Philips is a global leader in healthcare technology with a mission to improve people's health and wellbeing through meaningful innovation and improve the lives of 2.5 billion people a year by 2030.
Originally founded in the Netherlands in 1891, Philips has more than 80,000 employees in more than 100 countries worldwide. In 2020, the company’s net sales were €19.5 billion. Within the healthcare industry, the company’s areas of expertise include diagnosis and treatment, connected care, and personal care. It designs products and healthcare systems across a range of applications.
Philips joined the Foundation’s Network as a Strategic Partner in 2013 as part of its commitment to actively drive the transition to a circular economy, and renewed its Strategic partnership in 2021.
The circular economy is one of the key pillars of Philips’ sustainability programme and transformation strategy. Philips’ 2025 Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) commitments include ambitious circular economy targets — such as increasing its circular economy revenue to 25% of sales and ensuring that 100% of products meet the company's EcoDesign principles (of which circularity is a key pillar). In line with its targets, in 2021, Philips announced that it had achieved its circular economy revenue target of 15% of sales by 2020.
“Transitioning to a circular economy is central to our drive to make the world healthier and more sustainable through innovation. The Strategic Partnership with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation has proven valuable in bringing like-minded organisations and industries together, to accelerate learning and drive critical action to combat global challenges.”
Frans van Houten, CEO, Royal Philips
“Under Frans van Houten’s stewardship, Philips has repeatedly raised the bar — setting and achieving ambitious goals as a leader in the transition to a circular economy. Philips has also played a key role in driving systems change in the industry. I look forward to what we will achieve together in the future, and to the impact Philips will have as it continues to drive circular economy design for system solutions and transformation, tackling global challenges such as waste and pollution, climate change, and biodiversity loss.”
Andrew Morlet, CEO, Ellen MacArthur Foundation
The circular economy in action at Philips
The circular economy has provided Philips with a framework to address challenges in the healthcare industry, which currently accounts for 4% of global CO2 emissions. The company has invested substantially in transforming its business model, placing the circular economy into the core of everything the company does and building on four key elements:
Storytelling to bring the circular economy to life for different audiences
Building communities and creating dedicated hubs within departments and regions to connect to knowledge and experts
Dedicated training for priority audiences
Integrating the circular economy into Philips’ core business systems
Philips’ transformation has also focused on the following:
Circular design – Philips engages with all businesses to design its products for a circular economy by using a systems lens to create products.
Circular operations – Philips is working to embed circular practices across its sites, including non-manufacturing sites, such as large offices, warehouses, and R&D facilities.
Circular business models – Not all applications require new products — instead, circular business models can be used as a tool to offer better service to customers and keep products in use at their highest value. These models have also enabled Philips to start closing the loop on their medical equipment. Examples include:
Performance/access based subscription models, such as Lumify, a portable digital ultrasound
Servicing, upgrades, and refurbishment of products
Take back and parts recovery schemes
Digitalisation to create new software solutions
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