Canon Medical goes carbon zero

1 February 2018

Thousands of people helped in developing nations at the same time as UK patients reap the benefits of innovative medical diagnostic systems

Medical imaging innovators, Canon Medical Systems UK, has today announced a sustainable milestone offsetting 20,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) from ultrasound, X-ray, CT or MRI systems installed into UK hospitals over the past 3.5 years. The scheme means that more than 22,000 people, including 12,000 children, in rural Uganda and Kenya have received practical help to improve mortality, health, quality of life and female empowerment.

Achieving this carbon offset milestone also means that Canon Medical Systems is the only UK medical equipment provider to be a Carbon neutral business meeting all PAS2060 requirements by the British Standards Institute. It is now working towards becoming a United Nations Sustainability partner.

The carbon footprint of each Canon Medical Systems imaging product used in the daily prevention, diagnosis and treatment of patients in NHS and private hospitals has been calculated. This takes into account the elements involved in manufacture, packaging, shipping and average energy usage for the standard lifetime of a system. Each month, UK sales figures are translated into tonnes of carbon and offset to a high impact project in a developing country.

For example, a Canon Medical 1.5T MRI system has a carbon offset footprint of 226.78 tonnes which then helps 245 people in Kenya and Uganda via cooking stoves and water borehole projects. Cooking on open stoves is a big health issue in developing nations with World Health Organisation figures stating that there are 3.8 million premature deaths per year from non-communicable diseases such as stroke, ischaemic heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer1.

The Canon Medical Systems UK carbon offset scheme, managed by specialists CO2balance and monitored by the United Nations, provides 35 modern fuel efficient stoves per MRI system sold. This reduces the amount of smoke particles in a family home, the equivalent to 2 packets of inhaled cigarettes per day. The amount of firewood needed is also halved delivering further environmental and quality of life positives, such as, time savings on wood collection so children do not miss school, and lessening deforestation benefitting wildlife habitats and flood prevention.

“We are proud to be a Carbon Zero company helping the environment at the same time as helping people less fortunate than ourselves,” states Mark Hitchman, UK Managing Director of Canon Medical Systems. “We are aware that the NHS is one of the largest contributors of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK. Our R&D commitment starts with developing systems that use less electricity and thus emit less carbon, at the same time as seeing more patients, delivering the highest quality clinical images at the lowest possible dose. This spirit of innovation then extends to sustainability where we embrace a gold-standard scheme that helps some of the poorest rural communities in East Africa.”

“CO2 in the earth’s atmosphere is a critical problem with 2016 figures showing a record high. If it continues, it will lead to unpredictable changes in the global climate system such as higher temperatures, flooding and other extreme conditions,” states Paul Chiplen, Director at CO2balance. “Canon Medical Systems UK is a carbon zero hero identifying that our fragile environment is at risk and focusing much time and energy into doing something about it.”

Canon Medical Systems’ energy efficiency innovation in medical imaging includes its latest generation CT scanner. It recovers energy when the gantry decelerates from spinning thus drawing less electricity, plus advances of standby functionality further reduces emissions.
Notes to editors:
1 World Health Organisation (WHO), Household air pollution and health factsheet,

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