A sustainable future starts with health: Abbott launches new 2030 sustainability plan

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15 December, 2020


Member spotlight



WBCSD Communications

Abbott’s 2030 Sustainability Plan has a clear priority: designing our life-changing technologies for access and affordability.

A sustainable future starts with health.

Health is the foundation for everything else. For people to thrive. To be empowered. To live the lives they want to live. It helps communities and economies to prosper and is vital to building better, healthier societies.

For more than 130 years, Abbott’s purpose has remained clear: We help people live fuller lives through better health. That’s why health is at the core of how we think about sustainable growth and is central to our 2030 Sustainability Plan – and how we’re going to extend that reach of innovation in the years ahead.

A Mounting Challenge Demands Action

COVID-19 has been devastating to healthcare systems globally that were already overburdened by the growing impacts of aging populations and chronic disease. Infrastructure and the people who provide care will be stretched even further in the coming years; the world will need almost 20 million additional health workers by 2030 to address these on-going challenges.

Global annual healthcare spending — estimated at $8.6 trillion in 2019 — is projected to nearly double over the next 10 years to $16 trillion in 2029. Governments face daunting debt and budget challenges to fund health needs.

Health gaps are widening across society. There’s an 18-year difference in life expectancy between rich and poor countries. Gaps exist within countries and even among local communities. And about one in three people today lack access to essential health products and technologies.

The world needs new approaches to health. For healthcare innovators, focusing on cutting-edge innovations alone won’t address the mounting challenges.

Simply being innovative is not enough – being accessible and affordable to more people is critical as well. The best healthcare solution is the one that can reach the most people who need it.

Our Priority: Innovation for Access and Affordability

Our 2030 Sustainability Plan is focused on designing access and affordability into our life-changing technologies and products to reach more people, in more places than ever before. Our work today touches the lives of 2 billion people and we intend to reach over 1 billion more by 2030 – improving the lives of more than one in every three people on the planet, every year.

That will require innovating for access and affordability across every phase of research and development, and every step of how we bring forward new technologies. From our labs, to the materials we use, to manufacturing, to how we extend the reach of our technologies, we are working across our business and in partnership with others to break down barriers and bring these innovations to the people who need them.

We’ll support global efforts to find new answers for chronic conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and reduce preventable deaths and the broader impacts of infectious diseases and malnutrition.

We will partner with others to advance health equity by working to remove existing barriers and address health disparities, and use data-driven prevention and treatment strategies — such as targeted education, early diagnosis and improved nutrition — to ensure people have better care.

And we’ll expand access to care for diverse and underserved populations, including women and children, with a focus on developing innovative approaches that can be scaled to benefit the most people.

Sustainability Is Foundational to Everything We Do

While our focus on innovating for access and affordability is central to our plan, we will continue to take sustainable approaches in everything we do.

Over the next decade, our sustainability plan outlines targeted actions in key areas, including building the workforce of tomorrow, responsibly applying data to advance care, building a more resilient, diverse and responsible supply chain, and protecting health by safeguarding the environment.

Our People

We’ve long believed that new ideas come from different places and points of view. That’s why we’re actively shaping our organization for the future by continuing to prioritize diversity and inclusion, advancing STEM education and internships, and building teams that have the insights and skill sets to meet the health needs of tomorrow. We’re building a workplace where people can realize their full potential, build their best careers and make a meaningful impact.

Supply Chain

COVID-19 made extremely clear how crucial it is to have strong, resilient and reliable sources within our supply chain to ensure that we can quickly bring forward new innovations like our COVID-19 tests, while continuing to get our critical health products to the people who need them. As we continue to strengthen this network, we’re engaging with suppliers to expand opportunities for diverse and small businesses, and to advance ethical sourcing of materials.


At the same time, we’re working to safeguard our global environment. As a company devoted to keeping people healthy, we understand the impact the environment has on the health of people around the world. Across our operations, we’re continuing to reduce our carbon emissions, packaging and waste, and to sustainably manage water use.

In addition to these areas outlined in our plan, we will continue to build a more sustainable business through all the actions we take, every day – from ensuring product quality and safety, to acting ethically and supporting human rights, to advancing transparency and engaging our many stakeholders around the world.

Our company began more than 130 years ago as one doctor doing his part to advance the health of his neighborhood. By the conclusion of this plan, we — more than 100,000 of us — intend to serve more than a third of all the people on Earth, giving them greater confidence in their health and ability to live their best lives.

For a closer look at our 2030 Sustainability Plan and targets, click here.

For a full look at our comprehensive approach and transparent disclosures on sustainability, see Abbott’s latest Global Sustainability Report.