recognized for its efforts toward environmental/sustainability performance and reporting. The company defines sustainability as ‘a long-term approach to including our social, economic and environmental responsibilities among our business priorities. Baxter’s efforts in this area align with and support our mission of saving and sustaining lives.’ This case study attempts to analyze the progress of the company on its journey along the path toward sustainability. The formal environmental initiatives at Baxter were started in the 1970s. The acquisition of American Hospital Supply Corporation intensified the environmental challenges for the company. A new environmental course was set in the 1990s that led to the development of the State-of-the-Art (SOA) Environmental Standards. At this time, the company started measuring its efforts and began publishing an Environmental Financial Statement in its annual public Environmental Report. In 2005, an executive level Sustainability Steering Committee was proposed and subsequently created in 2006 to accelerate the integration of sustainability within all facets of the organization. This case study articulates the evolution of Sustainability at Baxter Inc. As a result of its efforts, Baxter has received numerous awards and accolades for its efforts in sustainability performance and reporting. For example, in 2011 Newsweek Magazine ranked Baxter the 4th greenest company in the United States (Newsweek Magazine, October 17, 2011, accessed online at http://www.baxter. com/press_room/features/2011/newsweek_green_rankings. html). Going forward, it would be noteworthy to see whether Baxter can keep up its momentum and continue to be a sustainability leader.
  • Corporate Sustainability,
  • Environmental Performance,
  • Reporting,
  • Standards
Publication Date
December, 2012
Citation Information
Kathy K Dhanda. "Case Study in the Evolution of Sustainability: Baxter International Inc." Journal of Business Ethics Vol. 3 Iss. 3 (2012)
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