When Materialise was founded in 1990, our goal was to enable new uses for the extraordinary potential that 3D printing offers. Since then, we have leveraged our experience to create a range of software solutions and 3D printing services, which together form a backbone for the 3D printing industry. Our open and flexible platforms enable players in industries such as healthcare, automotive, aerospace, art and design, and consumer goods, to build innovative 3D printing applications that make the world a better and healthier place. Headquartered in Belgium with a public listing on the NASDAQ stock exchange and approximately 2100 people in nearly 20 countries worldwide, Materialise combines one of the largest groups of software developers in the industry with one of the largest 3D Printing facilities in the world. Ultimately, we empower our customers to transition towards a digital manufacturing process and to launch innovations that have the potential to forever change the faces of their industries.
The Shift aide ses membres à utiliser le cadre international des Objectifs de développement durable de l'ONU pour définir leurs ambitions sociales.
13. Climate action
In 2020, we completed our third consecutive Carbon Footprint Assessment for Materialise operations worldwide. The assessment followed the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol guidelines for clarifying the origin of emissions and for reporting purposes, and the Bilan Carbone Protocol for categorizing emission flows. Further to the conclusions of the assessment, which identified Scope 3 (travel), and Scope 2 (electricity) emissions as being the largest contributors to our footprint, in 2020, we finalized a new Sustainable Travel Policy and Carbon Budget, and continued to convert our worldwide operations to 100% green energy. In 2021, we will beta test this new policy and budget in selected offices before rolling it out worldwide, and complete the energy conversion in our remaining facilities. In 2020, we also joined the Belgian Alliance for Climate Action (BACA) and as a result have committed to setting Science Based Targets for our worldwide operations within two years. By 2025, we aim to cut our carbon emissions worldwide by 50%.
12. Responsible consumption and production
In 2018, we began actively pushing strategies to further reduce manufacturing waste through improved machine reliability. In 2020, an additional 0.7 million Euros was invested in related research projects, bringing our total investment, as at December 31, 2020, to 2.5 million Euros. In addition, in 2020, we also completed two Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) and started on a third. In 2021, we aim to continue with this research, recognizing it is critical in clarifying our impact and ensuring we provide our customers with the most sustainable solutions.
8. Decent work and economic growth
Materialise operates offices around the world including in emerging countries such as Colombia, Ukraine, and Malaysia, and is committed to providing equal opportunity and fair treatment to all individuals on the basis of merit, without discrimination of any kind. We have a formalized wage band system to ensure ‘equal pay for equal work’. This system conforms to national legal standards and is regularly benchmarked against industry standards. This system is fully in place in our headquarters in Belgium and in 2018 was rolled out to our worldwide operations. To ensure that all employees have the opportunity to shape their career paths, Materialise operates a formal performance evaluation system, with evaluations occurring twice annually. A comprehensive training program is also available to all employees to further support career development and personal growth. In January 2021, for the second year in a row, Materialise was awarded the Top Employer designation for excellence in employee conditions. This certification has been attained by only 72 other companies in Belgium.
3. Good health
Materialise is recognized as a pioneer and world leader in personalized medical devices. These devices include shoulder, hip, knee, osteotomy, and cranio-maxillo facial (CMF) surgical guides and implants, that are designed and 3D printed based on the anatomical data of the patient. In other words, they are specifically designed to accurately fit. As one of the first companies to introduce personalized solutions into the operating room, and helping patients and surgeons all over the world, we have seen firsthand the impact personalized medicine can have. These devices add more predictability into the surgical setting and allow for the treatment of even the most challenging clinical conditions. They can help reduce the number and duration of treatments, improving patient lives, saving costs, benefiting society and the environment through reduced travel and hospital stays, and freeing up valuable medical workers and other healthcare resources, which can then be redirected to others in need. In 2020, we helped more than 50,000 patients and to date, have printed more than 350,000 personalized devices.
9. Innovation and infrastructure
To date, although there is little empirical research, it has generally been assumed that 3D printing is a sustainable technology. However, our recent LCA research indicates that 3D printing may not be as sustainable as initially thought. Particularly with regards to large series of identical products, 3D printing seems to have a bigger impact on climate change and the depletion of fossil fuels as compared to the conventional manufacturing technology. At the same time, our research also indicates that it is in the production of smaller or customized series that can be produced locally that 3D printing typically offers sustainability advantages. We recognize that as we continue to develop new products and technologies to help our customers create innovative, meaningful applications, sustainability must consistently remain top of mind, and research is critical. In addition to our LCA research which will continue into 2021, we have a number of initiatives to address climate change and support the environment, including investing in research projects to reduce manufacturing waste through improved machine reliability. In 2020, we announced the launch of a beta program for our customers with our new Bluesint PA12 technology which creates a path for eliminating waste in the 3D printing process.
17. Partnerships for the goals
At Materialise, we believe partnerships are critical to making a meaningful difference, significant change can’t be made in isolation, and we collaborate with numerous organizations around the globe in order to achieve our sustainability objectives. For full details, please download our 2020 Sustainability Report.